PhD position on “Degradation of reinforced concrete”

Updated: about 2 months ago
Deadline: 10 May 2021

(ref. BAP-2021-331)

Laatst aangepast : 22/04/2021

The Building Materials and Constructions section at the Department of Civil Engineering invites applications for a PhD position on “Degradation of reinforced concrete”. The Building Materials and Constructions group aims to generate advanced knowledge through fundamental and application-oriented research on durable and sustainable building materials, structural components and construction, contributing to new, existing and heritage structures with low environmental impact, structural resilience and improved service life.


During their lifetime, reinforced concrete structures are subjected to complex and interacting degradation mechanisms. These degradation processes and micro-structural changes at material level, such as carbonation, chloride ingress, shrinkage, rebar corrosion, etc. have an impact on the degradation of reinforced concrete on the macro-structural level, e.g. corrosion-induced concrete cracking. A more fundamental understanding of these interacting degradation mechanisms, in relation to their time-dependency and spatial variability is necessary for a more accurate lifetime assessment and performance-based design of concrete structures. Research challenges that are to be tackled are the effects of modern cement types, such as blended cements and SCMs on degradation mechanisms that are governed by pore structure and moisture transport, and the interactions between micro-structural changes (porosity decrease, concrete micro-cracking) and ingress of deteriorating agents. Thereby, this project aims at linking binder technology and corrosion science to structural engineering.

  • You are soon to obtain, or have obtained a master degree (or equivalent) in one of the following fields: civil engineering, architecture or materials engineering.
  • You have experience in research related to “degradation of reinforced concrete” (e.g. through your master thesis).
  • You have strong analytical skills and a sense of synthesis.
  • You have excellent communication skills in English, both oral and written. Active knowledge of Dutch is a strong point.
  • You are motivated, independent, critical, and a strong team-player
  • You are able to meet the admission requirements of the KU Leuven Arenberg Doctoral School (


We offer the opportunity to pursue a PhD in Civil Engineering, in a stimulating research environment at one of the leading Engineering Faculties worldwide, as well as a full PhD scholarship. You will be encouraged to present your work at international conferences and will benefit from our strong international research network. Besides the main research activities, you will also act as a teaching assistant for courses in the Civil Engineering program at KU Leuven. Your Doctoral training is provided in the framework of the KU Leuven Arenberg Doctoral School(, known for its strong focus on researchers aiming to valorize their doctoral expertise and competences in a non-academic context. Your workplace is at the Department of Civil Engineering in Heverlee (Leuven).


Your application should include: (1) a motivation letter (max. 2 pages) that details the reasons why you are interested in the particular position and how this position fits within your interests, experience and career plans, (2) a complete curriculum vitae that demonstrates how your profile meets the above requirements, (3) a complete transcript of records to date, (4) a proof of proficiency in English (TOEFL or IETLS certificate) or Dutch (in case you did not obtain your Master Diploma in a Dutch or English engineering program).

For more information about this vacancy, you can contact Prof. E. Verstrynge ( or Prof. Ö. Cizer ( Do not send your CV to these email addresses, such will not be appreciated. Use the online submission tool provided in the links above. The successful candidate is expected to start no later than October 1, 2021.

KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at

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