PhD Fellowship

Dr. Cao's group at the University of Antwerp is seeking candidates for a 4-year PhD fellowship hosted by the Department of Energy and Materials in Infrastructure and Buildings (EMIB). EMIB focuses on research in the field of infrastructure, buildings, and industrial heat applications where quality, durability, and energy play a central role. Road Engineering Research Section (RERS), one of the sections of EMIB, is the academic partner for asphalt and bitumen research in Belgium. Pavement performance modeling, mechanical experiments, and LCA are combined in order to design sustainable road pavements.

The goal of this PhD project is to utilize the latest knowledge from multiple disciplines (e.g., material flow analysis, life cycle assessment, road and pavement engineering models, and data-driven automated tools) to develop integrated analytical tools, thereby assessing the potential to lower environmental impacts and costs through circular use of secondary materials in pavements. The PhD project has three main objectives:

  • creating a resource cadaster for pavements;
  • mapping the circular economy opportunities in pavements;
  • developing optimal designs for circular and sustainable pavements.

The proximate expected outcome of this project will be providing a granular understanding of circular economy opportunities in (asphalt) pavements and actionable practices for road engineers, pavement designers, road managers, and urban planners.

Job description

  • You prepare a doctoral thesis in the field of Sustainability Assessment of Pavement.
  • You publish scientific articles related to the research project and present them on international conferences.
  • You contribute to teaching and research in Road Engineering Research Section (RERS), Department of Energy and Materials in Infrastructure and Buildings (EMIB).

Profile and requirements

  • You hold a master of science degree in road engineering, civil engineering, civil engineering technology, environmental engineering, or related disciplines.
  • You can submit outstanding academic results.
  • You are quality-oriented, conscientious, creative and cooperative.
  • Experience with road construction materials is highly desirable.
  • Strong programming skills are highly desirable (e.g., Python, R).
  • Strong interpersonal communication skills are desirable.
  • Enthusiasm for sustainability-oriented engineering will be prioritized.
  • Familiarity with Industrial Ecology tools (e.g., MFA, LCA) will be valued.
  • Students in the final year of their degree can also apply.
  • Foreign candidates are encouraged to apply.
  • Your academic qualities comply with the requirements stipulated in the university’s policy.

We offer

  • a doctoral scholarship for a period of two years, with the possibility of renewal for a further two-year period after positive evaluation;
  • The planned start date is 1 March 2021. A later start date can be discussed.
  • a gross monthly grant ranging from € 2.373,36 to € 2.516,73 (tax exempt);
  • a dynamic and stimulating work environment.

How to apply?

Applications may only be submitted online, until the closing date 3 December 2020  and should include a copy of your CV and a cover letter.

  • A pre-selection will be made from amongst the submitted applications. The remainder of the selection procedure is specific to the position and will be determined by the selection panel.
  • The interviews of the candidates, preselected by a selection panel, will take place on 15 December 2020.
  • More information about the online application form can be obtained from
  • For questions about the profile and the description of duties, please contact Zhi CAO via
  • Application deadline: Dec 03, 2020
  • University of Antwerp
  • Department of Energy and Materials in Infrastructure and Buildings (EMIB)
  • Antwerp, Belgium
  • PhD and Postdoc Positions
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