PhD position Deep learning models for water network monitoring (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.

A 4-years PhD position is available within the Distributed Systems group of the Faculty of Science and Engineering of the University of Groningen in The Netherlands. 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 the industry.

Job description

The DiTEC (Digital Twin for Evolutionary Changes in water networks) project proposes an evolutionary approach to real-time monitoring of sensor-rich critical infrastructures that detects inconsistency between measured sensor data and the expected situation, and performs real-time model update without needing additional calibration. Deep learning will be applied to create a data-driven simulation of the system. The system is applied to water networks, where, in case of leaks, valve degradation or sensor faults, the model will be adapted to the degraded network until the maintenance takes place, which can take a long time. The project will analyse the effect on data readings of different malfunctions, and construct a mitigating mechanism that allows to continue using the data, albeit in a limited capacity.

As part of the DiTEC project, the role of the PhD student will be to analyse historical and real-time sensor data, which includes parameters such as water speed, pressure, quality, network topology, and construct a number of deep learning (such as CNN and LSTM) models to explain and predict the behavior of the network short and long term. The models should cover different scenarios (in terms of water production and usage patterns, weather, seasonality) and different configurations of the system.

A mechanism to choose the correct model under changing conditions should be created. Also, ways to investigate what-if scenarios, for failures that may not have sufficient data representation in the historical data, should be investigated.


The candidates for the PhD positions should have a master’s degree (or should be close to obtaining a master’s degree) in artificial intelligence, computer science or related fields, with a background and interest in deep learning, context-aware pervasive computing, data analysis, big data and cloud computing.

Conditions of employment

Contract length: 48 months.

We offer you in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:
• a salary of € 2,434 gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 3,111 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% end-of-year allowance.

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 that 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 can submit your application until 16 January 11:59pm / before 17 January 2022 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.

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 221699

Digital application form