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  3. Marie Skłodowska-Curie Early Stage Researcher PhD position: Aerodynamics of floating offshore wind turbines undergoing large motions

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Early Stage Researcher PhD position: Aerodynamics of floating offshore wind turbines undergoing large motions

STEP4WIND is a European Industrial Doctorate programme, granted under the H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Innovative Training Network initiative. The …

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Kluyverweg, Delft, Zuid-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 - 38 uur
€ 2325 - € 2972 per maand


STEP4WIND is a European Industrial Doctorate programme, granted under the H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Innovative Training Network initiative. The main objective is to address both technological and economical challenges related to the development of large floating offshore wind farms. Floating offshore wind turbines (FOWTs) could be a game changer to further decrease the cost of offshore wind energy and unlock new markets. Wind turbines placed on a floating support and moored to the seabed can harness energy in areas with much higher wind speeds, at a reduced installation cost. It also gives the opportunity to countries with deep water to enter the offshore wind industry. The project runs over 4 years and will deliver 10 PhD degrees, in joint supervision and training between the public and private sectors. The early-stage researchers (ESRs) will be part of a network supervised by 3 universities with a track-record in wind energy research and 5 companies leading the deployment of floating wind farms and heavily involved in policy-making bodies. A training programme and a mentoring scheme will equip the ESRs with key skills for their future career. Scientifically, STEP4WIND will develop floating-specific tools, methods and infrastructures to tackle the technological and economical challenges of FOWTs, from design to deployment, operation and scaling up. It will also deliver guidelines for large farm deployments, with a clear roadmap to commercialization.
Further information on the Innovation Training Network Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Novel design, production and operation approaches for floating wind farms (STEP4WIND) at www.step4wind.eu.

Abstract of research project
The aerodynamics of FOWTs is highly complex due to the fact that the floater motion contributes to the varying effective wind velocity seen by the rotor. Additionally, the rotor may operate in its own wake, in which the flow conditions are highly unsteady. The unsteady aerodynamics, and its consequences on design, are still far from being fully understood. There are some open questions regarding the comparison between experimental and numerical aerodynamics of a scaled FOWT under prescribed motion. Previous research has shown that the experimental thrust force exhibits a phase-shift compared to numerical results, when the turbine operates in its own wake. This was observed on a scaled-down turbine, re-designed to match the steady amplitude of the thrust force, which is a common procedure when experimentally testing FOWTs. This project will go a step further in understanding these phenomena under unsteady loading through the use of high fidelity models. Specifically, massively-parallel large-eddy simulations will be performed on the rotor aerodynamics subjected to floater motions. In Year 1, the numerical tools will be used to reproduce existing research results hence filling the need to compare existing results with other numerical codes. In Year 2, a rotor relevant to Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy will be considered with additional floater motions, possibly in a fully-coupled way. This will lead to new insights on the thrust variations under unsteady conditions for different environmental conditions. These findings on the unsteady aerodynamics of rotors undergoing large motions could be integrated in Siemens Gamesa’s design processes. In Year 3, new recommendations will be made for the model-scale testing of FOWTs. Finally, Year 4 will be dedicated to finishing the PhD thesis.

Expected results
The principal outputs of this doctoral activity are described as follows:
(1) A high-fidelity open-source model to simulate unsteady aerodynamics under large motions,
(2) new data in an open database, (3) recommendations for the model-scale testing of FOWT rotors.


Eligibility criteria
Candidates should have a MSc Degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic-level equivalent to a Master of Science (5 years minimum duration Bachelor + Master).

The successful candidate is required to have:
• Documented background in CFD modelling
• Documented background in aerodynamics analysis, preferably for wind turbines
• Documented background in data analysis and programming (e.g. Matlab, Python, Fortran, C)
• Ability to work in a project team and take responsibility for own research goals
• Practical skills are strongly preferred
• Fluency in communicating and reporting in English

In addition, the successful candidate should satisfy at the time of the recruitment the following mandatory characteristics:
• having not more than 4 years of equivalent research experience (i.e. working as researcher after obtaining your master’s degree);
• having not been awarded a title of PhD;
• having not resided or carried out her/his main activity in the Netherlands for more than 12 months in the last 3 years.

The enrolment is subject to academic approval and fulfilment of the requirements for admission to a doctoral program at TU Delft. The present PhD project will take advantage of collaboration with researchers at TU Delft and Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy.


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 www.tudelft.nl/phd for more information.

Salary and appointment terms
The selected candidate will be appointed on a temporary contract for 48 months, to be renewed annually. A contract of 30 months will be provided by TU Delft (The Netherlands) and a 18-month contract will be provided by Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (Denmark). During the stay in the Netherlands, a 2-month secondment will be spent at the Maritime Research Institute (MARIN). The salary will be in line with the funding schemes of MSCA action, in accordance respectively with Danish and Dutch rules and regulations within this regard, and Country specific requirements, as stated in the Grant Agreement and Guide for Applicants.

Monthly salary in Denmark (living allowance + mobility allowance) will be of 4.414,50 € + 600 € (gross amount), allocated following Danish specific contract conditions for MSCA candidates.
The monthly salary in The Netherlands will be in line with the CLA of the Dutch Universities. Additional payments will be made in accordance with the specific contract conditions for MSCA candidates.
Family allowance accounts for 500 €/month (gross amount), regardless of the Country issuing the working contract, and will be granted only upon specific conditions.

Additional information

For more information about this position, please contact Dr. Axelle Viré, e-mail: A.C.Vire@tudelft.nl.

 A Skype interview will be setup with the selected candidates to:
• Discuss about their CV, skills and experiences;
• Assess their communication skills in English and motivation;
• Discuss about the research/organizational topics.

Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their master's degree but cannot begin before having received it. Applications and enclosures received after the deadline will not be considered.
All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

The assessment of the applicants will be made jointly by Axelle Viré, Assistant Professor in Wind Energy at TU Delft, and Alex Loeven, Head of Rotor Performance – Offshore at Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy. More people from both TU Delft, Siemens Gamesa or MARIN might join the evaluation committee in due course.

During the 4 years of employment, the workplace will be TU Delft (The Netherlands) for an initial period of 18 months (with a 2-month secondment to MARIN), then Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (Denmark) for a period of 18 months, and then the final period of 12 months again at TU Delft to finalise the PhD thesis.

Applications must be submitted via email no later than 31 May 2020, 23:59 (Dutch time) as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. The file name of the PDF document will contain your first and last name.
To apply, send an e-mail to Ms. Sylvia Willems (S.M.Willems@tudelft.nl) and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. When applying for this position, please refer to vacancy number LR20.16. The file must include:
• A letter motivating the application (cover letter);
• Curriculum vitae with publications (if any);
• Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma.
• Research statement: through the research statement, the applicants have the chance to present a research problem that interests them and propose how it might be investigated. The research problem should be preferably related to the topic of the advertised PhD position.


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