PhD scholarship for Masters of Science in Engineering with maritime specialisation (Naval Architecture, Maritime Technology, Ocean or Coastal Engineering)

Last application date
Feb 28, 2019 17:00
TW15 - Department of Civil engineering
Limited duration
Master of Science in Engineering: naval architecture, maritime engineering, ocean engineering, coastal 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, more recently, 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 Research (FHR, 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.

In the framework of a new fundamental scientific research project, entitled “Development of a CFD tool and associated experimental validation techniques for fluid mud bottoms disturbed by moving objects”, funded by the Fund for Scientific Research, Flanders (FWO, grant number G0D5319), we are offering a full-time PhD position for maximally 4 years (contract to be renewed annually after evaluation). The project is coordinated by prof. Guillaume Delefortrie from the Maritime Technology Division and is executed in cooperation with prof. Erik Toorman from the Hydraulics Division of the KU Leuven University and is supported logistically by Flanders Hydraulics Research (FHR) in Antwerp in the framework of their Nautical Bottom Research.

The main task will be the validation of a versatile CFD model, currently being developed by the KU Leuven, in OpenFOAM ( able to simulate the interaction between various moving objects (varying from simple shapes to a ship’s hull) with a fluid mud layer on the bottom of a channel and the (numerical) investigation of the interaction between ships and mud layers.

Besides the numerical work, the candidate will also be involved in the experimental work in collaboration with researchers from FHR, i.e. towing experiments, development of new measuring techniques for these and rheometry, all carried out at FHR in Antwerp.

Candidates should be holding a MSc degree in Engineering (or equivalent). Experience in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) or experimental fluid dynamics (EFD) is a strong asset, however, if this experience is not present, the candidate will have to follow appropriate courses from the doctoral school. Specific experience in the modelling of non-Newtonian flows, turbulence and/or multi-phase flows is an asset. 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 and in Antwerp (at FHR). More information can be provided by prof. dr. ir. Guillaume Delefortrie ()

Profile of the candidate

We are looking for a motivated and enthusiastic Master of Science in Engineering with maritime specialisation (Naval Architecture, Coastal 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. Involvement in experimental testing in a towing tank or flume is expected;
  • 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 are excluded.

How to apply

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