PhD Position Smart Planning and Control for Sustainable and Reconfigurable Value Chains

PhD Position Smart Planning and Control for Sustainable and Reconfigurable Value Chains

Published Deadline Location
1 Mar 15 Apr Delft

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Job description

In today's rapidly evolving industrial landscape, the objective of any value chain is to sustainably utilize industrial systems to create outputs that maximize value for customers. However, achieving this goal requires navigating several challenges, both from an outward-looking perspective focused on customer value evolution and sustainability, as well as an inward-looking perspective concerning optimal resource utilization and intrinsic system disruptions.

Leveraging reconfigurable manufacturing systems (RMS) offers flexibility to adapt to changing demands and disruptions. Moreover, Production Planning and Control (PP&C) strategies play a relevant role in enhancing operational performance. These strategies span over different time horizons for effectively managing production activities, resource allocation, scheduling, and decision-making to optimize performance and achieve organizational goals. Feedback loops and real-time decision-making are particularly critical in complex and dynamic manufacturing environments where rapid adjustments are necessary to respond to changing conditions, such as fluctuations in demand, supply disruptions, or production constraints.

A research question arises: “How can planning and control strategies and mechanisms be designed and implemented to enhance the efficiency and reconfigurability of value chains in dynamic industrial environments?

To explore this area effectively, the PhD candidate could delve into several interconnected research areas:

  1. Integration of Model Predictive Control (MPC) in value Chain Planning and Control: Investigate how MPC principles can be adapted and applied to optimize planning and control processes across reconfigurable value chains. This involves developing MPC strategies that can dynamically adjust production plans, resource allocations, and scheduling decisions in response to changing demand patterns, disruptions, and sustainability requirements.
  2. Reconfigurability in value chains: Explore the concept of reconfigurable value chains and how it can be leveraged to enhance flexibility, resilience, and responsiveness. Study different approaches to designing and implementing reconfigurable systems, such as modular production setups, flexible supply chain networks, and adaptive logistics solutions
  3. Dynamic modeling and prediction: Develop dynamic models and predictive algorithms to capture the complex behavior of value chains over time. This involves analyzing historical data, identifying patterns and trends, and using predictive analytics to forecast future demand, supply, and market conditions. These predictive insights can then inform MPC strategies and decision-making processes within the value chain.
  4. Optimization and decision support: Design optimization algorithms and decision support systems that integrate MPC and reconfigurability principles to maximize value creation and sustainability in the value chain. This includes formulating mathematical optimization models, implementing simulation-based approaches, and developing real-time decision support tools that consider multiple objectives, constraints, and uncertainties.
  5. Case studies and applications: Apply the developed methodologies and tools to real-world case studies and industrial applications across different sectors, such as manufacturing, logistics, and distribution. Evaluate the effectiveness and practical feasibility of the proposed approaches in improving operational performance, reducing costs, and enhancing overall value chain resilience.


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


  1. A master's degree in a relevant field such as industrial engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science.
  2. The candidate should be ambitious and curious and will be supported to establish a collaboration with one or more companies and international research institutes.

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 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 ME faculty focusses on fundamental understanding, design, production including application and product improvement, materials, processes and (mechanical) systems.

ME 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 ME’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 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
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD04565


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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