PhD Student

Last application date
Jun 30, 2024 23:30
TW08 - Department of Electromechanical, Systems and Metal Engineering
Limited duration
Master degree (or equivalent) in mechanical engineering or civil engineering
Occupancy rate
Vacancy type
Research staff

Job description

The research group Materials Science and Technology-DyMaLab is looking for a PhD researcher to contribute to ongoing research on advanced materials used by the automotive and aeronautical industry. These materials include advanced high strength steels, lightweight alloys, polymer composites, nanocomposites, etc. which might be prone to impact or, more generally, high speed deformation processes. Main aim of the PhD is to obtain an enhanced understanding of the impact-dynamic mechanical properties of materials, including the microstructural factors lying at the origin of the observed behaviour. Understanding these properties will result in a better prediction of high speed forming processes, the crashworthiness of car components and impact incidents in the aeronautical industry.

MST-DyMaLab is a research group of the faculty of Engineering and Architecture of Ghent University, which is among the top 100 global universities according to several international rankings. To characterise the dynamic behaviour of materials, DyMaLab disposes of experimental facilities and measurement devices that are unique in the world (see The introduction of highly advanced measurement methodologies, including high-speed full-field deformation measurements, has opened a world of new opportunities. It even allows for a paradigm shift in material testing. Indeed, by combining large measurement datasets with numerical simulations, Material Testing 2.0 methodologies allow to completely discard traditional test restrictions and assumptions. In the framework of present PhD, we would like to further explore Materials Testing 2.0 for advanced automotive and aeronautical materials. The ultimate objective is to develop significantly more efficient testing methodologies, optimizing both time and human resources, to yield comprehensive data on material properties. The aim is to enhance the depth of information obtained through testing schemes, thereby advancing our understanding of material characteristics.

Therefore, a keen interest in mechanical material behaviour, material testing and measurement techniques, is a prerequisite for the position. Additionally, the use of advanced devices requires elementary knowledge of mechanics, optics, electronics, measurement procedures, data processing, etc. Experience with Labview, Matlab, Python scripting and finite element modelling is highly useful as these will be essential tools.

Next to scientific research, the researcher will also have the opportunity to develop his/her teaching skills by providing assistance to the courses provided by the MST group. We also expect the PhD researcher to contribute to the daily operation of the lab.

We offer an intellectually challenging, international work environment. Additionally, the PhD researcher will have access to high-quality training to develop hard and soft skills, opportunities to participate in international scientific conferences and to interact with international researchers.
More information on the cost of living in Ghent can be found on

Furthermore, Ghent is a charming medieval Flemish town, filled with canals, full of energy, history and culture.
The position is available from spring 2024 onwards. The actual starting data is flexible, but preferably not later than May 2024. However, students who graduate in July 2024 can apply.

Job profile

We are looking for an innovative researcher with a passion for science and a natural curiosity for exploring the intersection of experimental and numerical work in mechanical materials science. We are looking for someone whose childhood fascination for taking apart and tinkering with various gadgets has developed into a talent for creating mechanical tools, electronic gadgets and program code. If you have a knack for turning a 'destructive attitude' into constructive ingenuity, and if you have chosen a career as an engineer driven by a deep interest in understanding how things work, you might be the bright mind we are looking for. Join us in pushing the boundaries of materials science and engineering innovation.

More specifically:

  • You have a master's degree (or equivalent) in mechanical engineering or civil engineering. Materials science, with a strong focus on the mechanical behaviour of materials, must have been an important part of your curriculum.
  • You have a keen interest in materials, including how their properties can be identified and modelled.
  • You are familiar with materials testing and you do not fear experimental work, including the use of advanced measuring equipment such as high-speed cameras and microscopes.
  • You are familiar with mathematical packages such as Matlab, Python programming, and preferably also a finite element package.
  • You have an independent, problem-solving, organised and result-oriented attitude.
  • You have been a hard-working and dedicated student, proven by your study results.
  • You have the necessary social skills, flexibility and critical thinking ability to function in a multidisciplinary and international academic environment.
  • Good knowledge of English (reading, writing and speaking) is required.


  • We offer a full-time position as a doctoral fellow, consisting of an initial period of 12 months, which - after a positive evaluation, will be extended to a total maximum of 48 months.
  • The fellowship amount is 100% of the net salary of an AAP member in equal family circumstances. The individual fellowship amount is determined by the Department of Personnel and Organization based on family status and seniority. A grant that meets the conditions and criteria of the regulations for doctoral fellowships is considered free of personal income tax. Click here for more information about our salary scales
  • All Ghent University staff members enjoy a number of benefits, such as a wide range of training and education opportunities, 36 days of holiday leave (on an annual basis for a full-time job) supplemented by annual fixed bridge days, bicycle allowance and eco vouchers. Click here for a complete overview of all the staff benefits (in Dutch).

How to apply

Applications have to be sent in via email to Use ‘Vacancy: PhD Dynamic material testing’ as subject. The following documents should be attached: motivation letter (no more than 1 page), CV (no more than 3 pages) and copies of your bachelor and MSc degree. Please merge all documents into one PDF attachment.
Short-listed applicants will be informed at short notice and names of referees will be requested. The vacancy will remain open until the position is filled.