Research

PhD at WEM

The PhD trajectory is a training to become an independent researcher. As a PhD, you will design, plan and execute your own research project on a specific topic. You will do this in close cooperation with your supervisors. Being responsible for your own research allows you to investigate the topics you find most interesting within the scope of the original project proposal. In our group it takes 4 year training on the job which ends with the diploma of Doctor (Dr.).

During the 4 years of your PhD, your job will exist of a variety of activities. The time spend can be divided roughly in three parts: 77.5% of research, 12.5% of education (6 months) and 10% teaching.

Research The main part of doing a PhD is doing research. This can for example consist of modelling activities, experimental work, going into the field to obtain measurements and a large part of the research will be to analyze obtained data. Communicating your results is also an important part of doing research. You will do this by publishing your results in scientific papers which will be input for your PhD-thesis. But also presenting the results – on workshops and (international) conferences – is an important way of sharing your results to scientist and experts from consultancy firms. Discussions with experts are a valuable input for your PhD-research.

Education The education part is tailor made for the project, and will focus on:

  • Professional skills such as summer courses or courses provided by a Research School (in the case of research about Fluid Dynamics, this is the J.M. Burgers Centre),
  • General skills such as time management, project management, lecturing skills)
  • Research skills such as writing a research proposal, making a literature review, technical writing and editing of a scientific paper, presenting oral/poster at a conference.

Teaching The teaching tasks are typically working classes for Bachelor or Master students. Also supervision of Ba-final projects and/or MSc final projects can be part of it. The PhD candidate can make his/her preferences clear each year.

Supervision Usually, a promotor (full professor) and a co-promotor (Associate /Assistant professor) are available to guide the PhD candidate. These persons have about 1-2 hours each week available for guiding.

Trajectory After 6-9 months the PhD-candidate will present and defend the research proposal for the Discipline Board of Civil Engineering (senior members of the section civil engineering), which will assess the proposal on scientific quality and feasibility. Within the research plan a general problem statement, the objectives of the project, the methodology and a detailed time schedule is shown. Usually the research is split in 3-4 parts, each leading to a scientific paper. These papers are usually submitted to journals before the PhD-thesis is finished. In the planning, at 3 years and 7 months after start the full thesis is submitted to the promotors, so that the defense is scheduled exactly at 4 years after the start.

Budget Each project has a PhD budget available for training, conferences, and printing the thesis of at least 11.000 euros. The PhD candidate is manager of his/her own PhD budget after a successful defense of the proposal. The PhD trajectory can be based on an employment with the University of Twente or on the basis of a personal grant. In the latter case this grant should also provide a tuition fee and research costs. In case of a personal grant, no teaching tasks are required.

In WEM we have about 20 PhD students from all parts of the world, supervised by about 10 senior staff members from diverse backgounds. As a PhD student, you have much freedom to organize activities, e.g. the lunchtalks. To get an impression of the topics, you can have a look at the research pages. Information on upcoming PhD vacancies can be found in News.