PhD Position Sustainable and Circular Technical Solutions Related to the Renewal and Replacement of Aging Multi-Material Quay Walls

PhD Position Sustainable and Circular Technical Solutions Related to the Renewal and Replacement of Aging Multi-Material Quay Walls

Published Deadline Location
26 Mar 25 Apr Delft

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Job description

Quay walls are essential components of the canal systems of Amsterdam as well as any other Dutch city. Several quay walls have deteriorated due to low maintenance and the increased applied loads they must resist. Maintaining the cultural heritage and at the same time preparing them for the future is a huge challenge. Renewal and/or replacement measurements while in parallel adopt sustainable and circular structural solutions following the EU green transition principals, is a promising way to cope with this challenge. The main objectives of this research program are to:

  • Develop technical solutions for the renewal and/or replacement of aging quay walls focusing on rapid execution, and possible reuse, accomplishing principles of circular and modular construction.
  • Use structural components of high-performance and recyclable materials to reduce resource consumption, transportation and execution costs, material footprint, minimize the execution time and public nuisances (e.g. vibration & and noise-free) while ensuring that they provide sufficient strength and serviceability performance.
  • Increase the level of prefabrication to minimize the amount of waste, to achieve fast execution, and to avoid/minimize any disruptions to the public’s normal activities (e.g., congestion of the road traffic, displacing houseboats).
  • Propose structural solutions for possible installations (openings) through and behind the quay walls.
  • Propose maintenance techniques (e.g. new types of paints for improved durability and reduction of CO2 equivalent emission) that minimize the cost and contribute to the life extension of the quay walls.
  • Test multifunctional quay wall prototypes on structural integrity within the interdisciplinarity Multifunctional Urban Waterfronts project coordinated by the AMS institute

This research project will be executed at TU Delft within the Steel and Composite Structures section in the Department of Engineering Structures, under the supervision of Dr. Florentia Kavoura and Prof. Milan Veljkovic from the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences. The researcher will also be supervised by academic staff from the Applied Mechanics and Biobased Structures and Materials Sections at TU Delft. Collaboration with other disciplines will take place through a research through design process led by the University of Wageningen, the AMS Institute, and structural engineers as part of the Multifunctional Urban Waterfronts project.

The Department of Engineering Structures focuses on the development of resilient, smart and sustainable structures and infrastructures. Our aim is to meet societal demands in transportation, the energy transition and sustainable reuse. Research themes include dynamics of structures, mechanics of materials related to e.g. climate change, modelling and design of railway systems, multi-scale modelling of pavement materials and structures, reuse of materials, structures and parts of structures, assessment methods for structures, smart monitoring techniques, design methods, replacement and renovation of civil infrastructure and development of new materials and maintenance techniques. Our unique Macro Mechanics Laboratory facilities support full-scale testing, monitoring and modelling of structures to facilitate implementation of innovations. The department delivers both groundbreaking research and world-class education for undergraduate and graduate students. As a team, we represent different backgrounds, skills and views. We foster an inclusive culture, as our combined identities, attitudes and ambitions widen our perspective and make up our strengths.


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


Our ideal PhD candidate or Researcher has a clear ambition toward a sustainable future for the built environment. You are expected to have technical skills and a broad knowledge of Engineering. More specifically, you are required to have:

  • A Master's or a PhD degree in a field relevant to the. research, i.e., Civil Engineering and Structural Engineering
  • Knowledge of finite element modeling focused on Civil/Structural Engineering applications.
  • Knowledge of the design of composite (multi-material) structures.
  • Programming skills.
  • Excellent communication skills in English, both written and oral.
  • Ability to interact and carry out research with close collaboration with partners from the industry and stakeholders.
  • Ability to work both in interdisciplinary teams, but also independently and take leadership and responsibility for research tasks.

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 Civil Engineering & Geosciences

The Faculty of Civil Engineering & Geosciences (CEG) is committed to outstanding international research and education in the field of civil engineering, applied earth sciences, traffic and transport, water technology, and delta technology. Our research feeds into our educational programmes and covers societal challenges such as climate change, energy transition, resource availability, urbanisation and clean water. Our research projects are conducted in close cooperation with a wide range of research institutions. CEG is convinced of the importance of open science and supports its scientists in integrating open science in their research practice. The Faculty of CEG comprises 28 research groups in the following seven departments: Materials Mechanics Management & Design, Engineering Structures, Geoscience and Engineering, Geoscience and Remote Sensing, Transport & Planning, Hydraulic Engineering and Water Management.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Civil Engineering & Geosciences.


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD05196


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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