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16 Mar 24 Apr Delft

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Challenge: Understand the physics of the interaction between submerged equipment and the sea bed;Change: Design new methods to stimulate flat fish to leave the sea bed with minimal sediment disturbance;Impact: Dramatically reduce the adverse environmental effect of trawl fishing.

Job description

Beam trawling to catch flatfish species like sole and plaice results in high bycatch rates, high fuel consumption due to contact drag and severe damage to seafloor sediment. As a PhD candidate at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), you will design new devices to stimulate flat fish to leave the sea bed that minimise energy consumption and seabed impact, while increasing catch  efficiency and selectivity. The applied stimuli may be acoustic, hydraulic, mechanical, and optical, or combinations thereof. Your research will be positioned in an interdisciplinary team of the Wageningen University, Wageningen Marine Research and TU Delft. Will you help the fishing sector to become future proof?

You will start by carrying out an evaluation of the current initiatives, for which you will interact with our fishery partners. You will work closely with a PhD student at Wageningen University, who focuses on the fish biomechanics and behaviour in response to the various stimuli. Having designed an initial setup and conducted lab experiments and numerical simulations to unravel the physics of the interaction between the stimulus device and the sea bed, you will jointly carry out small-scale tests involving live fish. In the second phase of your project, you will collaborate with a Postdoc at Wageningen University, who will integrate your design into a demersal fishing gear prototype that will be tested in semi-field conditions at the Fisheries Innovation Centre in Stellendam. Occasionally, you will also supervise Master students working on related research.

At TU Delft, the interdisciplinary team of scientists, engineers and technicians at the Department of Maritime & Transport Technology will be your homebase, where you’ll be joining the ten-strong Dredging research team. We share a drive to develop eco-efficient technologies geared to reducing energy consumption and minimising benthic disturbance by submerged & sea bed equipment. You’ll find an open, friendly and interactive environment, in which you are encouraged to share your knowledge and ideas and get all the support you need to evolve.

What we offer:

  • The possibility to become an expert in submerged & seabed systems and sediment transport physics, related to fishing technology;
  • Support by a strong multidisciplinary scientific staff in Delft and Wageningen;
  • Advanced training by the graduate school of TU Delft and J.M. Burgerscentrum for fluid mechanics.


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


You thrive on conducting groundbreaking interdisciplinary research, contributing to sustainable fishing with innovative technology. And you enjoy learning new disciplines, while sharing and explaining your own knowledge and findings. Working closely with the industry and colleagues at Wageningen University, you leverage your communication skills to achieve meaningful team results and bridge different points of views. 

You also have:

  • An MSc in mechanical engineering, civil engineering, offshore engineering or another MSc involving hydromechanics and/or geotechnics;
  • Excellent skills in one or more of the following areas: numerical modelling, data analysis and experimental design;
  • An excellent command of English, as you’ll be working in an internationally diverse community.

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 Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering

The Faculty of 3mE carries out pioneering research, leading to new fundamental insights and challenging applications in the field of mechanical engineering. From large-scale energy storage, medical instruments, control technology and robotics to smart materials, nanoscale structures and autonomous ships. The foundations and results of this research are reflected in outstanding, contemporary education, inspiring students and PhD candidates to become socially engaged and responsible engineers and scientists. The faculty of 3mE is a dynamic and innovative faculty with an international scope and high-tech lab facilities. Research and education focus on the design, manufacture, application and modification of products, materials, processes and mechanical devices, contributing to the development and growth of a sustainable society, as well as prosperity and welfare.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering. Do you want to experience working at our faculty? These videos will introduce you to some of our researchers and their work.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • 38—40 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD03036


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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Mekelweg 2, 2628 CD, Delft

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