PhD in Railway Transition Zones

Delft University of Technology



The Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences of Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) provides leading international research and education, with innovation and sustainability as central themes. Research and education are closely interwoven and address societal challenges. The Faculty consists of the departments of Transport and Planning, Structural Engineering, Geoscience and Engineering, Water Management, Hydraulic engineering, and Geoscience and Remote Sensing.

The recently started and young group of Dynamics and Durability of Structural Interfaces is part of the Engineering Structures Department and has historically close ties to the Railway Engineering group. Its work focuses on all aspects of interaction between moving systems on both the short and long term (including degradation), life-cycle design of railway assets, development of dedicated materials in dynamic environments, and environmental impact in the form of noise and vibration emission. The work is strongly multi-/interdisciplinary, with as most relevant disciplines: structural dynamics, contact/frictional mechanics, tribology, metallurgy, geo-engineering, monitoring and data processing. The group is internationally recognised for its academic level.

Job Description

In this challenging position you will join a team of other PhDs and postdocs, from both the Dynamics and Durability of Structural Interfaces (Michaël Steenbergen) and the Dynamics of Solids and Structures (Andrei Metrikine, Karel van Dalen) groups. This team works on theoretical and experimental modelling of dynamic train-track interaction in the presence of track stiffness variation. The PhD position will deal more explicitly with railway transition zones. In this position, you will further develop, combine and cross-benchmark existing models in this area and conduct sensitivity analyses to aid improved track design. You will validate the theoretical models and their predictions by means of organising, setting up and conducting a field test and analysing its results. You will report both orally and in written about your work and contribute to scientific publication.

Job Requirements

We are looking for a motivated student with an MSc degree and a specific curiosity in the field of structural and/or continuum dynamics. You like theoretical work behind your desktop, but you are not afraid of organising and implementing outside field tests. You have demonstrable affinity with mathematical modelling, geo-engineering and measuring techniques. Experience with finite element modelling/simulation packages and measurement techniques is an advantage. You are a good and structured thinker, a knowledge-driven team player, and have a professional and responsible working attitude. English fluency, oral and in writing, is required.

Terms of Employment

TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. The minimum salary mentioned is the salary in your first year. The salary mentioned as the maximum will be your salary in your fourth year.

As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment; an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor; and a Doctoral Education Programme aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills. Please visit for more information.

Inform and Apply

For more information, exclusively about the content of this position, please contact Michaël Steenbergen via To apply, please e-mail a detailed CV, list of publications, an abstract of your MSc thesis (one-page, in English), a grade list and letter of application in a single PDF file called CiTG19.16_Lastname.pdf by 30th June, exclusively to: Applications to other addresses will not be taken into account.

In your application, please refer to