PhD Position in Digital Twin−Dealing with Uncertainty in Manufacturing Processes

University of Twente Faculty of Engineering Technology


The Challenge

Virtual (model-based) techniques are nowadays common tools to design manufacturing processes with optimal use of material and process capabilities. However, model-based techniques are subjected to different types of uncertainties which can hamper their reliability. The uncertainties can originate from variations in process inputs such as material properties, process settings (machine dynamics, lubrication)  but also from insufficient accuracy of the models themselves e.g. as a result of coarse approximations or unrealistic assumptions. If these uncertainties are neglected, very often an optimal deterministic process design is found which is at the limits of the material, process capabilities and the accuracy of the models. In real-life, where variations are always present, this leads to unreliable production processes.
The main goal of the current project is to develop strategies for building digital twins of manufacturing processes that take the uncertainties in account. The digital twin will utilize virtual (e.g. finite element) models as well as measured input and output data from a manufacturing process (e.g. a multi-stage metal forming process) in order to identically represent the system behavior. Therefore, the digital twin of the process will be able to cope with different sources of uncertainties in the process, reduce the discrepancies between predicted results and the measured output data. Such digital twins will be used to improve process settings, control and design, ultimately leading to first-time-right and zero-defect manufacturing.

Job description

For this project, we are looking for a PhD candidate with relevant expertise. The candidate will report his/her research during bi-weekly meetings of our research group and quarterly meetings with the project partners. The candidate is expected to present his/her results at international scientific conferences and publish them in academic literature. Furthermore, the researcher will be encouraged to tutor MSc students who do their final assignment on sub-projects pertaining to the current research project.
The PhD research will be performed in the chair of Nonlinear Solid Mechanics and co-supervised from the chair of Precision Engineering.

Your profile

- MSc. degree in Mechanical Engineering or a related field with excellent results and special interest in modelling, data analysis and production processes. 
- Prior knowledge of nonlinear solid mechanics, statistics, computational methods and optimization. 
- Curious and highly motivated to do interdisciplinary scientific research with a clear industrial application. 
- Working independently and taking ownership for your own research.

- Strong written and verbal communication skills. Proficiency in English is required, both spoken and written. You need to provide IELTS test results (minimum score 6.5) or TOEFL-iBT (minimum score 90). The latter is not necessary for native speakers of English or whose MSc program was in English.

Please submit your application before October 30, 2020 using the “Apply now” button, and include:

1. Curriculum vitae
2. Letter of motivation
3. Grades of the BSc and MSc courses
4. IELTS or TOEFL score (if necessary) 
5. Contact information of 2 references
6. A short movie of maximum 2 minutes; introducing yourself and shortly presenting your MSc. thesis

Additional information about this position can be acquired from Prof. Ton van den Boogaard, head of the chair Nonlinear Solid Mechanics, phone: +31 53 489 4785, e-mail:

Our offer

The UT provides a dynamic and international environment, combining the benefits of academic research with a topic of high industrial relevance, excellent working conditions, an exciting scientific environment, and a green and lively campus. We offer:

• A full-time 4-year PhD position;
• We provide excellent mentorship and a stimulating international research environment with excellent facilities;
• You are offered a professional and personal development program within Graduate School Twente;
• A starting salary of € 2.395 gross per month in the first year and a salary of € 3.061 in the fourth year gross per month;
• A holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and a year-end bonus of 8.3%;
• A solid pension scheme;
• Minimum of 29 holidays per year in case of fulltime employment.

The organization

The University of Twente. We stand for life sciences and technology. High tech and human touch. Education and research that matter. New technology which leads change, innovation and progress in society. The University of Twente is the only campus university of the Netherlands; divided over five faculties we provide more than fifty educational programmes. We have a strong focus on personal development and talented researchers are given scope for carrying out groundbreaking research.

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status or disability status. Because of our diversity values we do particularly support women to apply.

The Faculty of Engineering Technology (ET)
is one of the five faculties of the University of Twente. ET combines Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Industrial Design Engineering. Our faculty has approximately 1800 bachelor and master students, 400 employees and 150 PhD candidates. The departments of the faculty cooperatively conduct the educational programmes and participate in interdisciplinary research projects, programmes and the research institutes: Mesa+ Institute, TechMed Centra and Digital Society Institute.

In your application, please refer to