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Early Stage Researcher - Marie Curie (Eco drive)

  • Internship
  • Leuven ( Leuven )

Job description

Job Description


Pollution in all its various forms is probably the greatest threat to humankind's existence. We cannot ignore the fact that the transport sector contributes about 20% of the world's pollution. The legislations created to reduce emissions – including acoustic emissions - linked to the current eco-trend have a large impact on several key performance attributes of automotive (sub)systems. Electric vehicles, who are one of the drivers of this green wave, need to be designed as lightweight as possible in order to reduce their ecological footprint and maintain a reasonable mileage while still retaining and acceptable NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness) performance.

The ECO-DRIVE (Noise and vibration in eco-efficient powertrains) project moves significant steps towards the reduction of emissions coming from the transport sector.

Within the above mentioned “green context” several issues involving the design of drivetrain need to be solved. Novel lightweight transmission system designs are prone to vibration problems. The higher elasticity of the system components directly affects the gear mesh excitation and transfer paths of the transmission. For example, higher flexibilities of housing, shafts and gear blanks cause a larger misalignment in tooth contact, which can lead to higher system excitations and worse acoustical behavior. The dynamic behavior might also influence significantly both the gear deformation (responsible for gear whine phenomena) and the load transfer path from gears to bearings can significantly influencing the NVH behavior of the entire vehicle. In this area too, years of technical optimizations on classical gear systems will have to be reconsidered due to the different architectures, speeds, working conditions, etc., of these parts in electrified powertrains.

Moreover, new IC powertrain designs such as start-stop systems, downsized engines, cylinder deactivation and advanced torque lock-up strategies strongly affect driveline torsional vibrations, efficiency and comfort. Torsional vibrations can excite resonances in the engine crankshaft, valve train, transmission and driveline, and lead to specific noise and vibration problems such as gear rattle and booming noise, and to fatigue failure.

This position as early stage researcher and PhD candidate is part of a Marie Skłodowska-Curie European project involving several industrial and academic partners.

This PhD project/ESR position will focus on tackling the above-mentioned issues by researching on novel methods for gear strain and contact force estimation and bearing load estimation . The knowledge of contact forces and strains in transmission gears and bearings is of paramount importance to gain an insight into the state and the performance of the system. Despite its high relevance, a correct evaluation is rarely achievable with available sensors, such that forward Finite Element (FE) or (flexible) multibody simulations are used to derive these quantities – but only approximately. However, due to the complex contact behavior of gears and bearings, these quantities are often wrongly estimated, and this induces engineers to oversize their designs. The research position proposed will focus on the development and validation of a virtual sensing technique based on a state/input estimation that will make it possible to extract the internal forces and strain fields (e.g. at the tooth root or the bearing raceways) thanks to a combination of a few well-positioned sensors (e.g., strain gauges and accelerometer) and advanced gear-contact models. The ESR will contribute to the development of suitable simulation methodologies to be applied for virtual sensing, for sensor layout's selection and perform validations. The research is of high scientific relevance given the challenges of non-smooth state estimation. The development of a sensing strategy that is applicable to contact problems and will allow the development of a tool for the online/offline monitoring of drivetrain systems, including gears, bearing contact forces and stress/strain concentration factors is the key innovation point beyond the state of the art.


The fellowship/employment will be for three years. There is some flexibility on the start date of each studentship, ranging from March to September 2020.


The researchers will receive a full salary in line with the rules for Innovative Training Network ( see https://ec.europa.eu/research/mariecurieactions/sites/mariecurie2/files/msca-itn-fellows-note_en_v2.pdf ) including contributions to pension scheme and health care. A mobility allowance is also provided to support travelling.

Eligibility criteria

Applicants must satisfy the eligibility rules stipulated by the Horizon 2020 Guidelines of the European Commission. In particular, they must not have performed their main activity in Belgium for more than 12 months of the 36 months preceding the position. Early-Stage Researchers must be in the first four years (full-time equivalent) of their research careers, starting at the date of obtaining the degree which would formally entitle them to embark on a doctorate.

Your application, with CV, names and contact information of at least two persons for reference, a list of publications (if applicable), and a summary of the M.Sc. thesis should be sent attached to your profile (application form) with subject “Application ECO-DRIVE”. The application should also include a complete academic record (credits and grades), including information on the grade point average, the maximum possible grade in the grading system that is in use at your university as well as the minimum passing grade. If possible, provide also a ranking within your class. Please make sure to combine all the documents in a single PDF file if possible.

The Organization

Siemens Industry Software N.V. (part of Siemens Digital Industries Software) is an engineering innovation company, with proven track record in the area of experimental, numerical and hybrid (mixed experimental-numerical) system modelling for noise, vibration, durability and fluid dynamics, performing substantial in-house research on advanced methods and applications. The RTD Drivetrain team is a research unit welcoming several international doctoral candidates .

Major responsibilities

As a research fellow you will be registered as a PhD applicant in the Department of Mechanical Engineering within the Leuven Mecha(tro)nic System Dynamics division (LMSD) ( https://www.mech.kuleuven.be/en/mod/research ) head by Prof. Dr. Wim Desmet ( https://www.kuleuven.be/wieiswie/en/person/00011973 ). Your major responsibility as a PhD student is to pursue your own doctoral studies and generate high-quality scientific research within the framework of the ECO-DRIVE project. This work includes developing scientific concepts and communicating research results both verbally and in writing. In addition to the research project, you are also expected to complete graduate courses in topics related to your research. As an ESR you will also have the possibility to improve your soft-skills by dedicated training and interact with the other members of the consortium and increase your international profile as a research specialist.


A suitable background is a Master of Science degree in engineering physics or mechanical engineering, or a 4-year B.Sc. degree from an engineering school in the USA. The position requires excellent oral and written communication skills in English. A Background in numerical modelling is a requirement. Experience in Structural FE modelling, Multibody simulation and/or state/input estimation is considered especially meriting.

Organization: Digital Industries

Company: Siemens Industry Software NV

Experience Level: Early Professional

Job Type: Full-time