PhD Researcher in Development of Model-Based Robust Design Methodologies for Lubricated Gearboxes

Catholic University of Leuven


The KU Leuven Mecha(tro)nic System Dynamics division (LMSD) is looking for a PhD researcher to join its team to work on developing model-based robust design methodologies for lubricated gearboxes.


This PhD project addresses the problem of performance variability of nominally identical gearboxes that is often observed in industry after production and/or assembly of a gearbox. The main reason for this variability are manufacturing variations, lubricant property changes, assembly variations and/or different operating conditions. These variations occur in all industrial gearboxes, irrespective of the selected quality grading, and can be detrimental for the durability and NVH performance of the gearbox when it is not purposefully designed to be insensitive to these disturbances. Traditional gear design manuals and/or software packages based on international standards lack the resolution required to include the influence of such factors as (within-tolerance) surface roughness, geometrical deviations, lubricant viscosity changes, and the presence of surface coatings. On the other hand, most advanced CAE software packages for gearbox analysis rely largely on non-lubricated and/or smooth contact mechanics, whereas general-purpose CFD software is computationally too demanding for exploring vast amounts of design variations in a reasonable time. The objective of this PhD position is to develop and experimentally validate a methodology (and associated simulation tools) for the robust design of lubricated gearboxes, based on model-based tribodynamic parameter sensitivity analyses of gearboxes on both component- and system-level. 
This research is hosted by the Mecha(tro)nic System Dynamics division (LMSD), which currently counts >100 researchers and is part of the department of Mechanical Engineering of KU Leuven. The research group has a long track record of combining excellent fundamental research with industrially relevant applications, leading to dissemination in both highly ranked academic journals as well as on industrial for a. More information regarding the research group can be found on the website. 


If yourecognize yourself in the description below, then you have the profile thatfits the PhD position and research group:

  • Ihave a MSc degree in engineering, physics or mathematics and performed aboveaverage in comparison to my peers.
  • Iam proficient in written and spoken English.
  • Duringmy courses or prior professional activities, I gathered basic experience with physics-basedmodelling and optimization, and/or I have a profound interest in these topics.
  • Iperform research in a structured and scientifically sound manner. I read technicalarticles, understand the nuances between different theories, and implement andimprove methodologies myself.
  • Basedon interactions with my supervisors and colleagues, I set up and update a planof approach to work towards my research goal. I work with independence tofollow my plan, and indicate timely when adaptations to the plan or goal arerequired.
  • Infrequent reporting, varying between weekly to monthly, I show the results thatI have obtained and I give well-founded interpretations of those results.
  • Ifeel comfortable as a team member and I am eager to share my results to inspireand be inspired by my colleagues.
  • Ivalue being part of a large research group which is well connected to themachine and transportation industry and I am eager to learn how academicresearch can be linked to industrial innovation roadmaps.


  • Aremuneration package competitive with industry standard in Belgium, a countrywith a high quality of life and excellent health care system.
  • Anopportunity to pursue a PhD in Mechanical Engineering in a stimulating andambitious research environment with ample exposure to industry.
  • Theoccasion to develop yourself in a scientific and/or industrial direction.Besides opportunities offered by the research group, further doctoral trainingfor PhD candidates is offered by the KU Leuven Arenberg Doctoral School (moreinfo on the website).
  • Astay in a vibrant environment at the heart of Europe. The university is locatedin Leuven, close to Brussels (25km) and Brussels International Airport. Thisstrategic positioning and the strong presence of the university, internationalresearch centers, and industry, lead to a safe town with high quality of life,welcome to non-Dutch speaking people and with ample opportunities for socialand sport activities. More info can be found on the website.


To apply for this position, please usethe application tool. Enclose your full cv, motivationletter, and a full list of credits of BSc and MSc grades. If available, add a proof of English proficiency, one or two reference letters, and an English version of a MSc or PhD thesis, or of a recentpublication or assignment. For more information, contact andmention the PhD title in the subject.

You can apply for this job no later than November 30, 2023 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: November 30, 2023
  • Tags: Ingenieurswetenschappen
  • Download: file

In your application, please refer to