PhD Position Environmental Optimization of Trajectories and Airspaces for Arrival and Departure Flights

PhD Position Environmental Optimization of Trajectories and Airspaces for Arrival and Departure Flights

Published Deadline Location
10 Jan 15 Feb Delft

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In four years time, do you see yourself as a research expert in environmentally-oriented trajectory optimization for future air traffic management? Are you interested in AI and data science for aviation? Are you committed to open-science for aviation? Then join us in the CNS/ATM team at TU Delft Aerospace Engineering.

Job description

This PhD position is funded by a Horizon Europe project, NEEDED, which aims to develop new models for assessing and estimating noise and air quality impacts caused by aviation. It will also propose advanced optimizations for sustainable departing and arrival flights.

In collaboration with internal and external research partners, we will help you grow into an expert on optimization for this project and beyond.

You will research the following areas, involving both flight trajectories and airspaces:

  • Improve existing trajectory optimization techniques using enhanced open models of aircraft performance, emissions, noise, and air quality.
  • Research novel optimization techniques on many simultaneous arrival and departure trajectories considering their combined environmental impacts.
  • Investigate optimizations for airspaces and arrival/departure procedures that minimize the environmental impact of future air traffic scenarios.

You will work with several well known European aviation industry partners, like EUROCONTROL, ONERA, OpenSky, FlightRadar24, Rotterdam-the Hague Airport, Anotec Engineering, etc. You are free and encouraged to explore large amounts of open data and be creative with introducing AI techniques for your research.

You will be hosted in the CNS/ATM research group at the Department of Control and Operations. You will work closely with Dr. Junzi Sun and Prof. Jacco Hoekstra, who not only are passionate about improving the efficiency and sustainability of air traffic management but also are enthusiastic about the openness of our research.  


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


  • You have a master's degree in an area relevant to the subject in aerospace, aeronautics, air traffic management, mathematics.
  • You have a good level of Python (or C++) programming skills.
  • You have experience and enjoy working with data and AI.
  • You have a background in numerical methods. 
  • You are proficient in English.   

Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1.5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2.5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2541 per month in the first year to € 3247 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation.


Delft University of Technology

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context.

At TU Delft we embrace diversity as one of our core values and we actively engage to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

Challenge. Change. Impact!


Faculty Aerospace Engineering

The Faculty of Aerospace Engineering at Delft University of Technology is one of the world’s most highly ranked (and most comprehensive) research, education and innovation communities devoted entirely to aerospace engineering. More than 200 science staff, around 250 PhD candidates and over 2,700 BSc and MSc students apply aerospace engineering disciplines to address the global societal challenges that threaten us today, climate change without doubt being the most important. Our focal subjects: sustainable aerospace, big data and artificial intelligence, bio-inspired engineering and smart instruments and systems. Working at the faculty means working together. With partners in other faculties, knowledge institutes, governments and industry, both aerospace and non-aerospace. Working in field labs and innovation hubs on our university campus and beyond.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • 38—40 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD03100


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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