Post-Doctoral Researcher Nonlinear Data-Driven Models of Thermal-Fluid Systems

Vrije Universiteit Brussel



Company Profile

For almost 50 years, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel has stood for freedom, equality and connectedness. These values are strongly present on our campuses, in our students as well as our staff. At the VUB, you’ll find a diverse collection of personalities: pure innovators, but especially people who are 100% their authentic selves. With about 3,500 employees, we are the largest Flemish-speaking employer in Brussels, an international city with which we are all too happy to be affiliated and around which our four campuses are located.

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Job Description
Staff category           Scientific and Pedagogic Personnel
Specific designation           Postdoctoral scientific researcher
 Scope of mandate           1 FTE
Faculty           Faculty of Engineering
Department           Industrial engineering sciences



Perform scientific research in the framework of the continuation and valorisation of the doctoral work. More concretely:

The FLOW research group is a young, dynamic group working in the fields of thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and system identification.

FLOW is looking for candidates for a post-doctoral research position in the context of its Strategic Research Programme (SRP) project. The goal of this project is to develop nonlinear data-driven models of thermal-fluid systems. More specifically, the objective is to expand state-of-the-art system identification techniques specifically to construct models of nonlinear fluid and thermal systems. Examples include an oscillating wing in a wind tunnel and a full-scale industrial power plant involving chemical and thermodynamic processes.

The candidate will first need to become proficient in the construction of nonlinear state space models using the tools and techniques that were recently developed within the group and in the wider system identification (SI) community. Throughout the duration of the project, the candidate will also need to closely follow up on new developments in the SI community.

The main objectives for the candidate will be to 1) use these techniques to model different nonlinear fluid-thermal systems that are currently under study in our group (for which experimental data or analytical or numerical models are available), 2) to further improve the nonlinear modelling techniques based on gained insights, and 3) to identify other systems where the use of these techniques might be relevant. The candidate will intensively collaborate extensively with other researchers in our group: they will provide the candidate with data from thermal-fluid experiments or simulations and join in the writing of publications.

Furthermore, the candidate will be expected to apply for external funding, to write, submit, and follow up on articles, actively participate in scientific conferences, assist in the supervision of PhD students, and follow up on industrial contacts.


Job Profile

The candidate holds a PhD in Engineering Sciences (or similar) degree or diploma. 

The FLOW research group is looking for a candidate with experience in the data-driven modelling of complex systems, preferably from within the field of system identification. 

The candidate holds a PhD in Engineering Sciences (or similar).

The ideal candidate has excellent scientific qualifications in the broad field of nonlinear system identification, with a high-quality track record in research. Extensive experience in data-driven modelling of complex systems is required. Knowledge of fluid mechanics or thermodynamics is helpful, but not mandatory. Excellent scientific programming and communication skills are a prerequisite, as is fluency in English. The candidate is team-oriented, pro-active, and highly motivated.

The candidate is expected to endorse the educational vision of the university (full text available on the university website). 

The following competences will be taken into account during the selection process (non-exhaustive list):

  • Academic competences:
    • A solid scientific dossier;
    • Methodological skills;
    • Skills for the interpretation of data;
    • Language knowledge;
    • Possible other requirements.
  • Management competences:
    • Ability to plan, organise and report;
    • Project management, budgeting and use of resources;
    • Communication skills;  
    • Pedagogic skills, where relevant;
    • Independence, perseverance;
    • Drive to achieve goals and results;
    • Problem-solving abilities.


As an employee of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, you’ll work, every day, in a dynamic, diverse and multilingual environment. Our campuses are located in the middle of a green oasis at the edge of the capital city of Flanders, Belgium and Europe. That city centre, with all its opportunities and possibilities, is easily accessed by public transport in less than half an hour.

Depending on your experience and your academic merits, you’ll receive a salary in one of the grades that have been set by the government. Standard inclusions include hospitalisation insurance and the free use of public transport for your home–work commute. And if you prefer to bike to work? There’s compensation for that too. On both[VB1]  campuses, there are extensive sport facilities available to you and childcare facilities within walking distance.

For more information on what it’s like to work at the VUB, go to

Additional Information
Expected starting date              01/10/2019
Duration of contract              12 months (renewable)
Waiting period              Applications to be submitted no later than 18/08/2019
Contact person              Tim De Troyer
Contact via telephone              +32 478 25 61 69
Contact via e-mail     



Applications can only be made ONLINE 

Your application must include the following as a minimum:

  • A concise CV;
  • The academic dossier with all relevant elements;
  • A brief statement of reasons for the candidature, including an explanation of the expansion of future research;
  • Degrees and diplomas.

In your application, please refer to