Postdoctoral Researcher in Soil Vibration and Auralisation Software Tools for Application in Railways
Catholic University of Leuven Department of Civil Engineering

Founded in 1425, KU Leuven is currently the largest university in Belgium in terms of research funding and expenditure, and a charter member of LERU. KU Leuven conducts fundamental and applied research in all academic disciplines with a clear international orientation. KU Leuven is ranked as 14th European university in the Times Higher Education ranking and as first European university in Reuters Top 100 of the world’s most innovative universities, for the fourth consecutive year. Research in the Structural Mechanics Section ( of the Department of Civil Engineering focuses on the static and dynamic analysis of structures and is structured along six research lines: vibrations in the built environment, vibration based structural identification and evaluation, building acoustics, shape and topology optimization, computational structural engineering, and human-induced vibration of civil engineering structures. We offer an excellent and international research environment. The promoters (Geert Degrande and Geert Lombaert) have a proven track record in the domain and a lot of experience with supervising PhD students and post-doctoral researchers. The Department of Civil Engineering is nicely located in the park of the Arenberg Castle on Campus Arenberg in Heverlee, one kilometre from Leuven’s city center.


SILVARSTAR brings together a unique consortium of six leading industrial and academic partners who contribute excellence in noise and vibration modelling (ISVR, KU Leuven), engineering consulting (Vibratec, Wölfel), software development for environmental impact studies (Wölfel) and for auralisation and visualisation (EMPA), as well as dissemination of collaborative project results to the European rail manufacturing industry (UNIFE). The overall goal of SILVARSTAR is to provide the railway community with proven software tools and methodologies to assess the noise and vibration environmental impact of railway traffic on a system level.

The first overall objective of SILVARSTAR is to provide the railway community with a commonly accepted, practical and validated methodology and a user-friendly prediction tool for ground vibration impact studies. This tool will be used for environmental impact assessment of new or upgraded railways on a system level. It will provide access to ground vibration predictions to a wider range of suitably qualified engineers and will facilitate project planning and implementation by improved simulation processes.

The second overall objective of SILVARSTAR is to develop a fully functional system for auralisation and visualisation based on physically correct synthesised (exterior and interior) railway noise, providing interfaces with Virtual Reality visualisation software. This system will facilitate communication with the public, decision makers and designers through virtual experience before delivery of projects.

The SILVARSTAR project is funded by the European Community under the H2020-S2RJU-OC-2020 call of the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Framework Programme, as a Research and Innovation Action of the Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking.

The project starts on 1 November 2020 and has a duration of 2 years. 

The Structural Mechanics Section of KU Leuven will be involved in Work Stream 1 of SILVARSTAR, where the main objective is to provide the railway community with a commonly accepted, practical and validated methodologyand a user-friendly prediction tool for ground vibration impact studies.

KU Leuven brings expertise in ground vibration modelling, hybrid modelling, characterisation of dynamic soil properties, and previous experience from other national and EU funded projects, such as RIVAS.  

KU Leuven will contribute to the model development by defining the concept and framework for the vibration prediction tool that can be used for environmental impact assessment of new and upgraded railway lines, as well as its implementation. We will also contribute to the construction of a database of experimental and numerical cases, provide validation cases for approval testing, and develop methods for the transposition of vibration emission data from one site to another.


We are looking for a post-doctoral researcher holding a PhD degree in Civil or Mechanical Engineering, with a solid background in one or more of the following subjects: structural dynamics, elastic wave propagation, and/or computational mechanics. Experience with the development and validation of numerical prediction models for railway induced vibration is highly welcomed.


We offer a contract with a finite duration of 18 months and a competitive salary of about 2650 EUR per month net, depending on your marital status.

Interested candidates should be able to start as soon as possible.


Interested candidates are invited to email their application file (in a single pdf file) before 31 December 2020 to prof. Geert Degrande (,containing the following information: (1) motivation letter, (2) curriculum vitae (including date of birth, hobbies, interests, engagement as a student,…) (3) list of publications (please do not add these publications), (4) transcript of records (BSc, MSc, and PhD degrees), (5) copy of diplomas (BSc, MSc, and PhD degrees), (6) proof of proficiency in English (TOEFL or IETLS certificate or equivalent proof), and (7) contact details of three persons who can provide a reference on our request (so please do not include reference letters, only provide contact details). 

We request a TOEFL ibt total score of 94, with no section scores below 22, or an IELTS overall band score of 7.0, with no band scores below 6.5.

Pre-selected candidates will be invited for a Skype interview.  

Shortlisting and final selection will be based on scientific background, merit and potential, with due consideration given to gender equality and minority rights. The scientific merit of the candidates not only considers course grades, but also evidence of team work, interdisciplinary knowledge, creativity, independent working, transferable skills, and public engagement. The promotion of equal opportunities and gender balance will be a key recruitment strategy. Among equally qualified applicants, women receive preferential consideration as part of the special efforts to increase female participation in the field. 

The deadline of 31 December2020 might be extended if required.

You can apply for this job no later than December 31, 2020 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: December 31, 2020
  • Tags: Burgerlijke Bouwkunde

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