PhD Position on Understanding the Dynamics of Interdependent Infrastructure Systems

PhD Position on Understanding the Dynamics of Interdependent Infrastructure Systems

Published Deadline Location
19 Jan yesterday Delft

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Job description

Infrastructure systems (such as the distribution and transmission grids for electricity, transport systems, and water distribution networks) are the backbone of societies, playing an essential role in supporting our daily activities. These infrastructure systems are highly complex, large-scale socio-technical systems, spanning many temporal, spatial, and organizational scales. They are embedded in, intertwined with and co-dependent on many different social systems.

Due to systemic challenges facing the infrastructure systems, for example by the energy transition, climate change or demographic and technological changes,  there is an increased focus on understanding the dynamics of coupled infrastructure systems. With the rising complexity of infrastructure systems, their vulnerability to hazards, including those stemming from climate change and energy transitions, increases.

Decision-makers responsible for the long-term planning and improving the resilience of integrated infrastructure systems rely on the existing and increasingly outdated approaches, which are unable to deal with the deep uncertainty these systems face.

Therefore, we need new innovative (AI/ML-based) planning and development methods to evaluate and improve the resilience of our infrastructure so that we can effectively respond to the continuously changing (physical and social) environment. A deep understanding of integrated infrastructure systems dynamics is essential for the development of these innovative methods, which is a significant scientific challenge.

This PhD position focuses on the conceptualization and modeling of integrated infrastructure systems. We seek to answer questions such as: What are the unique properties and traits of infrastructure systems that contribute to their interdependence? How can we characterize the interactions between infrastructure systems? What are suitable (multi-)modeling approaches to model this interaction and what is the most relevant resolution and scale to capture these dynamics?

This PhD position in what can be termed “Complex Systems Analysis and Modelling” provides a unique opportunity to contribute to a critical and transformative field that emphasizes the resilience of our communities and vital infrastructure systems. As a part of our highly multidisciplinary team, your research will be instrumental in advancing our understanding of complex infrastructure systems dynamics and help develop new conceptual and modeling foundations for further impactful research.


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


The position is open to candidates with a master’s degree in fields relevant to the focus of the research. These may include but are not limited to Modelling and Simulation, Computer/Data Science (including machine learning and artificial intelligence), Mathematics, Complex Systems, Systems Engineering, and Operations Research. We explicitly encourage candidates with another background who have an affinity with the topic to apply.

  • Prior programming and modelling experience (preferably in Python) is highly desirable for this position, as is familiarity with (modeling of) concepts such as resilience, interdependence, adaptability, and recovery within infrastructure systems.
  • Ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing across disciplines is an important asset.
  • We are looking for an open-minded team player who can balance independence and self-drive with being a part of a closely-knit team effort.

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 € 2770 per month in the first year to € 3539 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 a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. 

For international applicants, TU Delft has the Coming to Delft Service. This service provides information for new international employees to help you prepare the relocation and to settle in the Netherlands. The Coming to Delft Service offers a Dual Career Programme for partners and they organise events to expand your (social) network.


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 Technology, Policy and Management

The Faculty of TPM provides an important contribution to solving complex technical-social issues, such as energy transition, mobility, digitalisation, water management and (cyber) security. TPM does this with its excellent education and research at the intersection of technology, society and policy. We combine insights from both engineering and social sciences as well as the humanities. TPM develops robust models and designs, is internationally oriented and has an extensive network of knowledge institutions, companies, social organisations and governments.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • 32—40 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD04927


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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