PhD on Circular manufacturing logistics for industrialized construction 4.0

Research / Academic

This project is on advanced logistics for circular manufacturing processes in the remit of industrialized construction. You will develop innovative methodologies and related tools to support the automation and control of circular (modular) construction processes and the optimal integrated planning of off-site production, logistics and on-site operations, thus accelerating the transition towards a digitally integrated circular construction industry.

Job Description

Modular prefabricated construction is an industrialized manufacturing process where elements and  volumetric modules are produced and partly assembled in the factories, and then transported on site where full assembly is completed. It facilitate reuse of elements, for which forward and reverse logistics must be integrated based on optimal circularity strategies. As such, circular industrialized construction can be framed in the remit of sustainable distributed manufacturing.

The project is aimed at accelerating the transition to a digitally integrated closed-loop value chain and automated circular processes in industrialized construction 4.0 by focusing on 1) creating a roadmap for transitioning to a digitally integrated circular supply/value chain, 2) developing a prototype digital twin for scenario analysis for off-site and on-site manufacturing and logistics planning.

The PhD candidate will develop modelling tools to analyse, (re-)design and control the manufacturing processes and the underlying value chain processes. This entails the development of a modelling framework to analyse and redesign the value chain by focusing on the alignment between assets, processes and stakeholders based on system engineering approaches. The digital twin of the off-site/on-site manufacturing and logistics processes, will enable scenario analysis for decision-making to develop coordinated production (manufacturing of modules), offsite logistics (inventory/storage and transport) and onsite assembly/disassembly planning which include the return and reuse of parts in a reverse flow. The digital twin combined with suitable optimization approaches, will serve as a tool to support the automation and control of this circular manufacturing processes. You will publish the results in international journals and conferences to communicate with academia and other societal stakeholders.

Research environment

In this PhD project, you will conduct innovative multidisciplinary research at the intersection between industrial engineering/operations management and built environment by becoming part of the Operations, Planning, Accounting and Control Group (OPAC) at IE&ES and collaborating with the Information Systems in the Built Environment (ISBE) group at the BE Department.  You will closely collaborate in a leading role with several manufacturing, logistics, ICT, construction companies and technology leaders in automation in the Netherlands. You will be part of a challenging and innovative multidisciplinary project, and you will learn, apply and improve diverse modelling techniques to support the creation of future-proof circular and automated manufacturing and logistics in industrialized construction 4.0.


Applicants are required to hold a master's degree (or an equivalent university degree) in Industrial Engineering, Operations Research, Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Computer Science or similar with strong background in Operations Management.

The preferred candidate will meet as many of the following requirements as possible:

  • A research oriented attitude;
  • Have a background in operations management;
  • Strong expertise in programming using well-known frameworks and languages, such as JavaScript and/or Python.
  • Strong competence in analytical skills, mathematical skills, and quantitative modeling.
  • Ability to function within a large and diverse project team, including industry.
  • Fluent English skills, both written and spoken (C1 level);
  • Interest in co-supervising MSc projects and motivated to develop your teaching skills.
  • Project management skills.
  • Capability and passion for working on challenging topics that have both fundamental and applied research aspects.
  • (desirable) Experience in construction logistics and industrialized construction, in particular aimed at making these logistics more future-proof, sustainable, and circular.

Salary Benefits:

A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university, in an interdisciplinary setting and within an international network. You will work on a beautiful, green campus within walking distance of the central train station. In addition, we offer you:

  • Full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation (go/no-go) after nine months. You will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks.
  • Salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, paid pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, scale P (min. €2,770 max. €3,539).
  • A year-end bonus of 8.3% and annual vacation pay of 8%.
  • High-quality training programs and other support to grow into a self-aware, autonomous scientific researcher. At TU/e we challenge you to take charge of your own learning process.
  • An excellent technical infrastructure, on-campus children's day care and sports facilities.
  • An allowance for commuting, working from home and internet costs.
  • Staff Immigration Team and a tax compensation scheme (the 30% facility) for international candidates.
Work Hours:

38 hours per week


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