PhD on Decentralised Data Infrastructure for Networked Circularity Twins

PhD on Decentralised Data Infrastructure for Networked Circularity Twins

Published Deadline Location
11 Mar 21 Apr Eindhoven

Job description

Are you passionate about emerging technologies and committed to improving the performance of the built environment? If you are motivated to find out how Digital Twins and decentralised data infrastructures can accelerate the circular transition of the built environment, then this position is for you.

The construction sector is responsible for 50% of raw material consumption and 35% of all waste. In the Netherlands, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from material extraction, manufacturing of construction products, construction, and renovation of buildings are estimated at 5-12% of the total national GHG emissions. Research shows that greater material efficiency could save 80% of those emissions. Therefore, strong commitments are made at national and European levels to stimulate the implementation of a circular economy. The recovery rate for Construction and Demolition Waste (CDW) has increased significantly; however, recovery and recycling represent the lowest levels in the circular economy model. A circular built environment needs to close biological and technical loops to maximize the value of building products and materials, enable their reuse, and prevent waste from being created in the first place. Several existing initiatives address these challenges to various extents by, e.g., representing Buildings as Material Banks (BAMB), representing building products and material constituents in (Digital) Product Passports, defining measurement indicators for circularity (e.g., Building Circularity Index (BCI), Material Circularity Indicator (MCI)), and creating marketplaces enabling the reuse of CDW. Each of these initiatives has made important contributions to demonstrating how the industry can transform from existing linear supply chains to new circular ones. However, existing efforts have not yet achieved systemic change.

The TU/e-led UPSCALE project aims to enable the targeted and needed socio-technical paradigm shift via a systemic and interdisciplinary approach and collaboration throughout the entire construction ecosystem. UPSCALE strives to transform the traditional supply chains in construction into dynamic supply networks enabled by Peer-to-Peer (P2P) principles. Besides targeting behavioural and economic change, the project aims to leverage the potential of digitalisation to create a trusted digital ecosystem. The envisioned system relies on a decentralised network of existing built assets, circular construction hubs and users to help link, evaluate, track, trace and reuse construction products and materials throughout their service lifecycle.

Research Activities
TU/e will contribute with research and implementation of the decentralised digital infrastructure to enable tracking, tracing, and linking CDW using state-of-the-art decentralised web technologies with decomposed asset data in Building Information Models and networked Digital Twins enriched for circularity (i.e., Networked Circularity Twins). The digital ecosystem integrates multi-stakeholder motives and business concepts such as Product-as-a-Service (PaaS) supported by Life-long Networked Product Passports (LNPP). The system will monitor products and materials throughout their life cycle within single and multiple built assets (Track & Trace). Besides decentralised tracking, management and reusing of CDW flows, the intended UPSCALE infrastructure is based on Green Business Process Management (BPM) technology, in which the expected carbon footprints of logistic, construction activities and materials are explicitly considered. The developed solutions will be tested in three different demonstrators that include circular public buildings, consolidation centres (construction hubs), and circular bio-based social housing.

Based on the above, the main research activities include:
  • Definition of requirements and development of the UPSCALE system architecture;
  • Implementation of the Networked Circularity Twin infrastructure relying on a data mesh architecture linking multiple UPSCALE data hubs;
  • Development of Life-long Networked Product Passports (LNPPs) per built asset;
  • Implementation of Track&Trace model for products and materials.

You will become part of the Information Systems in the Built Environment (ISBE) group at the Department of the Built Environment. You will join a recognized team under the supervision of Dr. Ekaterina Petrova and Dr. Pieter Pauwels from the Department of the Built Environment and Dr. Rik Eshuis from the Department of Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences. Not only will you be part of a challenging and innovative project, but you will also be able to learn, apply and improve diverse data handling and software development techniques in support of the creation of Digital Twins, Product Passports and Peer-to-Peer systems for circular construction.

Furthermore, you will collaborate closely with researchers from Utrecht University (UU), Delft University of Technology (TUD), Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences (RUAS) and a wide range of industry and societal partners.


Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)


  • You hold a master's degree (or an equivalent university degree) in Architectural Engineering, Civil Engineering, Computer Science, Software Engineering, or similar.
  • You have a strong background in Building Information Modelling and/or circular construction.
  • You have experience or interest in working with data handling, semantic data modelling, knowledge representation and linked data technologies.
  • You have knowledge and experience with programming and software development.
  • You have a research-oriented attitude and good communication skills.
  • You have an ability to work in an interdisciplinary team and interested in collaborating with industrial partners.
  • You are motivated to develop your teaching skills and supervise students.
  • You are fluent in spoken and written English (C1 level).

Conditions of employment

A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university, in an interdisciplinary setting and within an international network. You will work on a beautiful, green campus within walking distance of the central train station. In addition, we offer you:
  • Full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation (go/no-go) after nine months. You will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks.
  • Salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, paid pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, scale P (min. €2,770 max. €3,539).
  • A year-end bonus of 8.3% and annual vacation pay of 8%.
  • High-quality training programs and other support to grow into a self-aware, autonomous scientific researcher. At TU/e we challenge you to take charge of your own learning process.
  • An excellent technical infrastructure, on-campus children's day care and sports facilities.
  • An allowance for commuting, working from home and internet costs.
  • Staff Immigration Team and a tax compensation scheme (the 30% facility) for international candidates.

Additional information

About us

Eindhoven University of Technology is an internationally top-ranking university in the Netherlands that combines scientific curiosity with a hands-on attitude. Our spirit of collaboration translates into an open culture and a top-five position in collaborating with advanced industries. Fundamental knowledge enables us to design solutions for the highly complex problems of today and tomorrow. 


Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more?
Please contact dr. Ekaterina Petrova, Assistant Professor of Artificial Intelligence in Construction, at

Visit our website for more information about the application process or the conditions of employment. You can also contact

Are you inspired and would like to know more about working at TU/e? Please visit our career page.


We invite you to submit a complete application by using the apply button. The application should include a:
  • Cover letter in which you describe your motivation and qualifications for the position.
  • Curriculum vitae, including a list of your publications (if any) and the contact information of two references.
  • A transcript of your grades
  • Copies of your degrees and diplomas.
  • A copy or a link to your Master thesis. If you have not completed it yet, please explain your current situation.

Selected candidates will be invited for an online interview. More details will follow in an email with the invitation to the interview.

We look forward to receiving your application and will screen it as soon as possible. The vacancy will remain open until the position is filled.

We do not respond to applications that are sent to us in a different way.

Please keep in mind you can upload only 5 documents up to 2 MB each. If necessary, please combine files.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • V38.7319


Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)

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De Rondom 70, 5612 AP, Eindhoven

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Application procedure

Application procedure

Make sure to apply no later than 21 Apr 2024 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).