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Marie Skłodowska-Curie Early Stage Researcher PhD position: Automated manufacturing of carbon fibre reinforced composites for offshore wind turbine blades

General information about the Novel design, production and operation approaches for floating wind farms (STEP4WIND) project STEP4WIND is a European Industrial …

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


General information about the Novel design, production and operation approaches for floating wind farms (STEP4WIND) project
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
Epoxy or polyester resin infusion of dry glass preforms is the main technology used for manufacture of wind turbine blades today. Pre-impregnated tapes (prepreg) of glass, carbon fibre and epoxy can also be used to give higher mechanical properties, but the pre-preg is more expensive and has to be stored in refrigerated conditions to maximise its shelf-life. Aerospace parts are usually manufactured in autoclaves that allow for the use of more advanced materials and high curing temperatures. The work will consist of: (i) the development of automated techniques for placement of unidirectional tapes of carbon-fibre epoxy in an offshore wind blade spar-cap or torsion box, and (ii) the mechanical and physical characterisation of the resulting composite materials. The particular advantages of the prepreg tape route will be exploited to develop cost-effective processes that can yield maximum carbon fibre volume fraction and fibre straightness, while accommodating the blade curvature and twist. In Year 1, the automation process will be investigated and down-selected. In Year 2, the mechanical and physical characterisation of resulting composite laminates will be made. Year 3 will focus on the design and construction of the demonstrator component. 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) selection of the automation process, (2) mechanical and physical characterisation of resulting composite laminates, (3) design and construction of the demonstrator component.


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:
• Experience in the manufacture and testing of composite materials where experience in the manufacture of composites using Automated Tape Placement (ATP), filament winding or similar techniques will be considered a plus.
• Strong theoretical knowledge and practical, hands-on experience of wind energy
• Ability to work in a project team and take responsibility for own research goals
• 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 Ireland 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, Eire Composites and the National University of Ireland in Galway.


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 24 months will be provided by Eire Composites (Ireland) and a 24-month contract will be provided by TU Delft (The Netherlands). The salary will be in line with the funding schemes of MSCA action, in accordance respectively with Irish 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 Ireland (living allowance + mobility allowance) will be of 3.780,12 € + 600 € (gross amount), allocated following Irish 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 or Dr. Julie Teuwen (J.J.E.Teuwen@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 and Julie Teuwen, Assistant Professor in Wind Energy at TU Delft, Jamie Goggins, Senior Lecturer at NUIG and Tomas Flanagan, R&D Director at Eire Composites. More people from both TU Delft, NUIG and Eire might join the evaluation committee in due course.

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 LR20.17. 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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