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Home > Job vacancies



Last updated: 4 October 2021

NEW : PhD vacancy for 2022


Clearly mention in all your communication the number of the vacancy you are applying for !


Where ?

All vacancies are available in the "Mechanics of Materials and Structures" research group (UGent-MMS) at Ghent University.
Ghent University is a large university in Belgium, counting about 45,000 students. Ghent University consistently ranks among the best 100 universities in the world. In 2019, it was ranked, globally, 66th by the Academic Ranking of World Universities or Shanghai ranking (http://www.shanghairanking.com/World-University-Rankings/Ghent-University.html). More information about the UGent rankings can be found here.

The research group UGent-MMS counts 3 professors and about 30 researchers. More information can be found in the slideshow of the research group. The offices and laboratories of this group are situated in the south of Ghent (Technologiepark-Zwijnaarde 46, 9052 Zwijnaarde).

Duration ?

All vacancies are full-time job positions. For the duration, see below.

Job description ?



  • Vacancy 1: PhD vacancy (4 years) on computational mechanics of thick adhesive joints in large wind turbine blades

    Over the last years, UGent-MMS has developed the stand-alone BladeMesher software for generating finite element models of large wind turbine blades. The software reads in the material data and airfoil data of the wind turbine blade, and automatically constructs the geometry and finite element mesh for the blade. In a next step, the nodal and element information of the finite element mesh is written out to an input file for a commercial finite element solver (Abaqus in this case). As such, all features of a state-of-the-art finite element solver can be used to simulate the mechanical behaviour of the composite blade.
    The concept of the BladeMesher software is described in the journal paper "Peeters, M., Santo, G., Degroote, J. and Van Paepegem, W. (2018). High-fidelity finite element models of composite wind turbine blades with shell and solid elements. Composite Structures, 200, 521-531" (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compstruct.2018.05.091).
    The BladeMesher software is programmed in the Python language and counts more than 30,000 lines of code.

    In this project, the BladeMesher software is further developed to include additional features for detailed modelling of adhesive joints (with cohesive elements). Further the computational mechanics of thick adhesive joints will be studied by finite element modelling. The properties of the bulk adhesive and interaction with the composite substrates will be included in the FEM models.
    The project is funded by FWO-Vlaanderen and is a collaboration between Ghent University, Free University of Brussels (VUB) and EPFL (Lausanne, Switzerland). The PhD student at Ghent University will be closely collaborating with two other PhD students at VUB and EPFL.
    The PhD study at Ghent University is purely numerical, while the experimental work will be done at the two other universities.

    Only candidates with a Master degree should apply. The candidate should have a strong interest in software development and finite element modelling. The candidate should have strong programming skills and computational mechanics background.

    Contact person ?

    The responsible person at Ghent University is Prof. Wim VAN PAEPEGEM. He has 20 years of experience in mechanics of composites and finite element simulations. More information on the achievements of the research group can be found on http://www.composites.ugent.be/.

    Who do we look for ?

    • you are interested in research and have obtained a Master and/or PhD degree,
    • you are interested to interact and collaborate closely with the industrial partners during the research period,
    • you have an education in Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Computational Mechanics, or similar,
    • you are familiar with mechanics of materials and experimental or computational techniques (depending on the specific vacancy requirement mentioned above),
    • mastering the Dutch language is not a prerequisite, but a good knowledge of English writing and speaking is absolutely required.

    What do we offer ?

    • you will be working in a dynamic environment. Our group has expanded quite fast the last few years and currently, 16 postdoc's and 15 PhD students are working in our group. Besides, 18 PhD students have successfully obtained their PhD degree in the last five years,
    • we have extensive experimental and numerical facilities. You will have access to several Linux workstations and a high performance computing cluster to run finite element simulations on 2000+ cores,
    • we have good contacts with the regional composite and additive manufacturing industry and regional universities, so you will come into contact with industrial applications of composites and related research in other universities,
    • you will get the chance to attend international conferences (e.g. ECCM, ICCM,...) and to present papers on these conferences. For those who are interested, an international exchange with another university is possible. As publications are increasingly important (also for your career afterwards), you are encouraged to publish your results not only on international conferences, but also in peer-reviewed international journals,
    • you will have a personal laptop and a private workspace. All PhD students and staff have their office in the same wing of the building. The laboratories are separate in another wing of the same building,
    • if you are just graduated (junior PhD student), your net income is about 2150 EUR per month. That is the amount of money that is deposited on your bank account every month (after taxes). If you have a dependent wife/husband and/or children, the salary is raised. Also seniority can be taken into account if you can show former relevant experience. The salary for postdoctoral researchers starts at 2450 EUR net income per month (after taxes).
    • the cost for the PhD study itself is very limited. Our education system is very different from for example the system in the United Kingdom. When you start your PhD study, you pay a once-only tuition fee of ca. 1000 EUR, and the rest of your study is free of charge,
    • the university offers compensations for public transport (train) and bicycle. The work location can be reached easily by public transport (train and tram/bus),
    • a hospitalization insurance policy can be concluded,
    • there are a lot of sport accommodations and other benefits (reductions on computer purchase, internet connection, fitness,...) for university personnel,
    • there are specific organizations for the international student community in Gent. There are ISAG (International Students Association Ghent) and ESN (European Students Network). They are quite active in organizing all sorts of events (Student Unions and Societies for international students).
      Recently, a "China platform" and "India platform" have been founded for the benefit of Chinese and Indian students at Ghent University (see China platform and India Platform).

    How to apply ?

    • you write a detailed Curriculum Vitae in Dutch or English, containing:
      • your personal details (name, address, date of birth, nationality,...)
      • your education, subject of master thesis and degrees
      • transcripts of records of Bachelor and Master degree
      • your work experience (previous jobs)
      • additional skills (finite element software, programming languages, communication skills, ...)
      • mastered languages (Dutch, English, French)
      • references (previous projects in the domain, published papers,...)

    • you send the C.V. by post or e-mail to the following person:
      Prof. Wim VAN PAEPEGEM
      Ghent University
      Mechanics of Materials and Structures
      Technologiepark-Zwijnaarde 46
      9052 Zwijnaarde
      Belgium
      Tel.: +32-(0)9-331.04.32
      Fax: +32-(0)9-264.58.33
      E-mail: Wim.VanPaepegem@UGent.be

    Additional information ?

    • you can freely download our research brochure. This PDF-document contains a lot of pictures and impressions of our research activities. You can find it on the webpage http://www.composites.ugent.be/slideshow/Slideshow.pdf
    • you can contact Prof. Wim VAN PAEPEGEM for any additional information, either by phone or e-mail or a personal appointment.