PhD: Modelling Adaptive Resilience of Air Transport Systems

Department/faculty: Aerospace Engineering
Level: Master degree
Working hours: 38 hours per week
Contract: 4 years
Salary: €2222 to €2840 per month gross

Aerospace Engineering

The faculty of Aerospace Engineering at Delft University of Technology is one of the world's largest faculties devoted entirely to aerospace engineering. In the Netherlands it is the only research and education institute directly related to the aerospace engineering sector. It covers the whole spectrum of aerospace engineering subjects. In aeronautics, the faculty covers subjects ranging from aerodynamics and flight propulsion to structures and materials and from control and simulation to air transport and operations. In astronautics, topics include astrodynamics, space missions and space systems engineering. The faculty has around 2,700 BSc and MSc students, 225 PhD candidates and 27 professors supported by scientific staff.
The faculty's mission is to be the best Aerospace Engineering faculty in the world, inspiring and educating students through modern education techniques and enabling staff to perform ambitious research of the highest quality for the future of aerospace. The working atmosphere at the faculty is friendly, open-minded and dedicated.

The mission of the Department of Control and Operations is to improve the safety and efficiency of operations in aerospace and to reduce their impact on the environment. The department comprises three sections: Control and Simulation, which focuses on the development of advanced automatic control systems, Air Transport and Operations, whose goal is to improve operational performance by optimising capacity, costs, environmental impact, and safety, and Aircraft Noise and Climate Effects, which focuses on reducing aircraft noise, emissions and the effects of aviation on climate change.

The Air Transport and Operations section is a vibrant and youthful group of 25-30 enthusiastic staff members and PhDs with 40 MSc students per year. ATO has three research aims: 1) to develop radical new ways to optimise aircraft operations for efficiency, safety, cost, and environmental impact; 2) to extend the analysis to an airline fleet and network level to include capacity and resilience; 3) to synthesise these to include operational safety at an airline and ATM level.

Job description

A vacancy for a PhD candidate is being offered in the project ‘Mathematical and computational modelling and analysis of adaptive resilience of complex air transport systems’.
As the complexity and interconnectedness of air transport systems rapidly increase with every passing year, their resilience to disruptions and their flexibility and adaptation to expected and unexpected events gain great importance. The goal of the project is to develop and validate new mathematical and computational methods to describe, measure, understand, and improve adaptive resilience of complex sociotechnical air transport systems. Adaptive resilience includes abilities to anticipate and recognise disruptive events and to re-organise the system to handle these events. Promising formal and computational methods and approaches to studying adaptive resilience include agent-based modelling and simulation, complex adaptive systems theory, stochastic modelling and optimisation, social simulations, and Big Data techniques.
The research will be done in connection with the EU Horizon2020 project SafeClouds, aiming at improving aviation safety and efficiency through state-of-the-art Big Data and AI techniques. The PhD project will be carried out in collaboration with the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (EUROCONTROL) and European airports.


The successful candidate has:
• A Master of Science degree in the area of aerospace engineering (air transport operations) or other modes of transport, artificial intelligence, computer science, or applied mathematics.
• Strong mathematical, analytical and programming skills.
• Interest in mathematical modelling.
• Knowledge of data analysis techniques.
• Excellent communication skills in spoken and written English and teamwork skills.
• Creativity, positive attitude, and perseverance.
• Knowledge of multi-agent systems is an asset.

Conditions of employment

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. An International Children’s Centre offers childcare and an international primary school. Dual Career Services offers support to accompanying partners. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.
As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment; an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor; and a Doctoral Education Programme aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills. Please visit for more information.

Information and application

For more information, please contact Dr. O.A. (Alexei) Sharpanskykh, phone:+31 (0)15-2781483, e-mail: To apply, please e-mail a detailed CV and letter of application by 15 July 2017 to V.M. van Bragt,
When applying, please refer to vacancy number LR17-18.

Enquiries from agencies are not appreciated.


Aerospace Engineering
Master degree
Working hours
4 years
€2222 to €2840 per month gross

Closing date
July 15, 2017
Vacancy nr.


For more information about this job, please contact O.A. (Alexei) Sharpanskykh, Assistant Professor.

T +31 (0)15-2781483

For more information about the application procedure, please contact V. M. van Bragt/Control & Operations.