PhD position at Delft University of Technology TUDelft, The Netherlands

PhD Position in Forensic Biomechanics at TuDelft, Netherlands, May 2022

The Netherlands

PhD Fellow position to develop physical and computational biomechanical models that enable forensic investigators to verify or exclude potential causes of head injuries observed in infants at the Faculty of Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands, May 2022.

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General Info

Position: PhD Fellow
No. of Positions: 1
Research Field: ,
Deadline to Apply: Expired
Joining Date: ASAP
Contract Period: 4 Years
Salary: € 2443 - € 3122 (per month)

Faculty of Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering

Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), the Netherlands


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Qualification Details


  • Fluent language skills, both in Dutch and in English. This is required because you will have to work with Dutch and international police and forensic experts, may have to interview Dutch people who were involved in relevant cases and must be able to review case reports in Dutch and to communicate your findings with the Dutch legal field.
  • Solid skills in mechanical design & engineering. Preferably using SolidWorks.
  • Experience with gathering and processing kinetic and kinematic data, preferably with optical and inertial (IMU-based) tracking.
  • Good programming skills in Python and/or C++, and some in Matlab, as this is what our code is in now.
  • Experience with multibody dynamics and musculoskeletal modeling, preferably with OpenSim
  • Strong scientific, ethical, independent attitude.
  • Scientific acumen and curiosity.


  • Affinity with the forensic field, and even better... with the specific project topic.
  • Experience in publishing in scientific journals.
  • Original ideas for the proposed project.

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.

Responsibilities/Job Description

Abusive head trauma is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in infants. The injury mechanisms are controversial and include various forms of violence such as blunt force impact, shaking and compression. Victims may present with subdural or retinal haemorrhages and various degree of brain injury, often with unclear history. Commonly in such cases there are also other injuries indicative of abuse, such as fractures and bruises. Yet, signs of direct impact to the head are often lacking. Forensic experts have varying views on whether violent shaking alone, without impact to the head, may cause severe intracranial injuries, not the least because there is little reliable biomechanical data available. Due to this, it is can be very difficult to assess whether a child can be safely left with their caretakers or should be taken away from the parents, nonetheless, these are life or death decisions. Combining physical (doll) models and computational models may be the key to solving this long-lasting debate.

The goal of your PhD study will be to develop physical and computational biomechanical models that enable forensic investigators to verify or exclude potential causes of head injuries observed in infants.

The envisioned steps in this project will be to:

  1. Develop a physical infant mannequin for measurements in lab-settings.
  2. Develop a computational model of the physical mannequin .
  3. Validate the computational model against the physical mannequin .
  4. Validate the mannequin and model against infants and/or animal models.
  5. Gather kinematic data through volunteers studies.
  6. Verify mannequin and model against cases with known injuries and causes.

You will be working in the BioMechanical Engineering department's groups Innovations for Justice & Safety and the Computational Biomechanics Lab.

How to Apply?

Application Method: Online Application
Ref. No.: TUD02204

Application Procedure

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply by May 15th, 2022 via the application button and upload your motivation and CV.

A pre-employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.

You can apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post.

Acquisition in response to this vacancy is not appreciated.

About the Department

The Faculty of 3mE carries out pioneering research, leading to new fundamental insights and challenging applications in the field of mechanical engineering. From large-scale energy storage, medical instruments, control technology and robotics to smart materials, nanoscale structures and autonomous ships. The foundations and results of this research are reflected in outstanding, contemporary education, inspiring students and PhD candidates to become socially engaged and responsible engineers and scientists. The faculty of 3mE is a dynamic and innovative faculty with an international scope and high-tech lab facilities. Research and education focus on the design, manufacture, application and modification of products, materials, processes and mechanical devices, contributing to the development and growth of a sustainable society, as well as prosperity and welfare.

About the Employer:


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.

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Contact details

For more information, please contact Arjo Loeve [email protected]).

For more information about the selection procedure, please contact Anita Van Vianen, HR advisor ([email protected]).

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