JRC-VUB PhD Scholarship in Battery Characterization and Modeling

Category:  PhD

1 - Working at the VUB and the JRC

For more than 50 years, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel has stood for freedom, equality and solidarity, and this is very much alive on our campuses among students and staff alike. 


At the VUB, you will find a diverse collection of personalities: innovators pur sang, but above all people who are 100% their authentic selves. With some 4,000 employees, we are the largest Dutch-speaking employer, in the private sector, in Brussels; an international city with which we are only too happy to connect and where (around) our 4 campuses are located. 


Add to this our principle of free research - in which self-reflection, a critical attitude and an open, creative mind around scientific and social issues are central - and you have a university that is fundamentally groundbreaking and pioneering in education and research. In short: the VUB all over again. 


Moreover, the VUB is a member of EUTOPIA, an alliance of like-minded European universities, all ready to reinvent themselves.


The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the science and knowledge service of the European Commission. It provides independent, evidence-based science and knowledge, supporting EU policies to positively impact society. 

The Directorate for Energy, Transport and Climate provides support to Union policies in the field of sustainable, safe, secure and efficient energy production, distribution and use. Fostering sustainable and efficient mobility in Europe and providing scientific and technical analyses in support to integrated air quality, climate and related policies are also in the area of activities. 

The Unit “Battery and Hydrogen Technologies” of this Directorate it based in Petten (the Netherlands). It performs scientific research in the fields of battery and hydrogen technologies in support of related European Commission policies. These technologies are enablers of the transition towards less carbon-intensive and hydrogen-inclusive EU energy and transport systems, but it is important to assess their performance, sustainability and safety, to maximize their positive effects. 

The Unit achieves its objectives by combining pre-normative experimental research and desktop analytical activities. It is directly involved in selected Commission energy, industrial, mobility and research and innovation policies.

2 - Position description

The Faculty of Engineering, Department Elektrotechniek en energietechniek, is looking for a PhD-student with a doctoral grant. 


More concretely your work package, for the preparation of a doctorate, contains: 

  • Experimental study of battery performance, durability, and safety.
  • Physics-based holistic prediction tool development for electric vehicle (EV) and Light Means of Transport (LMT; E-Bikes, E-Scooters, etc.) battery technologies. 
  • Provide input to secondary legislation for battery performance and durability.
  • Writing technical reports and scientific articles. 
  • Attending National and International conferences. 
  • Supervise bachelor and/or master student projects (if needed).


3 - Profile

What do we expect from you?


  • You must have a Master’s degree from an academic institution in Energy, Chemistry, Physics, and Electrical or Mechanical, or a relevant Engineering program.

  • You must have proficient knowledge in at least one programming language (Matlab/Python) with a proven experience record.
  • You are expected to know the market available Li-ion battery technologies.
  • Experience with predictive model development is a plus.
  • You should also have very good communication skills in English (both oral and written).
  • You should have the ability to carry out tasks both independently and within a team.


You should, prior to the start of the employment contract with the JRC:


Candidates who are already enrolled in the doctoral study program with VUB for fewer than 12 months can also be considered eligible. 
The selected candidate will have no more than 6 months from the request for confirmation of interest in the position, to produce proof of enrolment in the doctoral study program.


The JRC reserves the right to request additional documents in order to ensure compliance with all requirements and specific rules applicable to JRC sites.


The selected candidate must also be recognized as medically fit to carry out the work activities foreseen. To this end the candidate must undergo, in advance and independently, the medical checks specified by the JRC.

4 - Offer

Are you going to be our new colleague?


The PhD project is jointly supervised by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission in Petten, the Netherlands. You will stay the first 6 months of the thesis at VUB and then transfer to the JRC for 18 months. Finally, you will return to VUB to finalize the thesis. The total duration is expected to be 36 months (extendable up to max. 48 months if needed).

Applications should be submitted to VUB who will handle the first stage of the recruitment (pre-selection). Shortlisted candidates will then have a second interview by the JRC in cooperation with VUB for the final selection.

After successfully defending their thesis, you will receive the PhD title from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.


You’ll be offered a full-time PhD-scholarship, for 12 months (extendable up to max. 48 months, on condition of the positive evaluation of the PhD activities), with planned starting date 01/07/2024. 


You’ll receive a grant linked to one of the scales set by the government.


IMPORTANT: The effective result of the doctorate scholarship is subject to the condition precedent of your enrolment as a doctorate student at the university.


At the VUB, you’re guaranteed an open, involved and diverse workplace where you are offered opportunities to (further) build on your career.


As well as this, you will also enjoy various other benefits: 

  • Extensive homeworking options, a telework allowance of 50 euros per month OR an internet fee of 20 euros per month;
  • An open and informal working environment where attention is paid to work-life balance, and exceptional holiday arrangements with 35 days of leave (based on a fulltime contract), closure between Christmas and New Year and 3 extra leave days;
  • Cost-free hospitalisation insurance;
  • Full reimbursement of your home-to-work commute with public transport according to VUB-policy, and/or compensation if you come by bike; 
  • A wide selection of meals in our campus restaurants at attractive prices;
  • Excellent and affordable facilities for sport and exercise, a range of discounts via Benefits@Work (in  all kinds of shops, on flights, in petrol stations, amusement parks...) and Ecocheques; 
  • Nursery near campus, discount on holiday camps; 
  • The space to form your job content and to continuously learn through our VUB learning platforms and training courses;
  • And finally: great colleagues with a healthy drive.


You will also have the opportunity to take part in cutting-edge research work with European partners. The PhD is linked with a granted European Project where you will take part in advanced research.

More information is available at www.vub.ac.be under the heading ‘future employees’.

The JRC Petten site is part of the Energy & Health Campus located 70 km North of Amsterdam in a natural reserve in the dunes on the Dutch coast. The JRC Petten has approximately 250 staff from across the EU; the working language is English.

During your stay in Petten, you will be employed by the JRC as a Grantholder (GH) Category 20. The working benefits are:

  • 1 day of teleworking/week; 
  • Gross salary € 42.339,96 and mobility allowance of € 600,-/month (taxable)
  • Holidays according to Dutch legislation: 24 days/year, plus 18 public holidays incl. closure between Christmas and New Year;
  • Complimentary company bus from Alkmaar and Amsterdam;
  • Mandatory sickness insurance (ca. 150 €/month);
  • A wide selection of meals in our campus restaurants at attractive prices;
  • Children from the age of 4 have free access to the European School in Bergen;
  • Learning & Development courses available in agreement supervisor;
  • Tax adviser and filing tax declarations paid by JRC;
  • Access to JRC sports groups;
  • Great colleagues with a high science spirit.


While the scientific work will be the clear priority, you will also gain insights into EU policy making. The work on Light Means of Transport (LMT) batteries foreseen during the PhD is expected to have a direct impact on secondary legislation on minimum performance and durability requirements mandated by the Batteries Regulation EU 2023/1542.

5 - Interested?

Is this the job you’ve been dreaming of?


Then apply, at the latest on 30/04/2024, via jobs.vub.be, and upload the following documents:

  • Your brief CV (signed);
  • Comprehensive details of your academic portfolio;
  • Your diplomas;
  • Your transcripts and scores;
  • Two recommendation letters;
  • Your cover and motivation letter.


The selection recruitment and security clearance processes are subject to EU and national applicable legislation (1) and to the internal rules and regulations of the EU Institutions. The recruitment of third-country nationals is also subject to the issuance by the Member State where the JRC site is located of a residence and work permit for the period of the stay at JRC.

In addition, the JRC will ask the selected candidate to provide the following supporting documents if selected: 

  • Updated CV – signed
  • A recent (not older than 6 months) and original criminal record abstract of the country or countries of which you are a national AND of the country or countries where you resided for at least one year during the two years preceding the recruitment
  • if applicable: Visa (the JRC will support the candidate with the administrative procedure for obtaining the residence/work permit)
  • Copy of student’s passport or identity card
  • Legal entity form and financial identification form duly filled in, signed, and dated 
  • If relevant: marriage certificate and birth certificate of children. 

Studies / Experience certificates:

  • Copy of the university degree/s and
  • Proof of enrolment in a university doctoral studies programme. This proof must be provided before the Grantholder contract may start and within six months from the date of the position's offer.

The JRC reserves the right to request additional documents in order to ensure compliance with all requirements and specific rules applicable to JRC sites.

You must also be recognized as medically fit to carry out the work activities foreseen. To this end you must undergo, in advance and independently, the medical checks specified by the JRC.


Do you have questions about the job content?

Contact Dr. Md. Sazzad Hosen, md.sazzad.hosen@vub.be and Prof. Dr. Maitane Berecibar, maitane.berecibar@vub.be


Would you like to know what it’s like to work at the VUB? Go to jobs.vub.be, and find all there is to know about our campuses, benefits, strategic goals and your future colleagues.


Would you like more information about EUTOPIA? Go to eutopia-university.eu, and read more about the role of the VUB in the development of the EUTOPIA alliance.


(1) Including Directive (EU) 2016/801 of 11 May 2016 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of research, studies, training, voluntary service, pupil exchange schemes or educational projects and au pairing.


You can contact the person mentioned in the job description.