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

Research / Academic

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.


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.

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 € 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.

Work Hours:

36 - 40 hours per week


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