PhD scholarship in full-scale testing of short span concrete bridges

DTU Civil Eng
Tuesday 03 Jul 18

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DTU Civil Engineering is inviting applications for a 3-year PhD position starting summer 2018 as a part of an ongoing research project related to full-scale testing of short span concrete bridges. The project will be a part of a larger research programme in collaboration with the Danish road directorate as well as industrial partners
Project description
Many countries has a traffic infrastructure where bridges are deteriorated, need capacity upgrading or may even have to be replaced to meet today’s demands to increasing amounts of traffic and higher load levels. This is an large and increasing economic burden, which can be reduced if the relevant technologies are developed to reduce uncertainties in the bridge capacity evaluations. Scopes, final outputs, theoretical approaches, and test procedures related to full-scale test schemes often vary significantly and hinders comparisons of different, existing approaches. An ambitious research project was therefore initiated in 2016 concerning full-scale testing of single span bridges with maximum span of 12 m.

One of the project scopes is to address some of the challenges related to planning and evaluation of in-situ testing identified in the literature as well as experienced in the ongoing project. Consequently the outcome should be to provide novel concepts which enable full-scale testing to be a more commonly used tool in Denmark for evaluation of the capacity of existing concrete bridges (mainly older bridges). The full-scale evaluation method is expected to reveal if the bridges have a higher load carrying capacity than anticipated by reducing the uncertainties related to the estimation of the structural behaviour.
The PhD project will be a part of the research programme related to reclassification of short span concrete bridges and will focus on probabilistic and decision analyses. The aim of the PhD project is the development of a probabilistic decision analysis framework for bridge reclassification, i.e. for the combination of the most relevant information to reduce uncertainties related to the carrying capacity of the bridges and the identification of efficient reclassification strategies. The decision analyses will encompass information acquirement strategies by (1) in-situ proof loading and related monitoring, (2) laboratory tests on different scales, (3) response modelling- and simulation information with various refinement levels and finally (4) a combination of these strategies.
Further tasks of the PhD student will be:

  • to disseminate results in scientific papers and at conferences
  • to attend PhD courses (30 ECTS)
  • to accomplish a mandatory external research stay
  • to co-supervise bachelor and master students
Candidates should have a master’s degree in civil engineering or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to the master’s degree in engineering.
Candidates are expected to have a good background in experimental work, as well as good communication, social skills, command of the Danish and English language. A special preference is given to candidates who has experience with:
  • Proficient knowledge in decision and value of information analyses
  • Knowledge about structural health monitoring and experimental testing
  • Knowledge in evaluation of existing bridge structures- and related assessment
  • Experience and knowledge in conference – and journal paper writing 
Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide.
The applicants will be assessed by Associate Professors Sebastian Thöns and Jacob Wittrup Schmidt.
We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

The workplace is DTU Byg at the DTU Lyngby Campus. Preferable start date: 1. September 2018 or as soon as possible thereafter.
Further information
Further information may be obtained from associate professor Sebastian Thöns: Tel +45 45251714,
You can read more about DTU Civil Engineering (DTU Byg) on
Please submit your online application no later than 17 July 2018.

The application must be submitted as one pdf file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill in the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one pdf file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here
Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their master's degree, but cannot begin before having received it.
All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.
The Department of Civil Engineering is a university department engaged in building and construction.
  • The mission of the department is to conduct an optimal combination of education, research and industrial collaboration together with innovation. The department contributes to establishing social and commercial value creation through the development of technological knowledge. Furthermore, the department cooperates closely with the public sector.
  • The vision of the department is to be one of World’s leading civil engineering institutions and thereby become a preferred partner in collaboration with businesses and institutions in the building sector.

DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and scientific advice. Our staff of 6,000 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society, and our 11,200 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent academic university collaborating globally with business, industry, government and public agencies.