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PhD scholarship in the field of Robust Design and Production Process Capability Assessment (Denmark)

Drapeau DanemarkThe Department of Mechanical Engineering (DTU Mekanik) of the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) has an open PhD position in the field of Robust Design and Production Process Capability Assessment. The project is part of a large research programme in Robust Design sponsored by Novo Nordisk which contains 4 PhD projects, a Senior Researcher and a Professor.

When it comes to production, variance exists and variance costs! Robust design is a design activity that makes the function/performance of products, components, structures and mechanisms insensitive to variance. Variance can come from several sources, from manufacture/assembly tolerances, material properties, loading conditions, temperature/ambient changes and time related changes such as creep and wear. We see huge problems in industry due to a lack of design robustness, causing many damaging effects such as product failures and recalls, increased and unpredictable repair/servicing, and varying product quality and life. In addition, within the companies there are large consequences for a lack of robustness, such as long ramp-up times, missed launch dates, expensive and late design changes and a general lack of predictability around the reliability and performance of the products. The above effects make robust design one of the most essential and sort-after skills from Danish industry at the moment, giving large potential impact for the research and extremely good job prospects post PhD.

Responsibilities and tasks 
The PhD will be one of several PhD projects in a larger research programme of the newly formed robust design group, investigating into robust design and reliability. This particular PhD focuses on quantifying production process capabilities to allow designers to Design to Process Capabilities (DtPC) rather than simply specifying tolerance targets for production to try to achieve.

The project is also supported by Dansk Teknologisk Institut who work in metrology, 3D scanning and part verification. Through this partnership we hope to build a process capabilities data base by extracting data from part verification jobs. By linking how much the manufacture part varies from the specified CAD model, to the features and the production processes an accurate, realistic and scalable Process Capabilities Database is possible. Through this method it may be possible to bring Manufacturing towards the world of Big Data allowing for much more accurate variance predications. It may also enable companies to benchmark process capabilities against one another and to find the limits of what is currently achievable.

At Novo Nordisk, the sponsoring case company the PhD candidate will be positioned between design and production and will be a welcomed and valued member of the team, working with state of the art automated production facilities.

Candidates should have a master’s degree in engineering or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to the master’s degree in engineering. Industry experience and good knowledge of both mechanical design and production will be desirable. The candidate should have good mathematical/analytical skills. Basic programming skills would also be a bonus.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarships for the PhD degree are subject to academic approval, and the candidates will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes of DTU. For information about the general requirements for enrolment and the general planning of the scholarship studies, please see the DTU PhD Guide.

The assessment of the applicants will be made by Associate Professor Thomas J. Howard according to the qualification requirements stated above.

We offer
We offer an interesting and challenging job in an international environment focusing on education, research, public-sector consultancy and innovation, which contribute to enhancing the economy and improving social welfare. We strive for academic excellence, collegial respect and freedom tempered by responsibility. The Technical University of Denmark (DTU) is a leading technical university in northern Europe and benchmarks with the best universities in the world.

Salary and appointment terms
The salary and appointment terms are consistent with the current rules for PhD degree students. The period of employment is 3 years.

Further information 
Further information may be obtained from Associate Professor Thomas J. Howard (, tel.: +45 4525 4741.

You can read more about Department of Mechanical Engineering on

Please do not send applications to this e-mail address, instead apply online as described below.

Please submit your online application no later than 23 January 2014, 23:59 pm CET. Applications must be submitted asone pdf file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link « Apply online, » fill in the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one pdf file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and excel spreadsheet here)

Candidates may apply prior to ob­tai­ning their master’s degree, but cannot begin before having received it.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

DTU Mechanical Engineering covers the fundamental engineering disciplines within Naval Architecture and Offshore Engineering, Energetics, Solid Mechanics, Fluid Mechanics, Thermodynamics, Control and Engineering Design, Hydrodynamics, Structural Engineering and Materials. It has a scientific staff of about 100 persons, 100 PhD students and a technical/administrative support staff of 80 persons.

DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and public service. Our staff of 5,000 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society; and our 9,000 students are educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent academic university collaborating globally with business, industry, government, and public agencies.


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