PhD position Digital Twins in Smart Environments (1.0 FTE)


Faculty of Science and Engineering


University of Groningen

Founded in 1614, the University of Groningen enjoys an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative institution of higher education offering high-quality teaching and research. Flexible study programmes and academic career opportunities in a wide variety of disciplines encourage the students and researchers alike to develop their own individual talents. With its 31,000 students and Nobel prize winning researchers, University of Groningen ranks among the top universities globally. It is situated in the vibrant capital of the northern Netherlands, Groningen.

Within the Distributed Systems group of the Faculty of Science and Engineering of the University of Groningen in The Netherlands, a 4-years PhD position is available. You will work within the scope of smart environment projects. Over the last decade, the main research interests of the group cover the areas of context awareness in smart environments, AI planning, constraint satisfaction and optimization in highly distributed settings, Internet-of-Things, building automation, large-scale data analytics, and energy distributed infrastructures as main application domains. The research results have been field-tested in collaboration with industry, one of such applications eventually led to the founding of the Sustainable Buildings company that applies the optimization algorithms in practice.

Job description

Creation of an accurate digital twin, a virtual model of a physical environment or an object, is one of the most important tasks for any smart environment scenario. Digital twin synchronizes the state of a physical environment with the virtual representation of it using various internet of things (IoT) sensors and actuators. A link between a physical object and its digital twin can be continuously maintained, making it possible to experiment, simulate and optimize the properties of a physical counterpart at any time.

As part of our research into efficient smart environments, the Distributed Systems group of the University of Groningen aims at reducing the complexity of creation of digital twins by developing a dynamic and scalable infrastructure platform, explicitly defining the quality attributes of the (trained) models and the quality of the data itself.

Among our objectives are: inference of physical environment conditions and activities, quality management through the digital twin, predictive maintenance, efficient and scalable digital twin distributed platform infrastructure, reasoning and actuation within the smart system.

This project allows you to focus on these objectives, or delve into similar research questions within the field of distributed context-aware smart environments.


You should have a master’s degree (or should be close to obtaining a master’s degree) in computer science or related fields, with a background and interest in software engineering, context-aware pervasive computing, AI planning and reasoning systems, machine learning and data analysis, big data and cloud computing, internet of things platforms.

Conditions of employment

Contract length: 48 months.

We offer you in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:

• a salary of € 2,325 gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 2,972 gross per month in the fourth and final year
• a full-time position (1.0 FTE)
• a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income
• an 8.3% year-end bonus.

The position is limited to a period of 4 years. A PhD training programme is part of the agreement and you will be enrolled in the Graduate School of Science and Engineering.

You get a temporary position of one year with the option of renewal for another three years. Prolongation of the contract is contingent on sufficient progress in the first year to indicate whether a successful completion of the PhD thesis within the next three years is to be expected.

Job Application

Do you meet our qualification criteria and are you interested? If yes, your application should include:

• letter of motivation
• CV (including contact information for at least two academic references)
• transcripts from your bachelor’s and master’s degree.

You may apply for this position until 1 December 11.59pm / before 2 December 2019 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our University. We are committed to building a diverse faculty so you are encouraged to apply. Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP), and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers,

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.

Additional information

For additional information, please contact:

Dr. V. Degeler

In your application, please always include the job opening ID 219548

Digital application form