PhD Position in Eco-Friendly Concrete

Catholic University of Leuven Civil Engineering Technology

KU Leuven is one of the top 50 universities in the world, and has been ranked as the most innovative university in Europe, and 7th in the world (Reuters, 2019). Civil Engineering Technology at Campus Bruges consists of two research groups, (i) Coastal and Geotechnical Engineering, and (ii) RecyCon. The first research group focuses on the interaction between water, soil and structures, with application in hard and soft sea defences, offshore energy and (deep) foundations. The RecyCon research group concentrates on research of sustainable material management in the construction industry. A growing interest towards the use of recycled materials has resulted in different applications for secondary materials. However, thorough research is necessary to ensure the quality of applications using recycled materials. The project is a collaboration between RecyCon (construction), the New Materials group (iR subgroup), and the M group (mechatronics, sensors), all hosted on Campus Bruges.


Global warming has led to extreme weatherevents, such as heat waves and periods of very cold weather. These conditionsresult in a higher death rate. Moreover, energy consumed by buildings forheating and cooling have increased by 11% over the last 40 years. High energyprices can cause severe financial hardship among the less well off in society.Therefore, in this project, we focus on improving the thermal efficiency ofbuildings.

Energy efficiency in terms of the heatingand cooling of buildings can best be optimized by focusing on the envelope ofthe building. High thermal efficiency results from having a low or dynamicallycontrolled transfer of heat across this building envelope. Two important causesof heat transfer are conduction and radiation. Conduction, which is minimizedby selecting building materials with low heat conductivities and applyingadditional insulation to roofs and walls. Radiation is given lessconsideration, this despite it being important during heat waves and exposureto the sun.

The goal of the PhD project is to develop alow-carbon concrete with reduced thermal conductivity and model its materialproperties, and to set up a methodology to measure, test and validate thethermal efficiency. Thermal conductivity of concrete can be increased byenclosed microscopic air cells. However, cellular concrete does not satisfystructural requirements. The research will involve the development of a binderand manufacturing of a concrete, and apply chemical and mechanical characterizationmethods.

We are looking for a first-class,motivated, hard-working PhD candidate, who will conduct innovative research inthe field of construction engineering and building materials. The idealcandidate has excellent construction engineering and chemical laboratoryskills, and a strong interest in low-carbon concrete.

Successfulcompletion of the research project will result in a number of scientificinternational journal papers and a PhD at the Faculty of Engineering Technology(KU Leuven). Results from the research will be published in internationalscientific journals, and will be presented at conferences and to interestedcompanies and potential users.


The candidate:

-         Holds a European master degree in engineering technology, constructionengineering, materials engineering or equivalent and ranks within the top 10% of his/her class

-         Has a strong interest andknowledge in the field of building materials and material characterization

-         Has strong communication skillsand is willing to present their research results at national and internationalconferences, and on social media, as well as writing research papers forpublication in international peer-reviewed journals

-         Is willing to help in teachingactivities and co-supervision of undergraduate projects

-         Is willing to write a PhDfellowship proposal

-         Is flexible, has good timemanagement skills and self-discipline, can work independently as well as in ateam

-         Has a creative, critical,analytical and innovative mindset

-         Is very fluent in English bothspoken and written

-         Experience as a researcher orin industry is a plus

-         Having authored or co-authoredpeer-reviewed publications is a plus


The successful candidate will be hired as aPhD researcher. We offer a fulltime one year contract which can be prolonged tofour years upon positive evaluation. Your main working place is the Bruggecampus.

The KU Leuven pursues a policy of equalopportunity and diversity.

Start date: April 1st 2023 or assoon as possible thereafter


For more information please contact Prof. dr. Jiabin Li, tel.: +32 50 66 48 35, mail: or Prof. dr. Veerle Vandeginste, tel.: +32 50 66 49 32, mail:

You can apply for this job no later than February14th 2023 via the online application tool.

In addition to your CV and motivationletter, please add a pdf version of your Master thesis, an overview of yourstudy results, and the contact details of two references.

KULeuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish,regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. Ifyou have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact usat
You can apply for this job no later than February 14, 2023 via the
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at
  • Employment percentage: Voltijds
  • Location: Brugge
  • Apply before: February 14, 2023
  • Tags: Industriële Ingenieurswetenschappen
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