04 July 2019

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For more information please contact Prof. dr. ir. David Moens, tel.: +32 16 37 28 79, mail: or Mr. Matthias Faes, tel.: +32 15 68 81 99, mail:

You can apply for this job no later than August 15, 2019 via the online application tool
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Apply before 15 August 2019

Research project on the development and validation of novel UQ techniques for the quantification of multivariate field concepts, as they occur for instance in material models applied in composite or additive manufactured mechanical components.

The Reliable and Robust Design (R2D) group of the department of Mechanical Engineering at KU Leuven is looking for a motivated PhD candidate with interests in advanced Uncertainty Quantification (UQ) techniques and numerical modelling of realistic structures for a research project on the development and validation of novel UQ techniques for the quantification of multivariate field concepts, as they occur for instance in material models applied in composite or additive manufactured mechanical components.

The R2D group belongs to the Department of Mechanical Engineering of KU Leuven and is located on campus De Nayer. The group has extensive expertise in non-deterministic modelling, including probabilistic as well as interval analysis, advanced field concepts for uncertainty quantification and inverse approaches. Furthermore, the group has strong ties to both the international research community, as well as to local and international industrial partners.

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In engineering practice, designcalculations are often performed with incomplete knowledge on the real valuesof the parameters of the structure under consideration, as the correspondingquantities are usually inherently variable (e.g., wind loads on a building),insufficiently quantified (e.g., not directly measurable quantities), or acombination of both. When a pure deterministic representation of those modelquantities is used to design and optimise the structure, typically a largedegree of conservatism is included to ensure reliability and safety. Thishowever impairs the benefits that are obtained by performing the designoptimisation in the first place and is hence economically not optimal.Therefore, recent trends in computer aided engineering and scientific computingfocus on the application of advanced methodologies for the modeling,propagation and quantification of non-deterministic model quantities.


An important sub-group of thesenon-deterministic modelling techniques are the so-called field concepts. Inthis context, random and interval fields have been studied extensively in auni-variate (i.e., one parameter at a time) context. However, more often thannot, the uncertainty that is present in multiple model parameters (e.g.,thickness, porosity, material stiffness, etc.) stems from a shared (possiblyunknown) root cause. As such, the practice of modelling those uncertain fieldsas being independent is questionable as it might provide the analyst with abiased estimation of the safety of the designed structure. Therefore, thisproject aims at developing new concepts for the propagation and inversequantification of multivariate uncertain field concepts. Hereto, advancedprobabilistic (copula) and interval (admissible set decomposition) techniqueswill be applied to model the multivariate field uncertainty. Then, an inverseapproach will be developed to infer these quantities from obtained sets ofmeasurement data.


This project allows for a close collaborationwith the extensive international network of the research group, enabling thecandidate to obtain international visibility.


Successful candidates:

  • hold a master’s in engineering science, computer science or engineering technology or any other comparable study with a solid mathematical background,
  • have a profound interest in uncertainty quantification and numerical simulation,
  • have working experience with coding in Matlab/Python/Julia/…,
  • like to work in a multidisciplinary team of international researchers,
  • have a creative and problem-solving mindset and take initiative to conduct cutting-edge research in close collaboration with industry,
  • are fluent in English (both spoken and written).

Any prior experience in the application or development of uncertainty quantification techniques is considered a strong plus.


KU Leuven is among the top universities in Europe (ranked 48th in general and 45thin engineering according to Times Higher Education world university ranking)and the research performed in the R2D group is renowned in the scientific community.


We offer:

  • a research position in an enticing research environment at the cross-roads of numerical simulation, applied mathematics, mechanical engineering and computational mechanics in close contact with key industrial partners,
  • an attractive salary package, complemented with multiple benefits (health insurance, access to university infrastructure and sports facilities, etc.),
  • a thorough scientific education,
  • the opportunity to participate at international conferences and the possibility to spend a research stay at one of our international contacts,
  • to work towards obtaining a PhD degree from a highly-ranked university and be come a well-trained, independent researcher.

The initial contract has a 12 month duration. It is extended to a full PhD trajectory in case of a positive evaluation.