Maintenance is an essential part of daily life. This is reflected in the economic importance that maintenance has: € 400 billion of invested capital, an annual cost of € 18 billion and more than 150,000 workplaces (in the Netherlands).

In practice, maintenance is often carried out based on empirical approaches and experiences from the past. As a result, maintenance is a static process, which currently heavily relies on empirical data. Therefore, a leap forward in terms of efficiency and effectiveness must be made. This requires the right awareness among both the designer of the system as well the designer of the maintenance process regarding the physical principles behind the necessity of doing maintenance.

EngD programme in Maintenance

The EngD programme Maintenance educates technological designers who are capable to design efficient and effective maintenance processes from a multidisciplinary perspective. For a design to comply with an integral maintenance-aware solution, technical, financial, logistics and organisational specifications need to be set and fulfilled.

A major challenge in this comes from the fact that maintenance is a dynamic process, where the process should continuously be adjusted based on changes in the system and its environment. In this, a sound understanding of the physical mechanisms is key, as the basis for failing systems and components is in nature physical. To be able to predict the performance of a design in highly dynamic (undefined) situations requires a theoretical (based) approach.

Currently, there is a large gap in the maintenance approach between technical specialists and operations managers, originating from different perspectives on maintenance. By addressing both technical and operations aspects during the EngD programme, a necessary, clear (however missing) link is established between these two fields of expertise.

Examples of design issues include:


The EngD programme in Maintenance is a two-year post-master programme that consists of three blocks: a block of professional development, a block with in-depth and broadening courses and the technological design project. These blocks with a total of 120 EC can run parallel to each other.

The block with in-depth and broadening courses can partly be tailored to the technological design project. Gained skills in professional development and gained knowledge from in-depth and broadening courses are employed in the design project. During the design project, you transfer results into technological innovation in industry or society.


The Professional Development courses are intended to improve professional skills and advance career opportunities. Besides, the University of Twente actively stimulates the entrepreneurial spirit of its employees. The courses in Professional Effectiveness and the TGS Introduction Workshop (including Scientific Integrity) are compulsory, and others are elective (in consultation with your supervisors). See for an overview of professional development courses.


This education block carries a total study load of at least 45 EC and comprises a compulsory block and an elective block.

Compulsory courses

The compulsory block includes three courses:

Two courses can be chosen from a set of four courses: Failure Mechanisms and Life Prediction, Structural Health and Condition Monitoring, Design for Maintenance, and Maintenance Strategies and Engineering.

Some compulsory courses are Master courses that need to be accompanied by assignments, specific to the EngD trainee. The compulsory courses will always be at a post-master level.

Elective courses

The elective block of at least 18 EC allows you to extend your competencies in a specific direction as further preparation for the design project. For the composition of this elective block, together with your (daily) supervisors, you can select courses which are of interest for the technological design project. Elective courses can either be master courses or post-master courses at the University of Twente, national research schools, Capita Selecta courses, conference visits (incl. paper and/or poster), summer schools, in-company courses, or courses at another 4TU location.  


The design project will be defined in close consultation with the organisation or institution which you will be working for. The project can arise from a design question from the organisation/institution or from the valorisation of PhD research into which the industry/government has an inquiry to. The programme ensures that the design project is innovative and complex, contains sufficient design aspects and is sufficiently multidisciplinary. The design project is individual in the sense that you have your project. Because of the complex and multidisciplinary character of the project, in most projects, you will work together with colleagues. The University of Twente ensures that there is a clear part of the design, for which you are responsible and for which you will be judged.

Target group

The EngD-programme in Maintenance focuses on these target groups:

The EngD programme focuses on talented graduates with an interest in designing solutions for complex technological maintenance problems. This means that not everyone will be allowed and that the selection for this track will be strict.

Selection criteria

Candidates will be tested based on these selection criteria:

Candidates with a non-Dutch qualification and who have not had secondary and tertiary education in English can only be admitted with an IELTS test showing a total band score of at least 6.5, internet TOEFL test (TOEFL-iBT) showing a score of at least 90, or a Cambridge CAE-C (CPE).

The selection will be done by the EngD-selection committee.


If you are interested in this EngD track Maintenance, read more about how to apply.


  • Monique van Kempen

    Hi, my name is Monique and I’m alumnus of the EngD programme Maintenance.

    I chose to pursue a EngD because of the combination of theory (education) and practice (working for a company that has a problem you will solve or provide new insight to). Daimler is the company where I work for (producer of Mercedes and Smart cars); a very large company in which I can now look around and learn besides my EngD goals, how such a company operates and discover if it is interesting to work for after my EngD.

    My project

    In the automotive industry, customers are offered many choices when ordering a car. The combination of all these different choices lead many different car variants. To give an indication: the number of variants of the SLK model of 2011 is 3,48 E41! Besides this large number of variants, maintenance is performed on the car model, because of which parts of the car are continuously changing. Accordingly, I have already heard engineers of the Daimler plant in Bremen say: “every car that leaves this factory is unique”.

    We can say that with over 330.000 cars leaving the Bremen plant per year, here a unique, complex product is produced in high speed. The difficulty this production lies amongst others in the predictability of the manufacturing process of the cars: as each car is different, each car needs a slightly different manufacturing process. It is my task to find out how the maintenance on the car model can be carried out as smooth as possible in this complex production process.

    It is a pragmatic programme

    At the University of Twente, the courses and assignment run in parallel. This assures me that I gain knowledge that directly can be used within my project and helps me to apply this knowledge when it is still fresh. Furthermore, there is also contact with the University’s staff when their theories are applied in practice, providing help when needed (and possibly feedback on their teachings and/or research as well). What I really like of the programme is that it is so pragmatic. In that way, it suits me a lot better than a PhD. What I find less fitting is that in the maintenance programme, a lot of courses are obligatory. However, I do understand this choice as it assures that every EngD candidate is broadly educated. This will also help me in my further career.


If you have any further questions about the EngD programme in Maintenance, please contact programme director M.B. (Matthijn) de Rooij: