PhD Airborne, 3-D model and indoor air quality

  • Challenge: Reduce airborne transmission during pandemics.
  • Change: Use of a multidisciplinary approach towards improving indoor environments.
  • Impact: Allow for healthier and safer designs of indoor spaces.

Check this vacancy on the TU Delft website. 

Job description

In 2021, Erasmus MC, TU Delft and Erasmus University Rotterdam have joined forces in the Pandemic and Disaster Preparedness Center (PDPC). The PDPC brings together national and international expertise in the fields of virology, public health, climate, technology and social and societal impact, with the aim to better prepare society for future pandemics and disasters. The focus is on a long-term research agenda that contributes to reducing vulnerabilities and build resilience through effective disaster prevention, preparedness and recovery measures. Convergence of the technical, medical and social sciences is essential for developing the next generation of approaches to disasters and pandemics and limit the impact of future crisis. PDPC therefore promotes a proactive integrated scientific approach that identifies risks, develops scenarios, builds and tests innovative models, and provides scientifically based policy advice.

One of the frontrunner projects in the PDPC is about predicting, measuring and quantifying airborne virus transmission, because the ability to spread via the air is a key determinant of pandemic potential of zoonotic respiratory virus infections. Quantification of infectious viruses in air and assessing their transmission potential via small or large respiratory droplets is crucial for risk assessments of zoonotic and pandemic outbreaks but is notoriously difficult to perform. The aim of this frontrunner project is to develop methods to predict and quantify the airborne transmission potential of viruses, based on model studies, experiments and outbreak research, that may lead to novel and improved mitigation strategies.

This interdisciplinary project brings together scientists from the fields of medicine, virology, epidemiology, public health, exposure science, engineering, physics and electronics in 4 interconnected work packages. For one of these work packages (WP4) a PhD candidate is recruited here. Based on previous studies and input from the other three WPs, and in cooperation with the other 3 PhD’s, you will develop a 3-D model for the distribution of different sizes of droplets exhaled by an infection person in an enclosed space for different ventilation regimes, different cleaning techniques and different environmental conditions (temperature, relative humidity, air velocity) through open-source CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) deterministic modelling, and experiments in the Experience room of the Senselab as well as in a Living Lab. Moreover, you will develop ways to improve the indoor air quality (for example by a prototype of a ventilation (cleaning) system for a common indoor space) and test these ways in a Living Lab. Research techniques applied can comprise of visualization, chemical monitoring, observation and human assessment (e.g. questioning, focus groups).


  • Completed MSc degree in aerospace, mechanical engineering, building engineering or a related discipline.
  • Has affinity with assessment of indoor environments, ventilation systems and CFD modelling.
  • The ability to work in a team, take initiative, be result oriented, organized and creative.
  • Good command of verbal and written English.

Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.

Conditions of employment

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2443 per month in the first year to € 3122 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation.
TU Delft (Delft University of Technology)

Additional information

For more information about this vacancy, please contact Philo Bluyssen, email:

For more information about the application procedure, please contact Julia Kreuwel, HR Advisor,

The position will remain open until the 22nd of August, 2022 (local Dutch time: UTC time + 2 hrs). You must apply via the “Apply now” button. Applications via e-mail will not be processed.

Application procedure

To apply, please submit the following documents, all compiled into a single pdf file by Augustus 22, 2022:

  • A detailed CV including a list of publications (if any)
  • A short motivation letter (addressing your interests and describing how you fit in the advertised position).
  •  Your graduate transcripts.
  • A proof of English language skills.
  • An abstract of your MSc thesis.
  • The names and contact details of two references (letters not required at this stage).

Please note

  • You can apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post.
  • A pre-Employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.
  • Acquisition in response to this vacancy is not appreciated.

Let’s go!

This application process is arranged via the TU Delft website. Make sure to apply before August 22.

Apply now