PhD Position Floating Future at the Faculty of ME

PhD Position Floating Future at the Faculty of ME

Published Deadline Location
24 Jan 15 Feb Delft

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Do you want to work in an interdisciplinary team on the hydrodynamic loading and response of large scale floating developments?

Job description

How can we keep our densely populated country livable? The Netherlands faces an increasing demand for space for living, industry, nature, energy transition, food production, drinking water and flood safety. The water may however also offer an opportunity for creating safe space through large-scale floating developments. 

The interdisciplinary and applied research project ‘Floating Future: Scaling up floating structures as climate-proof space-creating solution enabling societal, industrial and ecological win-wins’, led by research institute MARIN, is funded by the Dutch Science Council (NWO) and consists of a broad research consortium of organizations. The overall objective is to develop knowledge about the societal acceptance, the required governance and legal arrangements, the ecological impacts and the technological challenges related to building large-scale floating islands.

In the context of this research project, 1 Postdoc researcher and 10 PhD researchers in the fields of governance, technology and ecology will be appointed and closely work together in concrete case study areas (inland, coastal port city and offshore). Participatory Action Research will be the Floating Future ‘integration engine’ where the different scientific disciplines and societal stakeholders meet and co-create knowledge about how large-scale floating urban developments can be realized, developing ‘maritime urbanism’ as a new field of expertise.

As Floating Future researcher, you will not only participate in the interdisciplinary Action Research in the three study focus areas, but from your specific discipline also proactively contribute to the organization of the various sessions and workshops that are part of the Action Research.

At Mechanical Engineering we are looking for one PhD candidate on the topic: Acceptable forces and motions of a floater system.

This study concerns the interconnected floaters of Very Large Floating Structures (VLFS) with a basic reference size of 1 km x 1 km including their connections and mooring systems. You will apply a combination of theoretical considerations, numerical simulations, and physical model tests. The work starts with a theoretical screening of existing VLFS approaches and their evaluation for application in the North Sea based on simplified modelling and physics-based theoretical assessment. The combinations of design approaches and mooring configurations with the best perspective to achieve acceptable force and motion response are selected for further investigation by numerical simulations and physical model tests of increasing scale and complexity. For the numerical simulations, you will extend existing theoretical models to include the relevant nonlinearities due to shallow water and high waves as well as mooring system-structure interaction, viscous effects, and effects of marine growth. You will design and conduct physical experiments to identify the most relevant nonlinear effects and to provide validation data for the numerical models. As far as possible, non-intrusive measurement techniques such as acoustic wave probes and optical motion measurement techniques will be used to minimally disturb the motion response of the floaters.

You will present the results of your investigations and developments in international scientific journals as well as on national and international conferences.


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


We are seeking a candidate with a profound background in fluid mechanics, marine technology and/or offshore or mechanical engineering. You are curious and open-minded towards humanity and society related disciplines. You have the creativity to both anticipate and initiate cross-overs within the Floating Future research program, collaborating with fellow PhD students from the faculties of Civil Engineering and Architecture of TU Delft as well as other fellow researchers at MARIN and other project partners. You are determined to reach your goal, yet aware and responsive concerning the overall goal of the Floating Future project.

The successful candidate has:

  • An MSc degree in Marine Technology, Offshore or Mechanical Engineering, Applied Mathematics or related discipline.
  • An excellent ability to think conceptually and quantitatively.
  • An excellent ability to write and communicate in English.
  • An intrinsic motivation to cooperate in a larger project.
  • Significant experience with a coding language commonly used in engineering (e.g., Fortran, Matlab, Python).
  • Prior knowledge of wave and floating structure hydrodynamics.

The successful candidate should also bring the following to the position:

  • Good organisation skills.
  • Affinity for supervision of students.
  • Affinity with engineering practice.
  • Experience with preparing and conducting experiments in a towing tank/wave basin.
  • Experience in data processing.
  • Willingness to learn Dutch.

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 Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering

From chip to ship. From machine to human being. From idea to solution. Driven by a deep-rooted desire to understand our environment and discover its underlying mechanisms, research and education at the 3mE faculty focusses on fundamental understanding, design, production including application and product improvement, materials, processes and (mechanical) systems.

3mE is a dynamic and innovative faculty with high-tech lab facilities and international reach. It’s a large faculty but also versatile, so we can often make unique connections by combining different disciplines. This is reflected in 3mE’s outstanding, state-of-the-art education, which trains students to become responsible and socially engaged engineers and scientists. We translate our knowledge and insights into solutions to societal issues, contributing to a sustainable society and to the development of prosperity and well-being. That is what unites us in pioneering research, inspiring education and (inter)national cooperation.

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
  • 32—40 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD04949


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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