PhD Position in Mechanical Engineering

Catholic University of Leuven Department of Mechanical Engineering

The Life Cycle Engineering Research group of KU Leuven is part of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, but houses an interdiscplinary team of engineers and applied scientists focusing on all aspects of life cycle engineering (LCE), including ecodesign, product development methodologies, sustainable manufacturing, functional product lifetime extension strategies and end-of-life treatment of products and systems. Recent research was carried out in the area of efficient disassembly techniques to optimise the end-of-life treatment of products; the identification and analysis of energy and resource based environmental and economic improvement potential of manufacturing processes, systematic (biologically-inspired) design as well as in the domain of personalized products through user profiling. One of the research lines is Energy and Resource Efficient Manufacturing: Taking into account the expected growth of the world’s population and increasing welfare level in developing countries, the global energy and resource demand will increase significantly. Therefore, the environmental burden per unit produced should be strongly reduced. The activities of this research line include, among others, documentation, analysis and improvement of the environmental footprint for a wide range of available and emerging manufacturing processes with respect to their direct and indirect emissions. Moreover, the research group coordinates the international CO2PE! network of more than 50 partners worldwide that have joined us in this endeavor.


GREEN AM:  Towards sustainable additive manufacturing

In the framework of a large scale project with a number of industrial partners and sector organisations, this doctoral research will be focused on in depth study of the environmental impact associated with additive manufacturing processes in detail, with specific attention for polymer oriented AM processes. For this purpose we can start from a methodological framework for systematic impact analysis of manufacturing processes in general as conceived in the involved research group.  Purpose is to develop parametric models for process impact prediction on the one hand and to assess the potential effects of technological improvements with respect to innovative material development on the other.  Creative interaction with polymer specialists will allow to identify and explore material and energy efficiency improvement opportunities.  Input-output optimization inspired by industrial symbiosis strategies will enhance the spectrum of possible measures to be thoroughly investigated.

The Life Cycle Engineering research group, in which this research will be conducted, is part of the Mechanical Engineering Department of KU Leuven that also houses a large research division oriented towards manufacturing process development research.  As such process design is part of the scope that can be explored.
The envisaged research involves both hands-on data collection with respect to material and energy resource consumption in different AM processes. It also requires material flow analysis based on extensive literature exploration.


For this vacancy solid background knowledge in polymer processing  is required. A master of engineering or applied sciences degree in polymer processing, manufacturing engineering, material science or environmental technology is desirable.  Experience with  additive manufacturing and/or LCA methods is an advantage.  A fascination with eco-design as a whole and life cycle engineering strategies to improve the environmental footprint of manufacturing processes in specific is a must.   This PhD project offers the opportunity to contribute to impact minimization of the quickly growing range of 3D printing solutions by pinpointing the deficiencies in material and energy efficiency and analyzing the effects of technological improvements intended to overcome these aspects of AM in the present state of the art.

The vacancy offers a PhD perspective. In order to be considered, applicants should have distinguished themselves academically.  Please provide full grade transcripts in order to document this, as well as proof of English language proficiency.


The KU Leuven is a top hundred university with a strong research and innovation tradition.  The research will be conducted in close collaboration with industrial partners, maximizing the societal relevance of the work assuring valorization of the reseach achievements.
The university offers scholarship funding equivalent with the salary level of an engineering professional with 1-4 years of experience and full healthcare benefits as well as access to a broad range of facilities.
Leuven as a city offers a very dynamic and lively living environment in an enjoyable historic setting close to Brussels, in the centre of Europe.


For more information please contact Prof. dr. ir. Joost Duflou, tel.: +32 16 32 28 45, mail:

You can apply for this job no later than December 31, 2020 via the
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  • Employment percentage: Voltijds
  • Location: Leuven
  • Apply before: December 31, 2020
  • Tags: Ingenieurswetenschappen