PhD Position in Wind-farm Flow Modelling

Catholic University of Leuven Department of Mechanical Engineering


This PhD position is based in the Turbulent Flow Simulation and Optimization (TFSO) research group headed by Prof. Dr. Johan Meyers, which is part of the department of Mechanical Engineering. The position is embedded in the HorizonEurope FLOW Research and Innovation Action, funded by the EU in the context of its Sustainable, Secure and Competitive Energy Supply research program. The Flow project is an international collaboration between DTU, University of Oldenburg, Uppsala University, Fraunhofer IWES, KU Leuven, Vestas, GE, Siemens Gamesa, DNV, EDF and INOVA+. The PhD research focusses on the development, calibration and uncertainty quantification of next generation wake models for future wind-farm design.


Background: In recent years, offshore wind energy development has moved towards the deployment of (very) large wind power farms. A wind farm can consist of hundreds of wind turbines (WTs), each of capacities of 10MW and higher, with total capacities of the order of more than a GW. In the next decades, Europe has the ambition to install up to 330GW in its offshore basins, increasing the installed offshore capacity by more than a factor ten. With new turbine designs that increase in size, wind will be harvested at higher altitudes than before; with large farms, cluster effects, such as blockage and wind-farm wake become more important. At these scales, the flow features dominating wind-farm efficiency are not yet well understood, leading to large errors and uncertainties in current design models.

Research: The research focusses on developing and calibrating new wake models that better parametrize wind-farm blockage and wind-farm wakes, as well as different stratification regimes. To this end, the KU Leuven atmospheric perturbation model (Allaerts & Meyers 2019, J. Fluid Mech 862, 990-1028; Devesse et al. 2022, Wind Energy Sci., wes-2021-138) is further developed. In order to validate the model, KU Leuven’s high-fidelity simulation environment SP-Wind is employed, next to operational and experimental data from the industrial partners in the consortium.


Candidates have a master degree in one of the following or related fields: fluid mechanics, aerospace or mathematical engineering, numerical mathematics, or computational physics. They should have a good background or interest in fluid mechanics, optimization, simulation, and programming (Fortran, C/C++, MATLAB, Python, …). Proficiency in English is a requirement. The position adheres to the European policy of balanced ethnicity, age and gender. Persons of all origins and gender are encouraged to apply.


Ideal start time is January 1st 2023. The PhD position lasts for the duration of four years, and is carried out at the University of Leuven. The candidate also takes up a limited amount (approx. 10% of the time) of teaching activities. The remuneration is generous and is in line with the standard KU Leuven rates. It consists of a net monthly salary of about 2200 Euro (in case of dependent children or spouse, the amount can be somewhat higher). Following Belgian law, the salary is automatically adjusted for inflation based on the smoothed health index.


To apply, use the KU Leuven online application platform (applications by email are not considered) Please include:
a) an academic CV and a PDF of your diplomas and transcript of course work and grades
b) a statement of research interests and career goals, indicating why you are interested in this position
c) a sample of technical writing in English, e.g. a paper with you as main author, or your bachelor or master thesis
d) two recommendation letters
d) a list of at least two additional references (different from recommendation letters): names, phone numbers, and email addresses
e) some proof of proficiency in English (e.g. language test results from TOEFL, IELTS, CAE, or CPE)

Please send your application as soon as possible.
Decision: as soon as a suitable candidate applies.
Starting Date: January 1st 2023. Later or earlier start can be negotiated.

You can apply for this job no later than October 26, 2022 via the
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at
  • Employment percentage: Voltijds
  • Location: Leuven
  • Apply before: October 26, 2022
  • Tags: Werktuigkunde
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