PhD position: Development and characterization of bio-inspired, fiber-reinforced modular walls

PhD position: Development and characterization of bio-inspired, fiber-reinforced modular walls

Published Deadline Location
23 Apr 20 May Wageningen

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Job description

Are you a biologist interested in architecture, design, and engineering? Or an engineer or designer interested in biology? Would you like to contribute to the design of sustainable construction materials? And collaborate within an international consortium of architects, materials and textiles scientists, and engineers to help translate bio-inspired knowledge to the development of modular walls for construction? Then you might be the PhD candidate we are looking for!

Information about the project
As a PhD candidate, you will use various techniques to investigate fiber-reinforced structures in nature, including additive manufacturing, computer simulations, materials testing, and characterization of 3D structures using tomographic techniques. You will also work with architects, designers, and engineers to develop biomimetic models of fiber-reinforced structures in order to help develop next-generation construction materials and further understand the functional morphology of organisms and natural systems.

This study is part of an international project funded by the European Innovation Council (EIC) that aims to develop bio-inspired and sustainable construction materials, led by a Vienna-based architect, and in collaboration with international experts in materials science, textiles, design, and engineering and companies at the leading edge of technological development. At the Experimental Zoology Group in Wageningen University (WU), you will have access to state-of-the-art computational infrastructure and experimental facilities for fabrication and testing. Facilities at our collaborators include various custom additive manufacturing equipment (including textiles) and industrial testing platforms.

You will work here
The research is embedded within the chair Experimental Zoology, and member of the Biomechanics and Biomimetics team, which is led by Prof. Florian Muijres. You will be co-supervised by Dr. Guillermo Amador.


Wageningen University & Research


For this interdisciplinary project, we are looking for a highly motivated and skilled PhD candidate with a recent university MSc degree (or equivalent) in engineering, biology, and/or industrial design. Specific requirements are:
  • strong analytical skills and innovative attitude;
  • previous experience with finite element simulations and/or rapid prototyping;
  • good programming and image analysis skills (e.g., Python, MeVisLab, Blender);
  • a clear affinity for the field of (bio)mechanics;
  • a team player with excellent communication skills;
  • proficiency in English (both oral and written).

For this position your command of the English language is expected to be at C1 level. Sometimes it is necessary to submit an internationally recognised Certificate of Proficiency in the English Language. More information can be found here

Conditions of employment

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:
  • Partially paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional compensation / holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.

In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team.
The gross salary for the first year is € 2.770 - per month rising to € 3.539,- in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale P). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well.

There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the “Best University” in the Netherlands for the 19th consecutive time.

Coming from abroad
Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees.

Because we expect you to work and live in the Netherlands our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.
Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. We can assist you with any additional advice and information about for example helping your partner to find a job, housing, or schooling. Finally, certain categories of international staff may be eligible for a tax exemption on a part of their salary during the first five years in the Netherlands


Wageningen University & Research

The mission of Wageningen University & Research is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment. With its roughly 30 branches, 7,600 employees (6,700 fte) and 13,100 students and over 150,000 participants to WUR’s Life Long Learning, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. The unique Wageningen approach lies in its integrated approach to issues and the collaboration between different disciplines.

Read the 5 reasons why your future colleagues enjoy working at WUR and watch the video below to get an idea of our green campus!

We will recruit for the vacancy ourselves, so no employment agencies please. However, sharing in your network is appreciated.


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • P1499972-1


Wageningen University & Research

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Droevendaalsesteeg, 6708 PB, Wageningen

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