PhD Nonlinear dynamics & vibration analysis for structural/condition monitoring


Faculty of Science and Engineering


University of Groningen

Job description

We are looking for a candidate to undertake research in the field of dynamics and vibration, with a particular focus on evaluating the structural integrity of mechanical, civil, and aerospace engineering structures via nonlinear dynamics analysis.
Modal analysis is a well-established technique used to accurately characterize the dynamic behaviour of vibrating engineering systems with linear behaviours, both in theoretical and experimental domains [1-2]. The resulting modal parameters, such as natural frequencies, damping ratios, and mode shapes, are used extensively in the design, analysis, and maintenance of engineering structures such as buildings, bridges, and aerospace structures [3-4]. Unfortunately, most of the industrial structures exhibit nonlinearities in certain local regions or possibly in the whole of the structure, which limit the validity of the modal analysis assumption of linear behaviour, making it challenging to apply modal analysis to deal with nonlinearities.
The main objective of this position is to develop an innovative Nonlinear Modal Analysis methodology that integrates vibration analysis, data-driven modeling (e.g. MIMO NARX modelling, Neural Networks), and nonlinear frequency domain analysis (e.g. Nonlinear Frequency Response Functions). This integrated approach aims to reveal the underlying linear and nonlinear dynamic characteristics of structures. The successful implementation of this research will have wide-ranging implications across engineering fields, including applications such as structural and condition monitoring, predictive maintenance, and structural design and modification.
An outstanding opportunity is available for a Ph.D. candidate to join our groundbreaking research in this advanced field. This position provides a unique chance to make significant contributions to the forefront of scientific exploration, while actively shaping the future of dynamic systems theory.

The University of Groningen is a research university with a global outlook, deeply rooted in Groningen, City of Talent. Quality has been our top priority for over four hundred years, and with success: the University is currently in or around the top 100 on several influential ranking lists.

The Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE) is the largest faculty within the University. We offer first-rate education and research in a wide range of science and engineering subject areas, from mathematics, astronomy and mechanical engineering, to interdisciplinary fields such as artificial intelligence, pharmacy and nanoscience. Our community has an open and informal character with students and staff from around the world.


- a recognized institution has granted a Master's degree in Engineering, specializing in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, computer science, mathematics, or a related field, along with a notable academic track record
- proficiency in theoretical aspects of vibration testing and control, as well as the processing and analysis of vibration signals, with an added advantage of familiarity with nonlinear dynamics
- desirable practical expertise in utilizing data acquisition instruments and transducers such as NI modules, Siemens Scadas, modal shaker, accelerometers, etc.
- proficient programming skills in Matlab/Python/LabVIEW, with an added advantage of specific experience in popular deep learning frameworks like PyTorch and TensorFlow
- demonstrated capability in independent research, exemplified by exceptional performance in the MSc thesis
- excellent proficiency in both spoken and written English, and knowledge of spoken Dutch would be advantageous for this purpose
- possession of a critical mindset and the ability to think analytically.

Conditions of employment

Contract length: 12 months.

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

- a salary of € 2,770 gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 3,539 gross per month in the fourth and final year (based on a full-time employment)
- a holiday allowance and end-of-year bonus of respectively 8% and 8.3% of your gross annual income
- a full-time position (1.0 FTE) for four years: first, you will 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 successful completion of the PhD thesis within the contract period is to be expected. A PhD training program is part of the agreement and you will be enrolled in the Graduate School of the Faculty of Science and Engineering.

Consider our website for information about work at the University of Groningen:

Job Application

Applications for the position should include:

- a cover letter (1–2 pages) introducing yourself and describing your motivation to apply for this position and how your background fits with the position
- a CV (max 2 pages) demonstrating academic excellence, including details of BSc and MSc degrees
- copies of your academic records from your BSc and MSc studies
- contact details of two academic references who can provide.

You may apply for this position until 30 November 11:59 pm / before 1 December 2023 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the online application form (click on “Apply”; below the advertisement on the university website).

The University of Groningen strives to be a university in which students and staff are respected and feel at home, regardless of differences in background, experiences, perspectives, and identities. We believe that working on our core values of inclusion and equality are a joint responsibility and we are constructively working on creating a socially safe environment. Diversity among students and staff members enriches academic debate and contributes to the quality of our teaching and research. We therefore invite applicants from underrepresented groups in particular to apply. For more information, see also our diversity policy webpage:[…]/

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 L. Cheng

In your application, please always include the job opening ID V23.0484

Digital application form