PhD Position in Mechanical Engineering
Catholic University of Leuven

PhD in Mechanical Engineering
(ref. BAP-2023-240)
KU Leuven consistently ranks among the top 50 universities globally by major ranking tables, with the Department of Mechanical Engineering also being ranked amongst the 50 best worldwide. For three years in a row, Thomson Reuters ranked KU Leuven as Europe's most innovative university, with its researchers having patented more products than any other European university. The KU Leuven Institute for Mobility has a funded scholarship opening for a full-time four-year Ph.D. to do state-of-the-art research in urban freight modeling using agent-based simulation.


As cities grow and authorities aim to densify the urban core, the demand for goods and services and the amount of waste and recyclables generated also densify. The research you will be doing aims to develop and evaluate innovative solutions that capture the behaviorally rich and dynamic interactions between the different urban freight stakeholders who all share the same road space: the businesses involved in producing, shipping, carrying, and receiving the goods, the city authorities, and the community at large. Your goal is rigorous solutions that result in more livable cities that make business sense and are intellectually engaging.


As an eligible candidate, you received a Master's degree in engineering, business engineering, computer science, informatics, applied mathematics, or another relevant field with a solid foundation in operations research, simulation in particular, and quantitative modeling in transportation and supply chains. You are naturally curious and driven to find patterns and solutions amidst challenges like the uncertainty of decision-making. You see the trade-offs required by different parties pursuing their (often conflicting) objectives not as a challenge but as essential to making better, more sustainable decisions. You have a good command of both written and spoken English, and Dutch would be an advantage.
As an added advantage, you have a demonstrable competency in object-oriented programming, preferably in Java, the language of our simulation tools. Prior experience in the Multi-Agent Transport Simulation (MATSim) toolkit will strengthen your application. 


The full-time four-year scholarship (net monthly salary of about €2,400) allows you to work in a young, dynamic, and interdisciplinary environment on the Arenberg Campus in Leuven, Belgium. The Arenberg Doctoral School ( requires a cum laude for admission to the doctoral program and provides ample attractive opportunities to develop scientifically, personally, and professionally while pursuing your Ph.D. 


The starting date of the position is preferably 1 September 2023. You must submit your application online and it should include a cover letter motivating your application. Candidates meeting the minimum requirements and having a good match with the required profile will be shortlisted and can expect a response. For more information please contact Prof. dr. ing. Johan Joubert, mail:

You can apply for this job no later than June 30, 2023 via the
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at
  • Employment percentage: Voltijds
  • Location: Leuven
  • Apply before: June 30, 2023
  • Tags: Ingenieurswetenschappen
  • Download: file

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