PhD Position Cooperative and Distributed Data-Driven Control with Applications in Agriculture

Research / Academic

To deal with uncertainties and the increasing complexity in plants to be controlled, data-driven methods have been developed to synthesize controllers from data. These data-driven control methods have a wide range of applications in both natural and man-made systems. On the other hand, control of a network of subsystems is an important topic inspired by various engineering applications.
This project focuses on the development and application of cooperative and distributed data-driven control approaches in agriculture. Rapid human population growth results in high global food demand. Producing nutrient dense foods with minimal environmental impact has become crucial. As control engineers, our opportunities lie in developing advanced control approaches to increase production efficiency, reduce climate impact, and improve sustainability.
Motivated by applications such as the cooperative control of sensor networks and distributed regulation problems in open-field farming, this PhD project aims at developing data-driven control approaches for multi-agent and/or large-scale systems. Relevant research questions include what are the necessary data and information to be collected and exchanged for designing distributed controllers, how to achieve optimality for the subsystems via data, and how to improve the scalability of the control design with respect to time and spatial scales. Learning from the state-of-the-art in data-driven control, novel approaches will be developed for multi-agent and/or large-scale systems. 
If you are selected for the position, you will join our machine learning and optimization team at the Delft Center for Systems and Control (DCSC) of the faculty of Mechanical, Maritime, and Materials Engineering (3mE). At the DCSC, our mission is to conduct fundamental research in systems dynamics and control, involving dynamic modeling, advanced control theory, and optimization with societally relevant application fields including energy, transportation, and sustainability.


This position is a perfect chance for you to pursue high-level research work if you have

  • a Master degree in systems and control, applied mathematics, electrical engineering, or a related field with a strong background in control theory;
  • a strong mathematical background is a plus;
  • experience in data-driven control, distributed control, or agriculture applications is a plus.

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.

Salary Benefits:

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 € 2541 per month in the first year to € 3247 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 sport memberships, 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.


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