PhD Position in Control Theory and Machine Learning for Robust and Sustainable Plants Models at CropXR/TU Delft

Updated: about 2 months ago
Deadline: 14 May 2024

29 Mar 2024
Job Information

Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)
Research Field

Researcher Profile

First Stage Researcher (R1)

Application Deadline

14 May 2024 - 21:59 (UTC)
Type of Contract

Job Status

Not Applicable
Hours Per Week

Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?

Not funded by an EU programme
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?


Offer Description

TU Delft is a top tier university and is exceedingly active in the field of Artificial intelligence and Control Systems. With a budget of 96 million Euro over the next decade, CropXR focuses on creating eXtra Resilient (XR), sustainable, and climate-adaptive crops. By combining plant biology, simulation modelling, and artificial intelligence we aim to develop ‘smart breeding and cultivation’ methods to speed up breeding for complex resilience traits in different growing systems for several crops. This collaborative effort involves four universities, numerous companies, and encompasses scientific research, data collection and sharing, education, and practical applications in agriculture and plant breeding.

On this PhD project you will develop novel systems biology methods employing control and analysis of dynamical models, and machine learning models, in particular neural networks. The developed methods will be employed to formally study combinations of mechanistics models commonly used in biology with data-driven (AI) models from genomic data. You will guide parameter estimation and synthesis of models of molecular processes combining data and mechanistic insights.

You will work at the Delft Centre of Systems and Control (DCSC) and will be supervised by Luca Laurenti & Manuel Mazo.

The Delft Centre for Systems and Control (DCSC) coordinates the education and research activities in systems and control at Delft University of Technology. The Centre's research mission is to conduct fundamental research in systems dynamics and control, involving dynamic modelling, advanced control theory, optimisation and signal analysis. The research is motivated by advanced technology development in physical imaging systems, robotics and transportation systems. The group actively participates in the Dutch Institute of Systems and Control (DISC).

CropXR was launched in 2023 to help make agricultural production less vulnerable to climate change and less dependent on artificial fertilizers and chemical pesticides. The institute is a joint venture of the universities of Amsterdam, Delft, Wageningen and Utrecht in partnership with Plantum, the Dutch plant breeding sector association.

CropXR brings together efforts from different academic disciplines (such as plant sciences, computational and data sciences, and social sciences) and private industry to help bring about sustainable change. It receives support from NWO, the Dutch National Growth Fund, and the Foundation for Food & Agricultural Research. Learn more about CropXR at .

Specific Requirements
  • An MSc degree in systems and control, applied mathematics, electrical engineering, computer science, or related fields.
  • Basic knowledge of control theory and/or machine learning (waived if the candidate is particularly skilled on theoretical computer science, optimization, or system biology).
  • Strong analytical skills and an ability to work at the intersection of several research domains, in particular control theory, computer science, and biology.
  • Basic programming skills are expected.
  • Good command of the English language and good communication skills.

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 .

Additional Information

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.

Selection process

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply before 15 May 2024 via the application button and upload:

- 1-page motivation letter
- your CV
- academic transcripts of both your BSc and MSc degrees
- a (part of your) M.Sc. thesis
- a scientific report, or a paper that you have written, in which you demonstrate your writing skills.

Please highlight in your motivation letter and/or CV examples of projects and achievements that demonstrate your relevant competences

For information about the application procedure, please contact our HR advisor by sending an email to [email protected] .

Please note:
- A pre-employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.
- You can apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post.
- Please do not contact us for unsolicited services.

Additional comments

For more information about this vacancy, please contact Luca Laurenti [email protected] or Manuel Mazo, [email protected] .

Website for additional job details

Work Location(s)
Number of offers available
Delft University of Technology
Postal Code
2628 CD
Mekelweg 2

Where to apply



Mekelweg 2
Postal Code

2628 CD


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