PhD:Analytical & Programming Efficiency in Geotechnical Engineering Applications

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven


September 4, 2022


PhD:Analytical & Programming Efficiency in Geotechnical Engineering


(ref. BAP-2022-511)

Last modification : Thursday, August 4, 2022

Within the Civil Engineering Department, the Hydraulics & Geotechnics Section (Campus Bruges, Faculty of Engineering Technology) and the Structural Mechanics Section (Campus Arenberg, Faculty of Engineering Technology) are currently seeking to recruit a highly enthusiastic and motivated person to pursue full-time doctoral studies in the field of dynamic Soil-Structure- Interaction. The sections are already collaborating in research projects including foundations for offshore wind turbines and floating energy converters, pile driving and installation techniques by means of theoretical developments and experimental approaches. Regarding the later, both sections are part of a collaborative national research project which aims to establish a testing site for pile foundations in Belgium. More information on both sections can be found on the websites: https: // geotechnical and https: //


This project aims toproduce software tools for novel solutions for a range of complex dynamicSoil-Structure-Interaction (SSI) problems, by developing a step-change in theway software for SSI is implemented. The practicing geotechnical community usestypically commercial software which can be computationally demanding. Dependingon the expertise of the users and the level of complexity of the problem, suchsimulations can fuse uncertainty in the design and cause schedule delays, whenthe design team tries to troubleshoot heavy simulations. On the other hand,simplistic methods fail to capture dynamic effects which govern the response ofcomplex foundations. Open source advanced models which are translated byresearch groups into software, have experienced limited integration intoengineering practice: mainly due to not well-documented software and a lack ofprotocol of testing code. Beyond the merit of deriving elegant and insightfulsemi-closed-form solutions, this doctoral projects targets promoting a criticalattitude towards software development and will contribute to the establishmentof a culture for code verification in SSI to generate software which canreplicate and reproduce results. Further, depending on the performance and themotivation of the doctoral student, the utilization of the proposed analyticalsolutions can be investigated to form suitable training data sets for PhysicsInformed Neural Networks (PINNs).

The project is incollaboration with the Computer Science Department at KU Leuven and theStructural Mechanics Section, Civil Engineering, and will be overseen by anAdvisory Board (AB) drawn from industry which will monitor the project as itdevelops, provide advice and help make decisions. The AB consists of aninternational group of experts in dynamics and soil-structure- interactionapplications treated in this project, with expertise on geotechnical design,offshore wind applications and software development, namely: LANGAN (US), DEME(BE), JAN DE NUL (BE), HAEDES (BE), OMEK (GR), DEEP EXCAVATION (US).


To apply for this position please follow the online application tool and make sure you submit the following documents ( in a single pdf ):

(1) a motivation letter (max 1 A4 page addressing your strengths and qualifications relative to the project)

(2) your complete academic CV (including clear and detailed information about education, current position and work experience - if any, employment gaps - if any, interests, extracurricular activities, stays abroad, projects which demonstrate your programming/software skills and degree of experience)

(3) a list of publications (please do not include pdfs of the publications)

(4) copies of(translated in English) diplomas (BSc and MSc degrees)

(5) detailed(translated in English) transcript of records (BSc and MSc degrees). In case you have not finished your masters degree yet, please do provide available credits and scores and a list of courses you are taking next semester.

(6) an English summary of your master thesis

(7) proof of proficiency in English (TOEFL, IETLS, C1 Advanced (CAE) or the C2 Proficiency(CPE). We request a TOEFL iBT total score of 94 or an IELTS overall band score of 7.0 with no band scores below 6.5.

(8) contact details of three references who can provide a recommendation letter upon request (please do not include letters)

Selected candidates will be invited for an online interview. Screening of applications will start after the deadline for submitting applications. Shortlisting and final selection of the PhD student are based on scientific background, merit and potential, with due consideration given to gender equality and minority rights. The scientific merit of the candidates not only considers course grades, but also evidence of team work, interdisciplinary knowledge, creativity, independent working, transferable skills, and public engagement.

The deadline of applications might be extended in case applications do not meet the requirements of the position.


We offer a collaborative and internationally oriented research environment at one of the leading universities in the world (top100 university worldwide). Founded in 1425, KU Leuven has been a center of learning for almost six centuries and today, it is Belgium's highest-ranked university as well as one of the oldest and most renowned universities in Europe. KU Leuven offers a truly international experience, high-quality education, world-class research, and cutting-edge innovation (tops four years in a row Reuters ranking of Europe's most innovative universities). A fully funded PhD scholarship of approximately 2,000 euro per month (net income, depending on experience and marital status) is provided. The successful candidate will be encouraged to present their research at international conferences and national events and can benefit from our strong international research and industrial network, also actively involved in this project. KU Leuven Campus Bruges is a new campus located in Bruges, a magnificent medieval city in West Flanders, which amongthe most visited tourist destinations in Europe and in the proximity of a network of companies. A new soil mechanics laboratory is currently established on campus, covering educational and research needs. In the framework of this project, direct knowledge transfer to industry will be achieved through secondments of the PhD student to the industrial partners involved in the project. The successful candidate is expected to take up the position as soon as possible.


For more information please contact Prof. dr. ir. Georgios Anogiatis (known as George Anoyatis, https: //, tel.: +32 50 66 49 78, mail: or Prof. dr. ir. Stijn Fran├žois, tel.: +32 16 37 35 83, mail:

The deadline of applications might be extended in case applications do not meet the requirements of the position.

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