PhD in Scheduling Maintenance Tasks for Aircraft Using Component Prognostics

Delft University of Technology



The faculty of Aerospace Engineering at Delft University of Technology is one of the world's largest faculties devoted entirely to aerospace engineering. In the Netherlands it is the only research and education institute directly related to the aerospace engineering sector. It covers the whole spectrum of aerospace engineering subjects. In aeronautics, the faculty covers subjects ranging from aerodynamics and flight propulsion to structures and materials and from control and simulation to air transport and operations. In astronautics, topics include astrodynamics, space missions and space systems engineering. The faculty has around 2,700 BSc and MSc students, 225 PhD candidates and 27 professors supported by scientific staff.
The faculty's mission is to be the best Aerospace Engineering faculty in the world, inspiring and educating students through modern education techniques and enabling staff to perform ambitious research of the highest quality for the future of aerospace. The working atmosphere at the faculty is friendly, open-minded and dedicated.

The mission of the Department of Control and Operations at the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering is to improve the safety and efficiency of operations in aerospace and to reduce their impact on the environment. The department comprises three sections: Control and Simulation, which focuses on the development of advanced automatic control systems, Air Transport and Operations, whose goal is to improve operational performance by optimising capacity, costs, environmental impact, and safety, and Aircraft Noise and Climate Effects, which focuses on reducing aircraft noise, emissions and the effects of aviation on climate change.

The Air Transport and Operations section is a vibrant and youthful group of 30 enthusiastic staff members and PhDs with 40 MSc students per year. ATO has three research aims: 1) to develop radical new ways to optimise aircraft operations for efficiency, safety, cost, and environmental impact; 2) to extend the analysis to an airline fleet and network level to include capacity and resilience; 3) to synthesise these to include operational safety at an airline and ATM level.      

Job Description

In recent years, aircraft maintenance is increasingly making use of available data on the condition of components and systems to schedule maintenance tasks. The goal of this PhD project is to develop optimal maintenance schedules that use prognostics about the condition of aircraft components to determine when and which components should undergo maintenance. The scope of this PhD project is scheduling of component maintenance at the fleet level, for a low to medium planning horizon. The PhD candidate is expected to develop stochastic optimization models that take into account prognostics on the remaining useful life of components such that the aircraft downtime and/or maintenance costs are minimized. The PhD candidate will also contribute to the development of prognostics algorithms for the remaining useful life of components. The models developed are to be validated in case studies.

The PhD project will be conducted within the Air Transport and Operations section of Aerospace Engineering Faculty, Technical University of Delft (TUD).  

Job Requirements

The successful candidate has:

• A Master of Science degree in the area of aerospace engineering or other modes of transport, operations research, applied mathematics, computer science.

• Knowledge of stochastic optimisation techniques.

• Knowledge of machine learning techniques is a plus.

• Strong mathematical, analytical and programming skills.

• Excellent communication skills in spoken and written English, and teamwork skills.

• Creativity, positive attitude, and perseverance

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. An International Children’s Centre offers childcare and an international primary school. Dual Career Services offers support to accompanying partners. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. You will have 232 hours of paid leave each year and in addition to your salary, at TU Delft you will receive an annual holiday allowance of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8,3% of your salary.

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 about this vacancy, please contact Assistant Professor M.A. (Mihaela) Mitici, phone:+31 (0)15 2787082, e-mail: To apply, please e-mail a detailed CV and letter of application by 26st of June 2019 to M.A. Mitici, email:

When applying, please refer to vacancy number LR19-19. If your MSc diploma and transcript are not in Dutch, English, French or German and you will be the selected candidate, the TU Delft will ask you to deliver a certified translation.

In your application, please refer to