PhD Position in Real-Time Assessment and Control of Electric Locomotive Traction and Braking

Updated: 4 months ago
Deadline: 11 Jun 2023

This PhD project aims to develop physics-based and data-driven models that enable the accurate control of the traction and braking of electric locomotives. Good controllability of locomotive traction and braking is key to maximizing the full potential of Automatic Train Operation (ATO), the future of railway operation. This project primarily requires an affinity for electrical motors. You will enable the estimation of locomotive traction/braking force by modelling the relationship between the electricity used/generated by the traction motor and the corresponding driving/resisting torque the motor generated. Advanced data analytics and machine learning techniques will be combined with physical models of locomotive motors to realize the research goal. As part of this project, you will engage with key European partners and locomotive motor manufacturers from the European Project ERJU-IAM4RAIL.

As a PhD student, you will be a member of the Railway Engineering section in the department of Engineering Structures. The department of Engineering Structures focuses on the design, mechanics, materials, and construction of resilient, smart and sustainable structures and infrastructures as well as on the structures for energy transition. Within these main themes research is carried out into the dynamics of structures, mechanics of materials related to e.g. climate change, multi-scale characterization and modelling of pavement materials and structures, reuse of materials, structures and parts of structures, assessment methods for structures, smart monitoring techniques, design methods, replacement and renovation of civil infrastructure and development of new materials and maintenance techniques. The groups are using the Macro-mechanic Laboratory (Stevinlab 2) for micro-scale to full scale testing, monitoring and modelling of structures to facilitate implementation of innovations. The department delivers a large number of courses both at the BSc and MSc level.

Railway is the backbone of sustainable mobility. The Railway Engineering section deals with the physical assets of the railway system, including trains, power supply systems, track, as well as the interfaces and dynamic interactions between them. The research, innovation, development and education of the section concern the whole life cycle of the assets, from design, construction, operation, degradation, monitoring, maintenance to retrofit, as well as the data-driven intelligent management of the assets, taking into consideration of the performance of the whole railway system. The section plays a leading role in the TU Delft Rail Institute (DelftRail).

We are looking for an excellent candidate with the following qualifications, knowledge and skills:

  • A master's degree in Electrical Engineering, Systems and Control, or a related field.
  • A strong background and affinity in electrical engineering, especially in electrical motors.
  • Demonstrated experience or interest in machine learning.
  • Programming skills, preferably in MATLAB and Python.
  • Self-motivated, curiosity-driven, open to communicate and collaborate with peers.

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 .

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, 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.

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!

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 availability, urbanisation and clean water. Our research projects are conducted in close cooperation with a wide range of research institutions. CEG is convinced of the importance of open science 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.

For more information about this vacancy, please contact Dr. Alfredo Núñez Vicencio, e-mail: .

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply before 11 June 2023 via the application button and upload your:

  • motivation letter;
  • detailed curriculum vitae;
  • one-page abstract of your MSc thesis written in English;
  • copies of BSc and MSc degrees and transcripts, and/or publication;
  • proof of English language proficiency

A pre-employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.

If your MSc diploma and transcript are not in Dutch, English, French or German and you will be the selected candidate, TU Delft will ask you to deliver a certified translation.

Please note:

  • 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.
  • Please do not contact us for unsolicited services.

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