PhD Scholarship 'Data-driven modelling in fluid mechanics'
1 - Working at the VUB
For already 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 and 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 connected, and around which our four
campuses are located.
Our education and research are grounded in the principles of free research
with an eye on human progress. We disapprove of every purely authoritative
argument and guarantee the free formation of judgement that is necessary for
this basic principle to be incorporated in the community.
The VUB is autonomous and managed democratically. As such, we guarantee
fundamental freedoms within our university, as well as the right of the
university community to be involved in making and checking university policy.
The mission of the university includes:
the development, the transfer and the application of high-standing
academic education and scientific research, free from any prejudice;
community integration of this in a spirit of social compassion;
critical development of everyone in light of the responsibilities borne in
2 - Position description
The Faculteit Ingenieurswetenschappen , Department Industriële
ingenieurswetenschappen , is looking for a PhD-student with a doctoral
More concretely your work package, for the preparation of a doctorate,
You'll become a member of the FLOW research group, a young, dynamic group
working in the fields of thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and data-driven
At FLOW, we have a unique expertise in both physical and data-driven
modelling of thermal-fluid systems. In this project, the focus will be on
the data-driven modelling of fluid flows. Many applications in engineering
rely on mathematical models for the design, optimisation, control, and
monitoring of systems and subsystems. When high-fidelity models are
required, numerical (CFD) models are often the first choice. When simple
(low-order) models are needed, then either the CFD models are reduced,
or empirical models are used that are typically fine-tuned using
experimental data. However, such empirical models are often overly simple
and therefore cannot be used in many cases (often when unsteadiness,
nonlinearity, and/or turbulence play a major role). Recent advances in
the nonlinear system identification and machine learning communities have
resulted in the development of a number of tools that show great potential
for the modelling of fluid flows. In particular, our group has pioneered
the use of nonlinear data-driven state space models for fluid-dynamics
applications, with proof-of-concepts such as oscillating cylinders and
pitching aerofoils. In this project, the objective is to compare data-
driven modelling techniques (from system identification and machine
learning) to achieve improved design and control of fluid-dynamics
You will first need to become proficient in the construction of reduced-
order and data-driven models;
Throughout the project, you will also need to follow up recent advances in
Your research will entail:
the development of data-driven models using system identification and machine learning techniques, starting from CFD data or experimental data available in the research group;
the comparison of different modelling approaches;
the reduction of data-driven models, using techniques developed in our group, with the aim of making the models more compact and interpretable;
Furthermore, you will be expected to apply for external funding, to write,
submit, and follow up on articles, and actively participate in scientific
You will be expected to assist in the teaching of lab work and exercise
sessions of undergraduate courses in mechanical engineering, as well as
the supervision of undergraduate student projects;
For this function, our Brussels Humanities, Sciences & Engineering Campus
(Elsene) will serve as your home base.
3 - Profile
What do we expect from you?
You must hold a master's degree in Engineering, or in Physics, or in Applied
mathematics, or an equivalent master's degree;
Preferably, you have experience with the numerical modelling of fluid flow
(CFD or mesoscale modelling);
Honours are recommended;
Good knowledge of English is required;
You have not performed any works in the execution of a mandate as an
assistant, paid from operating resources, over a total (cumulated)
period of more than 12 months.
4 - Offer
Are you going to be our new colleague?
You'll be offered a full-time PhD-scholarship , for 12 months
(extendable up to max. 48 months, on condition of the positive evaluation of
the PhD activities), with planned starting date 01/10/2021.
You'll receive a grant linked to one of the scales set by the government.
IMPORTANT: The effective result of the doctorate scholarship is subject to
the condition precedent of your enrolment as a doctorate student at the
At the VUB, you're guaranteed an open, involved and diverse workplace where
you are offered opportunities to (further) build on your career.
As well as this, you'll enjoy various benefits:
Full reimbursement for your home-work commute with public transport
according to VUB-policy, or compensation if you come by bike;
Cost-free hospitalisation insurance ;
The space to form your job content and continuously learn via VUB LRN;
Excellent facilities for sport and exercise ;
Delicious meals at attractive prices in our campus restaurants ;
An open, family-friendly work environment where attention is paid to work-
life balance, and exceptional holiday arrangements with 35 days of
leave (based on a fulltime contract).
5 - Interested?
Is this the job you've been dreaming of?
Send us ONLINE and at latest on 09/08/2021 your CV, letter of
motivation and the highest degree you've attained (not applicable for VUB
Do you have questions about the job content? Contact Prof. dr. ing. Tim De
Troyer of Prof. dr. Mark Runacres at email@example.com (voor 15/07/2021)
of firstname.lastname@example.org (na 15/7/2021) or on +32 (0)478 25 61 69 (voor
15/07/2021) of +32 (0)476 41 24 63 (na 15/07/2021).
Would you like to know what it's like to work at the VUB? Go to
www. vub.ac.be/vacatures and find all there is to know about our
campuses, benefits, strategic goals and your future colleagues.