PhD Student

Last application date
Jun 30, 2024 00:00
TW14 - Department of Structural Engineering and Building Materials
Limited duration
MSc in Structural or Civil Engineering (or another MSc leading to sufficient knowledge on the topics of relevance)
Occupancy rate
Vacancy type
Research staff

Job description

Position for PhD Researcher – Form finding of 3D printed compression dominant structural geometries

The Department of Structural Engineering and Building Materials of the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, at Ghent University is currently looking for a PhD Researcher on the following granted innovation project:

CARBCOMN: CARBon-negative COMpression dominant structures for decarbonized and deconstructable CONcrete buildings

CARBCOMN addresses a disruptive innovation in zero-carbon concrete load-bearing structures (combination of columns, beams, slabs or walls) by setting forth a new digital design paradigm that is fully compatible with concrete that uses CO2 as raw material and is carbon-negative. Digital methodologies are exploited and developed to realise an innovative carbon-neutral construction system implementing structural geometries that are compression dominant, optimise the CO2 sequestration capability and make use of demountable discrete blocks combined with system redundancy. The latter will be assisted by the combined use of funicular shapes and post-tensioning with shape memory alloys. To handle the complex geometries in combination with a carbon-negative concrete-like material, an innovative digital pipeline is developed that incorporates for example computed tomography, topology optimization and 3D construction. Using CO2 sequestration to harden the concrete-like material for widely used load bearing structures will reduce embodied greenhouse gas emissions in an unprecedented way. The material design, incorporating recycled materials and by-products derived from other industrial processes (e.g. slags and ashes) will equally reduce raw material usage. The intrinsic durability properties by introducing a system that is not susceptible to rebar corrosion and is deconstructable, will achieve both long service life and circularity, to further reduce the environmental impact of the built environment. The overall superiority of the proposed system with respect to the current state of practice will be demonstrated through a full life cycle analysis. Throughout the CARBCOMN project, compliance with relevant standards of building operational performance will be established, and designers, architects, engineers will be enabled to use the novel design paradigm for inspiring buildings.
Within the CARBCOMN project, this PhD researcher will be mainly involved in employment of computational methods to form find compression dominant structural geometries; in definition and design of a manufacturing procedure to optimize topology, shape and size of the blocks and in structural testing of discrete blocks and assemblages. Moreover, this PhD student will be involved in the print path design to realize the construction blocks through extrusion-based 3D printing which will also include digital post-treatment of the joints and assembly of the blocks. Finally, this PhD student will integrate all the above in building designs and compare the performance of the system to traditional technological solutions.

The Magnel-Vandepitte Laboratory at the Department of Structural Engineering and Building Materials of Ghent University is the largest Belgian research center in the field of concrete technology and concrete structures and has a vast and widely-spread international recognition. The research areas focus on different aspects of concrete structures, going from fundamental material research on microscopic and sub-microscopic scale to structural behaviour and structural reliability of concrete structures on large scale. The Magnel-Vandepitte Laboratory disposes of extensive experimental testing facilities and infrastructures, among which the large strong floor for executing load tests on large-scale elements is a unique instrument.


  • The CARBCOMN project is an EC funded HORIZON Pathfinder project. This European project will be performed in collaboration with academic and industrial project partners spread over Europe (Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Greece, Austria).
  • The CARBCOMN project will start on 1 October 2024 and will last for 48 months.
  • The candidate is offered an appointment for 4 (1 + 3) years in a high-level international research team at Ghent University. The candidate will have the possibility to attend international conferences, follow specialized courses and to develop a national and international scientific and industrial network.
  • 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).

Job profile

Applicants should have a MSc in Structural or Civil Engineering (or another MSc leading to sufficient knowledge on the topics of relevance), an independent and well-organized working style, well-developed social skills directed towards working in an interdisciplinary team, strong motivation to succeed in scientific research, excellent presentation and scientific writing skills and excellent English language skills (verbally and written). In addition, applicants are expected to actively contribute to the deliverables of the CARBCOMN project and to be involved in services to industry and educational activities within the Department. Experience with 3D printing of concrete, topology optimization or structural testing and knowledge of programming languages (C++, Python, Matlab,…) to develop novel computational tools is an added value.

How to apply

Applications must contain the following documents:

  • a personal (motivation) letter and curriculum vitae,
  • a copy of degree certificates and associated certificates,
  • a transcript of records of the bachelor and master curriculum,
  • a copy of degree projects and any previous publications,
  • a proof of English language skills,
  • two recommendation letters (or the names and email addresses of two references).

The documents should be sent before 30 June 2024 to with in the title of the mail ‘PhD Researcher – Form finding of 3D printed compression dominant structural geometries’.

As Ghent University maintains an equal opportunities and diversity policy, everyone is encouraged to apply for this position.


For more information about this vacancy, please contact Prof. Kim Van Tittelboom (, +32(0)9/264 55 40).