PhD scholarship in Nonlinear Performance and Damage Detection of Structural Systems

Wednesday 13 Jan 21

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The Structures and Safety Section at DTU Civil Engineering is looking for an ambitious, motivated and skilled PhD student eager to dedicate three years to scrutinize the nonlinear performance of offshore platforms exposed to excessive load and harsh environmental conditions. Such a thorough assessment of the structural behavior beyond the linear regime will serve as the necessary basis to develop robust methods for detection of structural damages induced to the offshore platforms by excessive loading conditions.

The damage detection lies in the core of this PhD scholarship, which is part of a wider project called  Innovative Structural Health Monitoring and Risk Informed Integrity Management (InnoSHM), funded by Innovation Fund Denmark. The ultimate goal of InnoSHM is to develop an integrated software solution that will enable detection of the location, size and severity of structural failures and eventually, to translate this information into high quality risk informed decision support.

The InnoSHM project is based on simulations. Nonlinear responses, obtained only from a few locations of the offshore platform will form the basis for system identification in order to estimate the evolution of the system properties during the nonlinear response. Hence, advanced numerical models with nonlinear material laws will be developed within the framework of this PhD scholarship in order to enable the reliable representation of the nonlinear behavior and the corresponding formation of damages. Subsequently, a damage detection scheme shall be developed to provide a detailed assessment of the damage in the entire structure.

The consortium of the InnoSHM project consists of both academic and industrial partners, who will share expertise and join forces in order to fulfill the challenging objectives of the project. Hence, the PhD student is expected to develop synergy with other members (both academic and industrial) of InnoSHM in order to secure the smooth and efficient flow of the project activities.

The position is available now and will be filled as soon as possible.

Responsibilities and qualifications
The primary responsibilities and tasks include (but not limited to):

  • Contribute to development of nonlinear finite element models of offshore platforms with emphasis on damage modeling
  • Calculation of the linear and nonlinear response of offshore platforms exposed to numerous loading scenarios
  • Review existing state-of-the-art methods for damage detection
  • Contribute to development of a robust damage detection method that enables the reliable estimation of the structural damage based on responses obtained from few locations of the offshore platforms
  • Validation of the success rate of the developed damage detection method
  • Support of relevant teaching activities of DTU Civil Engineering Department
  • Co-supervision of BSc and MSc projects that are complementary of this PhD scholarship    

You have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree. You are a motivated candidate with background in Civil or Mechanical Engineering and with MSc degree preferably in Structural Engineering. You have previous experience in the modelling of the nonlinear performance of structural systems via the use of contemporary finite element codes. Preferably, you are familiar with optimization algorithms, signal processing, machine learning and heuristic methods. You are creative, innovative and driven by scientific curiosity and willling to collaborate with students, colleagues and external partners. You have good communication skills in English and preferably in Danish.    

In the assessment of candidates consideration will be given to

  • Qualifications and experience
  • Internal and external collaboration skills
  • Communication skills

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.

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.

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Assistant Professor Evangelos Katsanos (Department of Civil Engineering, or Professor Henrik Stang (Department of Civil Engineering, or

You can read more about DTU Civil Engineering at

If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark.

Application procedure 
Your completed online application must be submitted no later than 3 February 2021 (Danish time).

Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out 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)
  • References
  • List of publications

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.

Department of Civil Engineering carries out teaching and research in a number of building relevant courses and subjects as well as contributes to the establishment of social and commercial values through building technical knowledge and development. The mission and vision of DTU Civil Engineering supports the overall mission and vision of DTU and thus aims at developing and applying natural and technical science to the benefit of society – in particular the building sector. The department strives to integrate Innovation in all its activities including its core activities, teaching and research, while promoting patenting and supporting start-ups originating from its research activities. The Department encourages its researchers to engage in innovation and research-based public sector consultancy activities thus bringing the expertise of each individual in play. Innovation is integrated in research through research projects with a strong industrial participation. Furthermore, DTU Civil Engineering has several test facilities and workshops to its disposal, ranging from large experimental halls for the testing of full scale building constructions, to smaller laboratories equipped with electron microscopes for material examination etc.

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DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today. DTU has 12,000 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. Our main campus is in Kgs. Lyngby north of Copenhagen and we have campuses in Roskilde and Ballerup and in Sisimiut in Greenland.