PhD Geotechnical Engineering – Site Characterisation and Monitoring of Railway Embankments

Updated: about 2 months ago
Deadline: 25 Sep 2022

PhD Geotechnical Engineering – Site Characterisation and Monitoring of Railway Embankments
PhD Geotechnical Engineering – Site Characterisation and Monitoring of Railway Embankments
Published Deadline Location
12 Aug 25 Sep Delft

Job description

Within the research program RESET, ProRail, Deltares, and TU Delft will work together to investigate the behaviour of moving trains on rail embankments with special attention to increasing train frequency and trainloads, and effects of climate change. TU Delft will recruit 8 PhD students and 2 postdocs to work in this research program. One PhD position is available to develop and perform site characterisation and monitoring.


Many new data acquisition methods are vehicle-mounted, allowing continuous and frequent acquisition of relevant data without disrupting regular railway operation. As such, these methods will complement the conventional site investigation methods that are discontinuous and disrupt regular railway operation. Combing a detailed long-term, high frequency, in-situ monitoring programme leads to the ability to validate the vehicle-mounted systems for geotechnical purposes and identification of hot-spots on the network. The first step in the research is to perform a detailed site characterisation at a known hotspot. Then a suitable monitoring regime will be designed and interpreted.

Project discription

The project will be conducted in close collaboration with almost all other PhD projects and with all partners in RESET. The PhD student will: (a) Design, build and maintain a long-term, high frequency in-situ monitoring programme at a soft soil test site; (b) Use a combination of Cone Penetration Test, CPT data and a range of geophysical approaches to allow statistical characterisation and the spatial variability of soil properties within soil layers; (c) Using the sensor data preform inverse modelling for site-specific properties including dynamic, static, long-term changes; (d) Evaluate vehicle driven acquisition methods to monitoring-site data; (e) Evaluate Life cycle process, from construction to current-and future-use including effects of climate change, and changing loads over time.

  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • Delft View on Google Maps

Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


We are looking for a candidate with an MSc degree in Geotechnical Engineering or a related field. Experience in geotechnical monitoring is preferred but not required, an interest in fieldwork is necessary. The candidate should have programming skills in python/Matlab/C, proficiency in verbal and written English.

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 .

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

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 we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation.

Delft University of Technology

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context.

At TU Delft we embrace diversity as one of our core values and we actively engage to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

Challenge. Change. Impact!

Faculty Civil Engineering & Geosciences

The Faculty of Civil Engineering & Geosciences (CEG) is committed to outstanding international research and education in the field of civil engineering, applied earth sciences, traffic and transport, water technology, and delta technology. Our research feeds into our educational programmes and covers societal challenges such as climate change, energy transition, resource depletion, urbanisation and the availability of clean water, conducted  in close cooperation with a wide range of research institutions. CEG is convinced that Open Science helps to achieve our goals and supports its scientists in integrating Open Science in their research practice. The Faculty of CEG comprises 28 research groups in the following seven departments: Materials Mechanics Management & Design, Engineering Structures, Geoscience and Engineering, Geoscience and Remote Sensing, Transport & Planning, Hydraulic Engineering and Water Management.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Civil Engineering & Geosciences.

Additional information

For more information about this position you can reach out to Prof. Ken Gavin, e-mail: .

Working at TU Delft

Join the oldest and largest technical university in the Netherlands. Work on clever solutions for worldwide challenges, to change the world and make an impact. Ready to bring your energy to our research?

Challenge, change, impact!

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Application procedure

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply before 25 September 2022 via the application button and upload your motivation and CV.

  • You can apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post.
  • A pre-Employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.
  • Acquisition in response to this vacancy is not appreciated.

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