PhD scholarship in Robust Decision Making for the Management of Large Engineering Projects

DTU Management Engineering
Thursday 30 Mar 17

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Apply no later than 15 May 2017
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DTU Management Engineering invites applicants for a 3-year PhD position starting as soon as possible and at the latest 1 September 2017.

This project focusses on improving the management of large-scale engineering projects, such as design, build and operation of transportation infrastructure, energy generation and distribution system, modern production infrastructure or other complex socio-technical Engineering Systems. The project will be executed in close cooperation with industry and government partners and can be shaped according to the candidates preferences. This may include for example effectively dealing with critical risks and uncertainties that regularly destabilize large engineering projects and are currently not or only partially covered by existing approaches, for example regarding early-stage technology, project governance, socio-political factors, or public perception.

The innovation contribution of the project lies in analysing engineering project management process requirements from a project resilience and Robust Decision Making perspective, understanding the capabilities and capability gaps of existing methods, and proposing novel processes and methods for extending resilience- and Robust Decision Making-related project management capabilities.

The PhD project hosted by DTU will focus on 1. Descriptive case studies and associated theory consolidation on adaptive-resilient engineering project management processes; 2.concept development and prototypical implementation of resilient management practices and 3. evaluation of impact and documentation in practice standard or handbook.

This is an international project and will be based at DTU’s Engineering Systems Division and is part of the division’s research in the field of advanced engineering project risk management. The project will be carried out in close collaboration with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and will lead to a Double Doctorate Degree by DTU and NTNU. While having DTU Management Engineering as the home institution, the PhD student is expected to spend a significant amount of time (a total of approximately one year) at NTNU (Trondheim, Norway) as part of the dual degree program.

The Engineering Systems Division is growing fast and is characterised by collegial, energetic staff and strong research collaboration with leading universities and industrial companies worldwide. Our research focuses on understanding and improving the ways in which engineering systems are designed, managed, and operated throughout their life cycles. Research in the group spans the boundaries of engineering and design, project management and the related policy and strategy processes. Risk and uncertainty management is one of the cross-cutting research themes.   

This PhD project will be closely linked to a related PhD project hosted by NTNU. Both PhD projects constitute a DTU-NTNU tandem project titled “Systemic Resilience: Adaptive Processes for the Engineering and Construction of Complex Socio-Technical Systems”. It aims to extend the concept of technical resilience to the resilient management of complex engineering projects.

Responsibilities and tasks
The PhD student will be responsible for liaising with NTNU’s research project while focusing on the following tasks: 

  • Conducting literature review on resilient and adaptive engineering project management techniques, including Robust Decision Making;
  • Developing case studies highlighting current challenges;
  • Conceptualizing resilience-focused project management techniques and implementing them as prototypes;

Consolidating the findings in both actionable as well as academic formats in close collaboration with the related NTNU PhD project.

Candidates should be highly motivated and hold a master's degree in engineering or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to the master's degree in engineering. For this specific project, similar relevant degrees can for example focus on project management, construction management, risk management, public engagement or decision making strategies.   

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 Josef Oehmen and Professor Anja Maier.

We offer
We offer an interesting and challenging job in an international environment focusing on education, research, scientific advice 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.


  • DTU Lyngby Campus, Denmark
  • NTNU Trondheim Campus, Norway (for a total of approximately 1 year

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Associate Professor Josef Oehmen, email You can read more about the Engineering Systems Division on   

Please submit your online application no later than 15 May 2017. Applications must be submitted as one 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, including your research activities and ideas for the research project (cover letter, max 3 pages)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and copies of your original BSc/MSc diploma, certificates, and lists of subjects with your results as well as their official translation into English
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and excel spreadsheet here)
  • Two reference contacts who may be contacted by the assessment committee

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 Management Engineering contributes actively to the development of management tools and optimisation of processes by using and re-thinking theoretical engineering perspectives, models and methods. Through our research and teaching we ensure an innovative, competitive and sustainable organisation and use of technologies within areas such as energy and climate, transportation, production and health, both domestic and abroad. DTU Management Engineering has 340 employees; including an academic staff of 190 and more than 70 PhD students. More than 20 % of our employees are from abroad and in all 38 different nationalities are represented at the Department.

DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and scientific advice. Our staff of 5,800 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society; and our 10,300 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent academic university collaborating globally with business, industry, government, and public agencies.