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  3. PhD on Automated data-based performance optimization of control systems

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PhD on Automated data-based performance optimization of control systems

The TU/e offers a PhD position with the DIGITAL TWIN research program. This NWO AES Perspectief programme is a five-year comprehensive research programme on …

2 maanden geleden


de Rondom, Eindhoven, Noord-Brabant
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 uur


The TU/e offers a PhD position with the DIGITAL TWIN research program. This NWO AES Perspectief programme is a five-year comprehensive research programme on the development of digital twin and digital twinning methods, financed by the Dutch Research Council (NWO) within the domain of Applied and Engineering Sciences (AES). This collaborative programme involves six universities: University of Groningen, Eindhoven University of Technology, TU Delft, University of Twente, Leiden University and Tilburg University and ten industrial partners and two research institutes.

The development of reliable and agile digital twins of high-tech systems and materials is key to enabling shorter time-to-market, zero-defect and flexible manufacturing systems with accurate predictive maintenance. This crucial development is currently hampered by the lack of synergy between model-based engineering and data-driven/artificial intelligence approaches. The DIGITAL TWIN program will develop key-enabling technologies for full digitization of the value chain of high-tech systems and materials by the integration of data-driven learning approaches and model-based engineering methods.

Project objective
One of the projects (involving three PhD projects) within the DIGITAL TWIN program focusses on Autonomous Process & Control Reconfiguration and Optimization. In this scope, the open PhD position at TU/e is on

Automated data-based performance optimization of control systems.

Control strategies for complex high-tech systems (such as precise positioning, thermal management, vibration isolation) are typically designed based on models of the underlying dynamics and/or based on measurement of these dynamics before delivery of the equipment to the customer. However, these designs are typically far from optimal under real-life conditions of machine use such as hard-to-predict and changing disturbance situations, ageing/degradation of machine parts, evolving type of machine usage, and flexible customer specifications.

Therefore, the goal of this Ph.D. project is to develop a data-based performance optimization strategy to make control systems agile under changing circumstances. We envision to develop novel extremum seeking control methods that guarantee optimal performance in terms of time-varying system behavior, while dealing with changing circumstances of use, hard constraints related to hardware and customer specifications, and nonlinear system behavior. Another goal of such data-based strategy may be to achieve uniform performance over an entire machine park. These objectives are envisioned to be achieved by exploiting only measured performance and constraint data and limited prior system knowledge. The fact that such an approach allows for large model uncertainties, being in essence a model-free approach, makes such approach also particularly suitable for complex, multi-physics problems in high-tech systems. As such, it can be used to make system-wide, multi-disciplinary design trade-offs in an online fashion.

Within this PhD project a collaboration with the high-tech semiconductor company ASM PT will be fostered. People involved in supervision:

  • Prof.dr.ir. Nathan van de Wouw
    (http://www.dct.tue.nl/New/Wouw/WebpageNathanvandeWouw.html) .
  • Dr.ir. Rob Fey (https://www.tue.nl/en/research/researchers/rob-fey/)
  • Dr. Alessandro Saccon (MSc)

The starting dates are flexible but before January 2021.

Moreover, the project will offer to the students an extensive training program on Systems and Control in the scope of the Dutch Institute for Systems and Control (http://disc.tudelft.nl/). Moreover, a training program focusing on more generic and transferable skills required by professional researchers is offered. This provides the students with a solid background for their research and future careers.


The candidate should have

  • a MSc degree in Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering or Systems and Control with a solid background in dynamical systems and control.
  • a strong interest and skills in both 1) developing new fundamental theories for databased control and 2) applying such novel scientific developments to industrial hightech applications.
  • Excellent communication skills and written/verbal knowledge of the English language.

Interviews with the selected PhD-candidates will take place on-site at TU/e in the Netherlands (if restrictions associated to the Covid-19 situation permit).


  • A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university with the possibility to present your work at international conferences.
  • A full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation after one year.
  • To support you during your PhD and to prepare you for the rest of your career, you will have free access to a personal development program for PhD students (PROOF program).
  • A gross monthly salary and benefits in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement for Dutch Universities.
  • Additionally, an annual holiday allowance of 8% of the yearly salary, plus a year-end allowance of 8.3% of the annual salary.
  • A broad package of fringe benefits, including an excellent technical infrastructure, moving expenses, and savings schemes.
  • Family-friendly initiatives are in place, such as an international spouse program, and excellent on-campus children day care and sports facilities.

Additional information

More information

Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more?
Please contact prof.dr.ir. Nathan van de Wouw (n.v.d.wouw[at]tue.nl)

More information about terms of employment can be found here.

Please visit www.tue.nl/jobs to find out more about working at TU/e!


We invite you to submit a complete application by using the 'apply now'-button on this page. The application should include a:
  • Cover letter in which you describe your motivation and qualifications for the position.
  • Curriculum vitae, including a list of your publications and the contact information of three references.
  • Your course program and corresponding grades,
  • Brief description of your MSc thesis
  • All other information that might help us to assess your suitability for one of these

We look forward to your application and will screen it as soon as we have received it. Screening will continue until the position has been filled.

We do not respond to applications that are sent to us in a different way. Please keep in mind you can upload only 5 documents up to 2 MB each. If necessary please combine files.