PhD opportunity at Ghent University on Coastal Defense systems based on the principles of ‘Building with Nature’

Last application date
Apr 05, 2019 23:59
TW15 - Department of Civil engineering
Limited duration
MSc in the areas of Civil or Mechanical engineering, bio-engineering, fluid mechanics, hydrodynamics, offshore engineering or applied mathematics
Occupancy rate
Vacancy Type
Research staff

Job description


The PhD topic will focus on the study of the interaction between waves and currents and flexible bodies, such as seagrass plants, to develop Coastal Defense systems based on the principles of ‘Building with Nature’. Sustainable coastal protection and mitigation of flooding and erosion hazards using coastal defense structures with low environmental impact is of great importance in the adaptation process towards global climate change and sea-level rise. Coastal ecosystems like salt marsh vegetation and seagrass meadows can play an important role in dissipating energy from waves and currents, while at the same time they provide high ecological and economical values. Within this research, pioneering large-scale 3D experiments will be executed in a state-of-the-art new wave tank in Belgium with seagrass, establishing a database for numerical and theoretical validation and for fundamental understanding of the waves-current-vegetation interaction. A CFD-based solver and an analytical model dealing with waves-current-vegetation interaction will be developed.


The main goal of the PhD candidate is to conduct state-of-the-art research and collaborate with international partners from the academia and the industry within the research group activities. The PhD candidate will communicate results at national and international conferences and symposia, and will publish results in scientific journals. The PhD candidate will also contribute to supporting general teaching and research activities within the research group, for instance for courses on Coastal Engineering.


The minimum net yearly salary for a PhD Fellowship starts from € 25.086,24 and is tax free (minimum gross yearly salary € 29.174,34).

The duration of the contract (full-time) will be initially for 12 months, extendable. A PhD lasts usually 4 years at Ghent University.

For benefits and facilities that PhD students at Ghent University can enjoy please visit:

Profile of the candidate

  • Candidates with background in the areas of civil or mechanical engineering, bio-engineering, fluid mechanics, hydrodynamics, offshore engineering, or applied mathematics are suitable;
  • It is an asset if the candidates have a mix of skills, including numerical modelling and programming, as well as the performance and participation in experimental modelling in a wave flume/basin;
  • Good communication and writing skills in English is an asset.
  • Candidates that are flexible, responsible and team workers are encouraged to apply;
  • It is certainly a plus point if the PhD candidate has prior experience with:
    • data analysis and related statistics using appropriate software tools (e.g. Matlab, Python, SPSS);
    • specific instrumentation in an experimental wave flume/basin;
    • numerical programming (e.g. Matlab, C/C++, OpenFOAM or other CFD package);
    • coastal hydrodynamics and/or ecology processes related to seagrass;

Moreover, the candidate is open-minded, is not afraid of a challenge and is interested in research with environmental, ecological and societal relevance. He/she is communicative, able to think dynamically and to solve problems independently, and to network with international partners from the academia and the industry.

The daily working location will be at the GreenBridge campus of Ghent University in Ostend (Belgium).

How to apply

To apply, please send your full CV with a cover letter (motivation), a copy of your degree(s), transcript of grades and a scanned copy of your National Identity Document or Passport to Mrs. Ellen Vyncke (e), BY 05 April 2019. For any additional queries/questions do not hesitate to use these e-mail addresses.