PDEng Kic assessing infra monitoring systems

PDEng Kic assessing infra monitoring systems

Published Deadline Location
11 Feb 15 Mar Enschede

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Job description

How can we assess & secure the smartness of monitoring systems of our infrastructures?

Maintenance has always been an indivisible part of infrastructures (such as bridges, roads, canals, etc.). Nevertheless, this has become more of an issue over the past decade. Shrinking budgets – in the wake of the credit crunch - rendered infrastructure owners (IOs) to become more selective/conscious/cautious in their maintenance undertakings. Therefore, the IOs have started to take inventory of their assets with the intention to better assess the condition of assets. They started to build extensive databases to make better-informed maintenance decisions. Limited budgets pushed the development of Risk-Oriented Asset Management approaches. Key in the risk assessment is the prediction of the remaining life span of the assets. Such predictions require data about the assets' condition and behavior. As a result, several structural health monitoring initiatives have emerged. These initiatives are committed to using sensor and sensor systems for the measurement, monitoring, and tracking of the behaviors, and changes thereof, of assets.

This quest coincides with the rapid progress and development in sensors, Internet of Things (IoT), data analytics, and pervasive systems. Since 2014, a number of pilots, trials, and experiments with the sensor-based monitoring systems for infrastructures have emerged. Sensor networks are integrated into, among others, bridges, roads, dikes, viaducts, and doors of locks.

Currently, there is a trend in making the sensor networks an integral part of the design of new infrastructures. The industry expects such sensor/monitoring systems to become a common integral feature of the future (smart) infrastructure design/management. We can already see a growing variety of these systems and the rising number of suppliers. The industry senses an opportunity to leverage this booming technology/market.

The challenge
However, the technology and market growth of infrastructure monitoring systems stirs new problems for infrastructure owners. When presented with various alternatives/options, the IOs need to assess these monitoring systems from different points of view (e.g., the quality, reliability, and suitability). If IOs are not able to evaluate systems on offer, and/or specify systems from (their) Asset Management perspective, they can become disappointed. Furthermore, to become informed clients, the IOs want to specify the requirements of systems upfront. The performance and output of the sensor systems should be aligned with IOs’ Asset Management practices. The IOs currently lack a tool/methodology to (1) scope the design space and (2) formulate the required functionalities and technical specifications.

The mission of this design project
This PDEng project seeks to design/develop a methodology to evaluate and specify the sensors systems for monitoring of infrastructures.

In this project, you will develop a methodology that:

  1. Provide process, criteria, and decision support to draft the scope, functionalities, requirements, and (design) specifications for procuring/tendering of these sensor systems;
  2. is applicable to new (i.e., to be designed) and existing (to be retrofitted) infrastructures;
  3. allows for assessing current sensor systems as deployed and as on offer.

Ideally, the project, also, delivers forward-looking projections for further development and provide insight into expected changes in requirements and applications. While you focus primarily on bridges, the methodology should also address (civil engineered) infrastructures in the broader sense.

During the educational part of the programme, you will receive a customized education package consisting of, among others, courses in decision-support system design, systems engineering & design, sensor development, operations research, statistics, structural equation modeling and supply chain management.


University of Twente (UT)


We are searching for the best MSc graduated with a proven affinity with design and multidisciplinary assignments. Besides, you have the ambition and talent to accelerate in finding solutions/crafting designs for complex civil technological issues with a multidisciplinary character. Important professional skills are Dutch and English language skills, communication and social skills, collaboration, initiative, and self-reflection. Candidates with prior experience or education in the domain(s) of infrastructure health monitoring, embedded systems, requirements engineering or technology assessment methodologies are particularly encouraged to apply.

Information and application
If you have any further questions about this vacancy of the PDEng programme in Civil Engineering, please contact Dr. Farid Vahdati at f.vahdatikhaki@utwente.nl or Dr. Robin de Graaf at r.s.degraaf@utwente.nl or telephone: 053 489 2242. General information about PDEng programmes you can find at www.utwente.nl/pdeng/ or www.utwente.nl/pdeng/en/

Please send your application before March 15th 2019, with a curriculum vitae, a list with grades of courses attended, references and, if applicable, a list of publications you may have done.

Conditions of employment

We offer you a contract for 24 months with a salary of € 1.913 per month. During these two years you follow a tailor made post-master design programme with a combination of education (50%) and working on a design project (50%) for which you are partly located at the headquarter of Rijkswaterstaat in Utrecht. Additionally, the UT provides excellent facilities for professional and personal development, a holiday allowance and an end-of-year bonus. On successfully completing the programme, you will receive a certified and recognised degree. You will be entitled to use the academic degree PDEng and will be registered as a Technological Designer in the Dutch register kept by the Royal Institution of Engineers in the Netherlands (KIVI).


The University of Twente. We stand for life sciences and technology. High tech and human touch. Education and research that matter. New technology which leads change, innovation and progress in society. The University of Twente is the only campus university of the Netherlands; divided over five faculties we provide more than fifty educational programmes. We have a strong focus on personal development and talented researchers are given scope for carrying out groundbreaking research.

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status or disability status. Because of our diversity values we do particularly support women to apply.

The Faculty of Engineering Technology (ET)
is one of the five faculties of the University of Twente. ET combines Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Industrial Design Engineering. Our faculty has approximately 1800 bachelor and master students, 400 employees and 150 PhD candidates. The departments of the faculty cooperatively conduct the educational programmes and participate in interdisciplinary research projects, programmes and the research institutes: Mesa+ Institute, TechMed Centra and Digital Society Institute.


  • PhD
  • Engineering; Behaviour and society
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • max. €1913 per month
  • University graduate
  • 1028571


University of Twente (UT)

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