PhD position in wave-resolving CFD

1 PhD position for the ‘‘CREST ‐ Climate REsilient coaST” research project (

 The Coastal Engineering Research Group (CERG) at the Department of Civil Engineering of Ghent University and the Hydraulics section of the Department of Civil Engineering of KU Leuven (Leuven University) are offering a full-time PhD position in the area of modelling coastal dynamics and modelling of wave overtopping and wave loading of coastal dikes.

 The project:

The successful candidates will participate in the fundamental strategic research project ‘‘CREST ‐ Climate REsilient coaST : wave action in a changing climate: effects on the dynamics of the coast and implications for future safety strategies’’, funded by the Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship Agency (VLAIO – former IWT), and work in a multidisciplinary team environment. The consortium  includes researchers from several universities in Flanders, from governmental institutions and from private companies. The main objective of the CREST project is to gain a better understanding of the nearshore and onshore physical processes and flood risks and to determine the resilience of the coastal system, in order to deal in the most appropriate way with the possible impact of climate change. The PhD research within CREST will focus on the numerical modelling of the hydrodynamics (waves and currents) and morphodynamics of the nearshore and onshore beach-dune and beach-dike systems and this at different time and spatial scales.

 PhD-position  (Dual Degree: UGent & KU Leuven)

The research will focus on wave-resolving numerical modelling of hydrodynamics interacting with beach and hard coastal defense structures, using the OpenFOAM software environment (  This research will be carried in two phases:

Phase 1 (2 years) focusses on the modelling of wave overtopping of sea dikes with the aim to develop a methodology to predict more accurately overtopping volumes and expected forces on the structure.

The aim of Phase 2 (2 years) is to incorporate within the same code the effects of sediment transport to study the loss of energy by mobilized sediments and changing morphodynamics of the beach before waves reach the dike.

This will be a dual-degree PhD project where phase 1 will be carried out at Gent University (Prof. Peter Troch) and phase 2 at KU Leuven (Prof. Erik Toorman).

 The position will be open until filled. The selected candidate can start immediately, as the project has started in January 2016.


The candidate holds a master degree in engineering (civil, mechanical, …), oceanography or related fields, with special interest and experience in computational fluid dynamics (CFD). Modelling experience in turbulent flows (hydrodynamics, waves, sediment transport and/or computational fluid dynamics) and good knowledge of a programming language ( C++, FORTRAN, MATLAB, …) is essential to the position. Active knowledge of the specific software package OpenFOAM (or equivalent other Navier-Stokes + turbulence solvers) will be an asset. Background in coastal hydrodynamics or morphodynamics will be another asset. The candidate shall be able to carry out research investigation independently, and willing to work in a multidisciplinary team. He/she should be proficient in English, have excellent scientific writing, planning and communication skills, and be an enthusiastic team player.


We offer an open, stimulating and multi-disciplinary research environment. This research project brings together universities, governmental agencies and private consultants. Duration of the contract: 1 year, with yearly extension to maximum 4 years, after yearly evaluation. The salary and appointment terms are consistent with the general rules at Ghent University and Leuven University.

To apply:

 Enquiries should be sent via email to either:

Prof. Erik Toorman (, or

Prof. Peter TROCH (

BEFORE JULY 1, 2016.