PDEng Position: Designing Monitoring Systems for Condition Assessment of Locks

University of Twente

, , NL


Would you like to contribute to improving the design of lock complexes in the Netherlands, thus making them more durable and resilient? Then, this Professional Doctorate in Engineering (PDEng) programme could be for you. The PDEng is a 2-year post-master’s degree technological designers programme. This programme at the University of Twente contains an educational part and a design project.

For the design project, you will work with Heijmans, a listed company that combines activities in property development, residential and non-residential building and infrastructure. Heijmans has one ultimate goal that lies at the heart of everything we do: creating a healthy living environment.

The challenge

The Beatrix lock complex is a very busy ship transportation node in Dutch canal network with the annual traffic of 44 000 ships. Its continuous operation is utmost important for nation’s economy, requiring strategic and excellent maintenance and operation schemes. The lock complex may remain safe to use and fit for purpose considering that it is used responsibly.

Designing engineering solutions for locks to withstand damages caused by poor/inadequate their usage or ship operators not follow certain regulations is expensive and infeasible. Thus continuous monitoring of the lock complex is advised. Monitoring could aid (a) developing and aligning operational guidelines of locks for operators, ships and asset managers, (b) and providing design recommendations of locks. Design recommendations could be incorporated in new design standards for future proof lock complexes, resulting in more robust designs that account for modern ships and climate change. Such initiative could keep nations infrastructure fit for purpose and safe to use, while having only planned maintenance activities.

The first step to achieve the goal is to understand how to measure and monitor forces and their extents generated by ship propellers. The next step is to develop a suitable monitoring system and collect in-situ data for damage characterization, propagation and prognosis of the lock complex. The design of a monitoring system has to be based on general understandings of maintenance methodologies.

The mission

“Design a monitoring system for condition assessment of the Beatrix lock complex”. The successful candidate is expected to take on the following tasks:

  • Systematically analyse the historic available data such as sonar scans of the canal bed
  • Review sensor technologies for measuring (i) forces and their resultants generated by ship propellor, (ii) ship draft/weight, (iv) terrain of the canal bed, and (v) surrounding conditions (cost effectively)
  • Design a sensor system for monitoring long-term performance (for conditions assessment) of the lock complex
  • Undertake site visits to perform measurements collections, together with the Beatrix lock maintenance team, of the current lock conditions
  • Analyse collected measurements and advise for improvements.


We are searching for the best MSc graduated with a proven affinity with design and multidisciplinary assignments. Besides, you have the ambition and talent to accelerate in finding solutions / crafting designs for complex civil technological issues with a multidisciplinary character.

Important skills and knowledge for the candidate are:

  • Proficiency in English and Dutch (desirable);
  • Communication and social skills;
  • The ability to work both individually and as a member of a team (collaboration);
  • The ability to take an initiative and self-reflect;
  • Priori skills in instrumentation and knowledge in sensor systems will be useful to successfully complete the project, but these can also be acquired in the educational program;
  • The affinity with structural monitoring, data analysis and IoT;
  • A desire to make an impact on the real-world engineering challenges.


We offer a contract for 24 months. During these two years you follow a tailor-made post-master design programme with a combination of education (50%) and working on a design project (50%).

  • A salary of € 1.970 gross per month.
  • An annual holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, and an annual year-end bonus of 8.3%.
  • A solid pension scheme.
  • Minimum of 29 leave days in case of full-time employment.

On successfully completing the programme, you will receive a certified and recognised degree. You will be entitled to use the academic degree Professional Doctorate in Engineering (PDEng) and will be registered as a Technological Designer in the Dutch register kept by the Royal Institution of Engineers in the Netherlands (KIVINIRIA).


Please send your application, with a curriculum vitae, a list with grades of courses attended, references and, if applicable, a list of publications relevant for the project before 3 May 2021. We will hold the first round of interviews in the week commencing 17 May 2021.

If you have any further questions about this position, please contact Dr Rolands Kromanis at [email protected] (telephone: +31 53 489 9331) or Prof. André Dorée at [email protected] General information about PDEng programmes you can find at http://www.utwente.nl/pdeng/en/  

About the project?

More information about the Beatrix lock complex and project is available in Dutch. Unfortunately, there is no English web version of the project details. The Beatrix lock complex is part of the Lek canal and is an important part of the route Antwerp – Rotterdam – Amsterdam. The lock complex was build in 1938 and fully renovated in 2019. Prior to the renovation a whole new, third lock chamber was build. Heijmans is part of the Sas van Vreeswijk consortium that is responsible for the renovation, third lock and maintenance of the whole lock complex.



The Faculty of Engineering Technology (ET) engages in education and research Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Industrial Design Engineering with a view to enabling society and industry to innovate and create value using sound, efficient and sustainable technology. We are part of a ‘people-first’ university of technology, taking our place as an internationally leading centre for smart production, processes and devices in five domains: Health Technology, Maintenance, Smart Regions, Smart Industry and Sustainable Resources. Our faculty is home to some 1,800 Bachelor’s and Master’s students, 400 employees and 150 PhD candidates and offers three degree programmes: Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Industrial Design Engineering. Our educational and research programme are closely connected with UT research institutes Mesa+ Institute, TechMed Centra and Digital Society Institute.

As an employer, the ET Faculty offers jobs that matter. We equip you as a staff member to shape new opportunities both for yourself and for our society. With our Faculty, you will be part of a leading tech university that is changing our world for the better. We offer an open, inclusive and entrepreneurial climate, in which we encourage you to make healthy choices, for example, with our flexible, customizable conditions.

University of Twente (UT)

University of Twente (UT) has entered the new decade with an ambitious, new vision, mission and strategy. As ‘the ultimate people-first university of technology’ we are rapidly expanding on our High Tech Human Touch philosophy and the unique role it affords us in society. Everything we do is aimed at maximum impact on people, society and connections through the sustainable utilisation of science and technology. We want to contribute to the development of a fair, digital and sustainable society through our open, inclusive and entrepreneurial attitude. This attitude permeates everything we do and is present in every one of UT’s departments and faculties. Building on our rich legacy in merging technical and social sciences, we focus on five distinguishing research domains: Improving healthcare by personalised technologies; Creating intelligent manufacturing systems; Shaping our world with smart materials; Engineering our digital society; and Engineering for a resilient world.

As an employer, University of Twente offers jobs that matter. We equip you as a staff member to shape new opportunities both for yourself and for our society. With us, you will be part of a leading tech university that is changing our world for the better. We offer an open, inclusive and entrepreneurial climate, in which we encourage you to make healthy choices, for example, with our flexible, customisable conditions.





IHE Delft Institute for Water Education - MSc in Water and Sustainable Development