PhD Position Geometry and Structural Condition Monitoring of Railway Track and Embankment

Updated: 3 months ago
Deadline: 28 Nov 2022

PhD Position Geometry and Structural Condition Monitoring of Railway Track and Embankment
PhD Position Geometry and Structural Condition Monitoring of Railway Track and Embankment
Published Deadline Location
yesterday 28 Nov Delft

Job description

Within the research program RESET– “Reliable Embankments for the Safe Expansion of Rail Traffic” – 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 work on geometry and structural condition monitoring of railway track and embankment.


RESET develops methods to assess the safety of the track-embankment-soil system under dynamic train loading. Measurement data along track and over time are needed for the assessment. These include train load estimated from axle box acceleration, measurement of surface vibration and waves of track and embankment, and delineation of soil layering and moisture content from ground-penetrating radar. Joint load-vibration-soil layering analysis can be used to quantify and visualize the spatial distribution of soil properties within subsurface layers and layer thickness. These characterizations of structure and material conditions can be further analyzed together with geometry data measured from train and InSAR to enhance the reliability of embankment stability assessment. This research will be conducted on the reference project site(s) of RESET and in the TU Delft laboratory test rig V-track, after which it will be calibrated/validated on the TU Delft measurement CTO in railway operational conditions.

Project description

The project will be conducted in close collaboration with almost all the other PhD and postdoc projects and with all partners in RESET. The PhD student aims at (a) Developing an effective approach for monitoring railway track embankment using geometry and structural condition data; (b) Quantifying the spatial distribution of track and embankment stiffness and soil properties using load-vibration-soil layering data; (c) Linking the load-vibration-soil layering  measurements, through the geophysical parameters, to CPT measurements; (d) Reducing parameter estimation uncertainties by making use of multiple data; (e) Identifying problematic places by interpreting multiple data with advanced processing approaches.

  • 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 Mechanical, Electrical, Geotechnical, Civil or Aerospace Engineering, applied Physics or a related field. Experience in sensing technology, measurement and signal processing is necessary. Knowledge in dynamics and vibration is preferred but not required. The candidate should have 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 additional information (other than application procedure), please contact Prof. Zili Li ( ) and Prof. Rolf Dollevoet (  

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 28 November 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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