The demand for access to very low-level airspace is growing rapidly, as more drones are taking to the sky every day for leisure or professional services (e.g. inspections and data collection, public safety and security, parcel delivery, and urban air mobility). The resulting increased traffic levels and new forms of traffic will introduce combinations of diverse communication technologies (ADS-B, FLARM, LTE/5G), flight and speed patterns, etc., and will therefore lead to unprecedented levels of heterogeneity and complexity, requiring further automation, connectivity, and interoperability.

The expectation that these unmanned flights will, in time, also share the airspace with manned (e.g., GA) flights further stresses the need for a high level of safety, and a good level of awareness of nearby vehicles for all involved actors. As part of your PhD you will work in the EU-funded CERTIFLIGHT project, which aims to develop such services. Your role in this project will be related to separation and collision avoidance methods that will be implemented on limited (on-board) hardware devices.

Next to your work in the CERTIFLIGHT project, your PhD research will also specifically investigate the impact of the performance, accuracy, and availability of such services on the system-level safety, stability, efficiency, and capacity characteristics of autonomous separation. You will publish your results in leading, peer-reviewed journals. These publications will be combined in your final dissertation.

The first thirty months of your PhD will involve working in an international (EU-funded) consortium, which will give you the opportunity to cooperate with major players in drone research and industry and build an extensive network already during your PhD.

You will be working in the Control and Simulation (C&S) section of the faculty of Aerospace Engineering. The C&S section of the faculty of Aerospace Engineering aims to advance the development of autonomous control systems and combined human-machine systems in aerospace, building on a solid theoretical basis and physical insights while exploiting theoretical progress in adjacent fields, and to validate these systems experimentally in world-class facilities, effectively closing the loop between theory and practice.

C&S aims to be a leading research group in the integration, development and testing of new theories on control, autonomous and cognitive systems (with and without human elements).


The PhD position is funded by the Horizon-Europe CERTIFLIGHT project. You will be working in an international consortium, which means that good proficiency in the English language (spoken and written) is required. Furthermore, the position requires an MSc in Aerospace Engineering, Aeronautics or a comparable degree, thorough knowledge of air traffic management, flight operations, as well as excellent programming (Python, C++, …) and mathematical skills. Preferably you also already have experience in writing scientific reports and papers.

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 € 2541 per month in the first year to € 3247 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)

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context.

At TU Delft we embrace diversity as one of our core values and we actively engage to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

Challenge. Change. Impact!

Faculty Aerospace Engineering

The Faculty of Aerospace Engineering at Delft University of Technology is one of the world’s most highly ranked (and most comprehensive) research, education and innovation communities devoted entirely to aerospace engineering. More than 200 science staff, around 250 PhD candidates and over 2,700 BSc and MSc students apply aerospace engineering disciplines to address the global societal challenges that threaten us today, climate change without doubt being the most important. Our focal subjects: sustainable aerospace, big data and artificial intelligence, bio-inspired engineering and smart instruments and systems. Working at the faculty means working together. With partners in other faculties, knowledge institutes, governments and industry, both aerospace and non-aerospace. Working in field labs and innovation hubs on our university campus and beyond.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering.

Additional information

For information about this vacancy, you can contact Joost Ellerbroek, Assistant Professor, email:,

tel: +31 152789613

Application procedure

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply before 30-11-2022 via the application button and upload your motivation and CV.

  • A pre-employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.
  • Applying for an exemption for specific research and educational areas is an obligatory part of the selection procedure for this vacancy. This exemption must be obtained from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) before an employment contract is agreed upon. Click here for more information.
  • You can apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post.
  • Acquisition in response to this vacancy is not appreciated.


Faculty of Aerospace Engineering








€ 2.541,00 – € 3.247,00


University graduate



 Apply Now

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