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The Coastal Engineering Research Group (CERG), Ghent University, Belgium

The Coastal Engineering Research Group (CERG) at the Department of Civil Engineering of Ghent University, Belgium, is offering two full-time positions for a PhD researcher on scour protection around monopiles, in Ghent (Belgium).


Offshore wind farms contribute significantly to contemporary renewable energy production. By installing these offshore structures, new technical design challenges arise, such as foundation optimisation. Offshore wind turbine foundation costs are 20 % of the total costs in case of a monopile. An important part of those costs is related to the foundation’s scour protection. Therefore, optimisations in the design of the scour protection are indispensable. Currently, a statically stable design approach is used (with no stone movements) but this results in large stones, which are difficult to place. New insights in the behaviour of scour protections could lead to a concept in which a prescribed movement of the stones would be allowed which would lead to a cheaper and easier to place structure.


The research will be carried out by using two experimental facilities (wave flume and wave tank) and a numerical wave flume in OpenFOAM. The experimental investigation will focus on the dynamic stability of the scour protection (damage initiation and evolution), by extending the parameter ranges (water depths, current and wave conditions) beyond known limits. In the wave tank, model effects, scale effects and 3D effects will be investigated. The numerical investigation, using the same scale model set-up, will provide additional data and insights, achieving an integrated research approach on the governing processes. A novel scale distortion methodology, remediating for the observed scale effects, will be developed.

The first PhD researcher will focus on the experimental research, while the second PhD researcher will focus on the numerical research. However, both researchers will collaborate closely in order to integrate and strengthen the research output. In applying for a position, please clearly indicate your preference regarding the experimental or numerical research.


-     Candidates should be wellę\qualified academically to masters level. The project will require a mix of skills, including numerical modelling, programming and simulation skills, as well as the performance and participation in experimental modelling in a wave flume/basin;

–      Applicants with background in the areas of civil or mechanical engineering, fluid mechanics, hydrodynamics, offshore engineering, or applied mathematics are suitable;

–      Candidates must have excellent written and oral communication skills;

–      Candidates must be proficient in English;

–      Candidates must be flexible, responsible and team workers;

–      Prior experience (master thesis, internship) related to scour protection is recommended.

–      The PhD candidate focusing on experimental research will demonstrate:

o   prior experience in data analysis and related statistics using appropriate software tools (e.g. Matlab, Python, SPSS);

o   prior knowledge of specific instrumentation in an experimental wave flume/basin;

o   please list up your prior experience in experimental modelling in a wave flume/basin.

–      The PhD candidate focusing on numerical research will demonstrate:

o   good knowledge in numerical programming (e.g. FORTRAN, Matlab, C/C++, OpenFOAM);

o   prior experience with coastal hydrodynamics and/or morphology/sediment transport processes;

o   please list up your prior experience with modeling using OpenFOAM or other CFD package. 

Starting date for the positions: as soon as possible.

Duration of the contract: start of 1 year, with yearly extension to maximum 4 years, after yearly evaluation.

The salary and appointment terms are consistent with the general rules at Ghent University.

Working place will be CERG at Ghent University (Technologiepark 904, 9052 Zwijnaarde, Belgium).

Informal inquiries about the position can be made to Prof. Peter TROCH (Peter.Troch@UGent.be).

More detailed information on working at UGent is available on http://www.ugent.be/en/work. The

CERG website is available on http://www.ugent.be/ea/civil-engineering/en/research/coastal-bridges-roads/coastal-engineering

To apply, please send your full CV with a cover letter indicating the reference number of the vacancy (PER30/2067), and explaining your interest in this vacancy and highlighting any previous experience of  coastal/ocean engineering and/or experimental/numerical modelling, via Ellen.Vyncke@UGent.be BEFORE 1 October 2016.

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