PHD Student: Wave prediction for vessel operation near offshore wind turbines

Pictures: GEOxyz


A 4-year PhD position is open in the frame of the PhairywinD project, an innovative training network in the field of offshore wind grouping Belgian Universities and research centers. The specific research on wave-structure interaction will be carried out at the Maritime Technology Division at Ghent University (prof. Evert Lataire) and Coastal & Geotechnical Engineering Research Group at KU Leuven, Bruges Campus (prof. Pieter Rauwoens). The Coastal and Geotechnical Research Group at Campus Bruges focuses on the interaction between water, soil and structures, with application in hard and soft sea defenses, offshore energy and (deep) foundations. The Maritime Technology Group in Ghent performs fundamental and applied scientific research in the maritime field, especially regarding the hydrodynamics of vessels and other floating constructions. You will be able to interact with a team of experts and PhD researchers covering all the areas linked to wind energy, from control and supervision to risk assessment, fluid dynamics and structural health monitoring.


Inspection and maintenance of offshore wind turbines is largely performed by auxiliary vessels, connecting to the transition piece to allow a technical crew to access the turbine. The connection of such vessels with the monopiles is performed during so-called boat landings. The positioning of the vessel and the landing itself is a difficult operation which is only allowed if a number of conditions are fulfilled with respect to sea state, (tidal) current, wind and visibility, which implies that the operating window may be very narrow. While the safety of the vessel and the technical crew are the first concern, the efficiency of such operations and the fuel consumption are of importance as well.

In this PhD, an accurate description will be provided of the environmental forces acting on the auxiliary vessel, i.e. wind, waves and currents, and the behaviour of the vessel under such conditions. This will be done by

  • Numerical simulation techniques in the circumference of the monopile.
  • Experimental techniques by performing large scale physical model tests in the Coastal and Ocean Basin (COB) in Ostend.
  • simulation of the performance of the vessel.
  • Emphasis is on the influence of the pile to the turbulent, irregular and possibly strong wind fields, wave fields and tidal currents. Particularly in case of monopiles with large diameter (10m and more), interference of the wave field due to reflection and diffraction will play a role.


  • You hold a Master degree in Coastal Engineering, Maritime Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electromechanical Engineering or a related area.
  • Experience with numerical simulation software of wave-structure interaction and/or physical modelling in wave flumes or basins is a plus.
  • You have an excellent command of English both for oral and written communication.
  • You are able to work independently and to formulate/tackle research problems.
  • You can start working on the project between August 1, 2020 and October 1, 2020.


  • A dynamic, friendly and stimulating work environment.
  • A series of training courses in the area of wind energy and soft skill seminars.
  • Possibilities for cooperation with companies active in the wind turbine sector.

Apply here before May 31, 2020

Post Doc: Experienced scientific employee with maritime specialisation



We are looking for an experienced researcher to organize and manage different projects of the Maritime Technology Division. The main task (around 50%) will be the coordination of a project of the Fund for Scientific Research, Flanders (FWO, grant number G0D5319, "Development of a CFD tool and associated experimental validation techniques for fluid mud bottoms disturbed by moving objects"). The main goal of this project is the development and the validation of a versatile CFD model in OpenFOAM (www.openfoam.com) able to simulate the interaction between various moving objects (varying from simple shapes to a ship's hull) with a fluid mud layer on the bottom of a channel and the (numerical) investigation of the interaction between ships and mud layers.

The project is promoted by Prof. Guillaume Delefortrie from the Maritime Technology Division and is executed in cooperation with Prof. Erik Toorman from the Hydraulics Division of the KU Leuven University and is supported logistically by Flanders Hydraulics Research (FHR) in Antwerp in the framework of their Nautical Bottom Research. The coordinator is expected to travel to these locations on a regular basis.

The numerical development is performed at KU Leuven by a PhD-student, whereas the validation work is carried out at Ghent University by another PhD-student. Besides the numerical work experimental work is performed at FHR in Antwerp in collaboration with researchers from FHR, i.e. towing experiments, development of new measuring techniques for these and rheometry.

Candidates should be holding a PhD or MSc degree in Engineering (or equivalent). Experience in project management has to be demonstrated. Experience in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) or experimental fluid dynamics (EFD) is required. Experience in both is considered an asset. Depending on the profile and the preference of the candidate the other 0% to 50% will be dedicated to projects in his field of expertise (see http://www.maritiem.ugent.be/research.php for examples of projects)

You will be supervised by the professors of the UGent Maritime Technology Division. Your working place will be located in Ghent and in Antwerp (at FHR), with regular meetings in KU Leuven.

More information can be provided by Prof. dr. ir. Guillaume Delefortrie (Guillaume.Delefortrie@UGent.be) or Prof. dr. ir. Evert Lataire (Evert.Lataire@UGent.be).


We are looking for a motivated and enthusiastic Doctor or Master of Science in Engineering with maritime specialisation (Naval Architecture, Coastal Engineering, Ocean Engineering or equivalent), with the following skills and competences:

  • Project management skills and problem solver attitude
  • Candidates should be well-qualified academically to masters level with maritime background and sufficient professional experience. The project will require a mix of skills, including mathematical modelling, programming, simulation skills and practical engineering aspects. Involvement in experimental testing in a towing tank or flume is expected.
  • Candidates must have excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Candidates must be flexible, responsible and team workers.
  • Candidates must be proficient in English. Knowledge of Dutch is a strong asset, but not a requirement.
  • Short term availability is an asset.
  • Prior experience in data analysis and related statistics using appropriate software tools is considered as an advantage.
  • You will be remunerated according to your degree and years of experience.

Apply here before June 17, 2020

Open Vacancy


Do not hesitate to contact us to check if you fit the profile we are looking for.