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PHD POSITION in a Marie Curie project: Testing the activity of small cluster to nanometre-sized catalyst for electrochemical CO2 hydrogenation



The PhD research will focus on three complementary challenges in low voltage grid decision support, each of them representing a fundamental hurdle to the realistic-scale roll-out of smart-grid decision systems in the field, and each requiring a considerable progression of the current state-of-the-art in data science technology applied to distribution grids.
The first focus is on optimizing the extraction and stochastic simulation of relevant information from the limited number of available grid data sources. Standard techniques for data-wrangling and data cleaning should be automatically combined in an optimal way and enhanced and/or customized to overcome the domain-specific flaws and deficiencies in the available data. Based on the resulting enhanced data, tools can be developed that stochastically generate relevant synthetic energy profiles.

The second focus is on forecasting the appearance of grid congestions such as under-voltage, over-voltage, and over-current. The main challenge here is in the exceptional nature and therefore the sparsity of occurrences of such congestions. Regression techniques that can make accurate extrapolations from the sparsely available grid data should be investigated, combined, enhanced and if necessary developed from scratch to effectively tackle this challenge.

The third focus is on overcoming the difficulties related to the correct interpretation of the collected, enhanced, processed, generated and forecasted data. Domain-specific and versatile representation and analysis techniques will be developed. For this purpose, AI-based clustering and visualization methods will be combined, enhanced and complemented with domain-specific insights and practical experiences in the field.

Collaboration with University of Leuven
Registration deadline: 11/01/2021




3D printing or additive manufacturing produces near net shape parts with complex geometries, which would not be achievable by subtractive manufacturing, through adding materials layer by layer. A large freedom of design, mass customization, waste minimization, as well as fast prototyping are the main benefits of the technology. However, different materials related challenges limit the widespread adoption of 3D printing in industry. One main challenge is related to the limited variety of materials applicable for 3D printing, with polymers still representing the largest share. Furthermore, materials research is needed to enhance and control the quality of the 3D printed parts. 

The PhD is a collaboration between the Coatings and Surface Technologies (CAST) research group of the unit Sustainable Materials Management at VITO and the Materials Engineering Department at KU Leuven. The researcher will be mainly active in the Coatings and Surface Technologies (CAST) research group of the unit Sustainable Materials Management (https://vito.be/en/theme/sustainable-materials) at VITO in Mol (https://vito.be/en).

The daily supervision of the PhD will be done by VITO Mentor dr. ir. Marleen Rombouts, marleen.rombouts@vito.be, (phone +32(0)14 335745). The University promotor will be Prof. dr. ir. Jozef (Jef) Vleugels, jozef.vleugels@kuleuven.be, (+32 (0)16 321244) from the Department of Materials Engineering of KU Leuven (http://www.mtm.kuleuven.be/English/).

The candidate will obtain a Ph.D. in Engineering: Materials Engineering at the Faculty of Engineering (https://eng.kuleuven.be/en) of the Arenberg Doctoral School (https://set.kuleuven.be/phd/) of KU Leuven (http://www.kuleuven.be/kuleuven/).

The aim of this PhD is to address the abovementioned challenges by developing feedstock materials and complete processing routes for dense metal and ceramic 3D printing by micro-extrusion. This will require a good understanding of the relationship between printing material formulation (powder, binder, solvent, additives), printing and post-processing conditions, microstructure and materials performance. The PhD will focus on the processing of dense technical ceramics (e.g. silicon carbide) and advanced metal alloys (e.g. Cu alloys) that could be applied in the chemical industry, machinery, electronics and transport sector. 

The candidate will have to pass the selection campaign of the VITO, by an oral defence of the research programme. 
The full procedure is explained at: https://vito.be/en/application-procedure

Deadline for application: 11/01/2021
First step: selection based on application file: 1/02/2021
Second step: The doctoral candidate must compile an application file in consultation with the VITO and KU Leuven promoters. The file must consist of a doctoral plan, a management summary and an administrative section, according to the VITO guidelines. Deadline: 22/02/2021
Defense of the research topic: Doctoral candidates with an approved application file will face a jury, which will be appointed by VITO, and subjected to a verbal examination about their general scientific knowledge, their doctoral programme and their work plan.
Notification final result: The award will take place based on the application file, the jury report and possible additional guidelines established by the Board of Directors at VITO.
Anticipated starting date of the PhD research: 1/04/2021 (earliest)

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