PhD positon in Data-driven Control (1.0 FTE)

Updated: 20 days ago
Deadline: 03 Jan 2022


Founded in 1614, the University of Groningen enjoys an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative institution of higher education offering high-quality teaching and research. Flexible study programmes and academic career opportunities in a wide variety of disciplines encourage the 36,000 students and researchers alike to develop their own individual talents. As one of the best research universities in Europe, the University of Groningen has joined forces with other top universities and networks worldwide to become a truly global centre of knowledge.

Within the Faculty of Science and Engineering, a 4-years PhD position is available at the Bernoulli Institute for Mathematics, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence on the topic of Data-driven Control. The successful candidate will work in the Systems, Control and Optimization group under supervision of Dr H.J. van Waarde and Prof. M.K. Camlibel. The research group is also part of the Jan C. Willems Center for Systems and Control. The University of Groningen is renowned for its long tradition in mathematical control theory. According to the 2021 Shanghai Ranking for Automation and Control, the university ranks 3rd in Europe and 15th worldwide.

Job description

Large-scale dynamical systems such as interconnected robots, neural networks and precision motion systems produce enormous amounts of data. Intelligent decision-making on the basis of such data has the potential to radically improve our understanding of these systems and the ways we control their dynamics. However, to make full use of this potential, many fundamental questions need to be addressed. Machine learning algorithms have seen remarkable successes for image recognition tasks and board games like go and chess. Nonetheless, a major challenge is to ensure that the integration of data-based learning in feedback loops, or more generally in interconnected networks, comes with stability and performance guarantees that are traditionally associated to dynamic control systems design.

In our group, we work on mathematical theory for data-driven modeling and control. We tackle research questions such as: how to map time series data into control policies? How much data is required for control? How to handle detrimental effects caused by noise? And how to embed the underlying physics of a dynamical system in data-based learning tasks? You will work with us on such questions and, in particular, play an integral role in developing dedicated experiment design strategies that allow the extraction of useful datasets enabling certified data-based control.

Your objective as a PhD student is to produce original scientific results and report these in a number of research articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals and conference proceedings. Together, these will form the basis of a thesis leading to a PhD degree at the University of Groningen.


The successful candidate should:

• have a keen interest in pursuing fundamental research in applied mathematics, systems theory, data-driven control and machine learning
• have a Master’s degree or equivalent in Systems and Control, (Applied) Mathematics, Mechanical/Electrical Engineering, Computer Science or a related field
• have good oral and written communication skills in English.

Conditions of employment

We offer you, following the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:

• a salary of € 2,434 gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 3,111 gross per month in the fourth and final year for a full-time working week
• a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income and an 8.3% year-end bonus
• a full-time position (1.0 FTE). The successful candidate will first be offered a temporary position of one year with the option of renewal for another three years. Prolongation of the contract is contingent on sufficient progress in the first year to indicate that a successful completion of the PhD thesis within the next three years is to be expected. A PhD training programme is part of the agreement and the successful candidate will be enrolled in the Graduate School of Science and Engineering.

The intended starting date is as soon as possible in 2022 (exact date negotiable)


For information you can contact:

Dr H.J. van Waarde,

(please do not use the email addresses above for applications)

Jan C. Willems Center
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