PhD Student

Last application date
Oct 15, 2023 00:00
TW15 - Department of Civil Engineering
Limited duration
Master of Science in Engineering: naval architecture, marine engineering, ocean engineering, or equivalent
Occupancy rate
Vacancy type
Research staff

Job description

The Maritime Technology Division ( is a research group within the Department of Civil Engineering of the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture of Ghent University. Their research is focussing on hydrodynamics of ships and other floating structures in general, and more particularly on the behaviour of ships in confined navigation areas. Additionally, the division is involved in research w.r.t. hydrodynamics of wave energy conversion and engineering aspects of aquaculture.
The behaviour of ships in restricted waters (access channels, canals, locks, harbour docks) is the major research topic of the Division. This research, covering the hydrodynamics of seagoing and inland vessels in navigation areas with restrictions in both depth and horizontal extent, is performed in close co-operation with Flanders Hydraulics (FH, Flemish Government, Antwerp) within the Knowledge Centre Manoeuvring in Shallow and Confined Water ( This research can be considered as a niche within the field of ship hydrodynamics, as ships are mostly designed for open, deep sea; as a result, most ship hydrodynamics research worldwide is mainly focused on deep water conditions. For this reason, the Knowledge Centre has gained international recognition as one of the leading research groups in ship behaviour in confined waters. Such conditions are of main concern for ships in access channels to ports, harbour areas, docks, locks, berths.

The teaching staff at Maritime Technology Division is at present responsible for the following courses:

The applicant will be responsible for the exercise part of the above courses. This involves:

  • Setting up practice classes and provide guidance to the students.
  • For some courses, the students need to deliver a project report, which will be graded by the applicant.
  • For some courses, the applicant will need to create and correct exercise examinations.

These tasks will take 40% on a full time equivalent.
The remaining 60% will be dedicated to performing CFD research in the field of ship hydrodynamics, with the goal to successfully defend a PhD thesis. The available topics of research will be decided in close conjunction with the supervisors, but examples are:

  • The scaling of shallow water resistance.
  • The study of ship drag in confined areas.
  • Simulation of hydrodynamical shapes in realistic mud layers.

The used software package is OpenFOAM (

Candidates should be holding an MSc degree in Engineering (or equivalent). Experience in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is a strong asset, however, if this experience is not present, the candidate will have to follow appropriate courses from the doctoral school. Excellent marks during the Master Course will be considered during applications. Knowledge of Dutch is an asset, but not a formal requirement, as all courses are taught in English.

You will be supervised by the professors and post-doctoral researchers of the UGent Maritime Technology Division. Your working place will be located in Ghent.

We offer a contract as a PhD-student for an initial term of 1 year. The contract can be extended for additional 3 years subject to favorable evaluation of the previous term

More information can be provided by prof. dr. ir. Guillaume Delefortrie (

Job profile

  • We are looking for a motivated and enthusiastic Master of Science in Engineering with maritime specialisation (Naval Architecture, Marine Engineering, Ocean Engineering or equivalent), with the following skills and competences:
  • Candidates should be well‐qualified academically to masters level with maritime background. The project will require a mix of skills, including mathematical modelling, programming, simulation skills and practical engineering aspects.
  • Candidates must have excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Candidates must be flexible, responsible and team workers;
  • Candidates must be proficient in English. Knowledge of Dutch is convenient, but not a requirement;
  • Prior experience in data analysis and related statistics using appropriate software tools is considered as an advantage.
  • Candidates who already received a PhD scholarship (even a partial one) are excluded.
  • Candidates with a PhD title are excluded.

How to apply

Send your cv, academic records, proof of English proficiency, motivation letter and any other supporting material to