Maritime Professional Doctorate proposition

Maritime Professional Doctorate proposition

Published Deadline Location
29 Aug 16 Oct Leeuwarden

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From 2023, master's graduates will be able to follow a professional doctorate track at a Dutch university of applied sciences. A Professional Doctorate (PD) is the practice-oriented equivalent of PhD tracks at universities where the candidate conducts research at a university of applied sciences at the highest level. The Ministry of Education has designated a number of sectors that may start a professional doctorate pilot in 2023. The maritime sector is one of the selected domains. We invite candidates for our open PD position on assessment and advice on damage to ships.

Job description

The open PD position, on assessment and advice on damage to ships  

A consortium of three Dutch universities, in collaboration with organizations with an interest in the design, construction and operation of ships, will commence a research and development project proposal on decision support for intelligent damage estimation and control for ships. Primarily warships, although the outcome may also be applicable to commercial vessels. With multiple universities as well as the Royal Netherlands Navy involved, the project has a high multi-disciplinary nature, comprising elements of structural strength, human factors, flooding and residual stability, data acquisition, machine learning, decision support, simulation and (serious) gaming. The specific NHL Stenden PD research will focus on flooding damage, and its consequences, prognosis and control. Key words in this task are sensor-human interaction, probabilistic modelling, cyber-physical systems, flooding and stability, machine learning and hydro-structural interaction. 

The Dutch Professional Doctorate 

The PD is a four-year doctoral program offered by the Universities of Applied Sciences (UAS) in the Netherlands. It is a learning path focused on (professional) practice that trains highly qualified, research-oriented professionals who learn to intervene or innovate in complex practices at level 8 of the European Qualification Framework. This makes it equivalent to, but different from, the PhD offered at universities. It also differs from the Dutch PDEng1 degree, for example in duration (two years) and the organizations offering this (Technical Universities). An intrinsic part of a PD track is that each candidate will follow an additional education and training program. On general skills, such as research methodology and writing a scientific paper, personal development, as well as on focused in-depth technical knowledge required for the specific research topic. 

The PD in the maritime context 

The maritime sector faces major challenges in terms of sustainability, (cyber)security and digitalization. To strengthen the maritime sector, its innovative capacity must be enhanced. In this respect, more practice-oriented research can play a crucial role in making the sector safer and more sustainable. From academia, technological solutions are being proposed to meet these challenges. However, without an understanding of the daily practice of the sector, it is hardly possible to exploit the full potential of these developments. The professional doctorate can bridge this gap by making knowledge practically applicable and feeding the insights back into academic research, as depicted with the nine levels of Technological Readiness Level (TRL). Whereas the academy focuses on TRL 2-5 with innovative ideas, the PD can focus on bridging these to the realm of practice (TRL 5-8), which is challenging for innovations. Potential candidates are attracted by the practical applicability of professional doctorate research.  It meets their need to arrive at a solution to a practice-based problem and is less abstract than PhD research.

The Dutch PD pilot 

The Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences, the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Taskforce for Applied Research SIA have jointly commenced a Dutch pilot, which started on 1 January 2023, and covers a period of seven years. It involves 25 UASs, collectively covering seven domains: Arts & Creativity. Health & Wellbeing, Maritime, Education, Technology & Digitalization, Leisure, Tourism & Hospitality and Energy & Sustainability. The design, governance and quality system of the PD pilot is elaborated in this document (in Dutch). For the pilot phase a funding structure is available, which may be augmented by resources from research or development projects, or from participating companies or other organizations. 


NHL Stenden University University of Applied Sciences


General requirements for all PD programs are: 

  • A relevant master’s degree, either from a UAS or from a university. 
  • Duration is by default four years at 1 FTE. Yet, flexibility can be discussed. 

Specific requirements for this specific maritime PD position on a data-driven system for early ship design: 

  • A master’s degree in engineering, for instance in the field of Maritime, Mechanical Engineering, Aviation, Automotive, Industrial Design or Computer Aided Design 
  • Interest in the crossroad of ship dynamics, (or, generalized, vehicle dynamics), machine learning, and human behavior with large and complex systems. 
  • Living in The Netherlands, or the willingness to move there. 

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

We offer: 

  • An interesting and challenging position in the center of a European technical research network. 
  • An invitation to contribute to sector-wide maritime innovation. 
  • A four-year employment at NHL Stenden. 
  • This position is at salary scale 11 (€ 4.234,28 to € 5.936,77 gross per month) of the Dutch HBO CLA, depending on relevant experience, based on a full-time employment, excluding 8% holiday allowance and 8,3% end-of-year bonus).   


The PD at NHL Stenden UAS

NHL Stenden is a UAS in the Northern part of the Netherlands. It offers a wide range of AD, Bachelor and Master programs, including the bachelor programs Maritime Officer and Ocean Technology at the island Terschelling, and AD and bachelor programs Maritime Technology in Friesland’s capital Leeuwarden. It also offers a part-time Master course on Maritime Innovation, and has an active research group, with interests in Maritime Law, Maritime Cyber Security and Maritime Innovative Technologies.

From the early days of the PD the maritime research group has contributed to shape the PD and its pilot. This has resulted in three mature PD proposals in the first year of the pilot.  


  • Research, development, innovation; PhD
  • Engineering
  • max. 40 hours per week
  • €4234—€5936 per month
  • University graduate
  • 3197 MIWB


NHL Stenden University University of Applied Sciences

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Rengerslaan 8, 8917 DD, Leeuwarden

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