Context and research challenge

More and more applications are powered or supported by batteries. Think of electric cars, bikes, buses and trucks but also ships, cranes and forklifts and stationary energy storage systems enabling higher shares of renewable energy in the electricity system.

More than 80% of newly installed battery capacity is based on lithium-ion battery technology, primarily based on LiFePO4 (LFP)or LiNixMnyCo1-x-y (NMC) cathode materials, given their superior combined techno-economical characteristics over alternative technologies. However, their operation inherently comes with a safety risk since those batteries contain flammable material. Therefore the battery shouldn’t be operated outside a Safe Operating Area (SOA), or safe operating window, typically expressed in terms of voltage, current and temperature limits. To enable safe battery operation, the battery is equipped with a battery management system (BMS) that is not only monitoring the battery parameters but typically also providing control and protection functions, communication interfaces and battery diagnostics. The total system approach for batteries as defined in our group is given in Figure1.

In nowadays applications, the SOA and its limits are at best set in a dynamic way and dependent on the actual use of the battery, the operating conditions and the state of the battery. The latter can refer to the State of Charge (SoC) but also the State of Health (SoH) of the battery and those battery states are often estimated by the BMS based on simple battery models with low computational burden that can be hosted on BMS processors. However, given the uncertainties on the actual state estimation of the battery, the SOA limits, or boundaries, are chosen in a conservative way limiting the intrinsic possibilities of the battery in terms of power and/or energy capabilities. This limiting factor ultimately has an impact on the economic viability of the battery based solution.


The end goal of the research track on advanced physics-based battery modelling is to have the models embedded in BMS algorithms that can be applied in real-time battery control for various applications(e.g.(fast) charging of vehicles and ancillary services with energy storage) leading to an improved techno-economical offering as compared to the state-of-the-art.

This research work builds on the current expertise of the team and will focus on different aspects. The first task will to be reduce the computational burden of the physics-based battery model so that it can be embedded on a BMS to assist in an improved battery state estimation, SoC, SoH and SOA. Another task will be the support of the battery control based on those models so that eventually a closed loop control can be hosted or at least contributed by the BMS taking into account accurate state estimation. A third task will be situated in the adaptation of the model based on the comparison of battery monitoring and model prediction to continuously improve on the offering.

With this call, we invite researchers to submit their resumé (including track-record) and a one-page project description, that will be the basis for selecting candidates with whom we will collaborate for developing a competitive MSCA-PF proposal. 


This research work will be performed in the multi-disciplinary energy unit within VITO connecting e.g. battery expertise with knowhow on optimization and control. This work also positions itself in existing and to be acquired international research and innovation projects.


Successful candidates will be supervised by Dr Sajjad Fekriasl. Dr Fekriasl has over 20 years of experience leading, conducting and communicating research, with both academia and industry, in the domain of Electrical Engineering and its wider real-life applications. Sajjad’s research interests cover modeling, development of estimation algorithms and advanced control systems with focus on robust control. His current activities include state estimation and control systems design for lithium-ion battery management systems, for both mobile and stationary battery energy storage applications.

Further information can be obtained from Dr. Sajjad Fekriasl via e-mail:

Deadline application to VITO

Interested candidates should submit their resume (incl. track record) and a one-page note describing the project for which a Marie Curie grant will be applied, as soon as possible and no later than Friday 2 April 2021 17:00 Brussels time.

Deadline MSCA-PF 2021

Wednesday 15 September 2021 17:00 Brussels time.

Target start date

The EU informs the results on the MSCA-PF applications in February 2022. Successful candidates are expected to be available to start within the following two months and no later than summer 2022.



We invite applicants to propose a more detailed and focused research approach within the scope of this MSCA-PF Fellowship as a part of their application. We are primarily looking for experienced researchers who wish to use this period as an opportunity to further develop their research and skills, and to develop longer-term research collaborations with VITO and other institutions conducting research in the field.

The candidates as in principle must be eligible for a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship – please refer to the conditions to be set-out in the Horizon Europe MSCA-PF-2021 Work Programme, including taking into account the new MSCA Green Charter principles.

The following assets will be advantageous:

  • An excellent track record in research, necessary for being able to develop a competitive Marie Curie Fellowship application;
  • Already published relevant research work in prestigious scientific journals;
  • An open and cooperation-oriented nature, but with strong abilities for independent research work;
  • Highly proficient in spoken and written English.

Initially, we offer assistance in developing competitive Marie Curie Individual Fellowship proposals.

Then, to successful applicants to the Marie Curie programme, we offer;

  • An exciting opportunity at VITO, the independent Flemish research organisation driven by the major global challenges. Our goal? To accelerate the transition to a sustainable world;
  • Participation in a dynamic professional research & innovation community;
  • Flexible working conditions;
  • An inclusive and friendly work environment;
  • On-boarding assistance and other services.