PhD position on Power Forecasting for Offshore Wind Farms

Department Environmental and Applied Fluid Dynamics
Deadline Sept. 30, 2022

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A PhD position is available at the von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics (VKI) in the Environmental and Applied Fluid Dynamics department, in the framework of the project BeFORECAST on the forecasting of offshore wind power including the effect of wind farm wakes.

Deadline: 1st Oct / Nov 2022, or as soon as practically possible afterwards
Duration of the PhD: 3 years, full-time

About the project BeFORECAST

The PhD is embedded in the BeFORECAST project, which investigates the forecasting of offshore wind power in the Belgian North Sea including the effect of wind turbine and wind farm wakes on power extraction. A specific focus is placed on advanced data handling and the assimilation of modern lidar sensors mounted on wind turbines and drones. BeFORECAST is funded by the Energy Transition Funds of the Federal Public Service Economy of the Belgian Federal Government. The project is coordinated by the VKI and will benefit from a strong collaboration between the consortium members consisting of VKI, VUB, KU Leuven, 3E, SABCA, and the Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium.

The successful candidate will focus on the following topics:

- Sensor data processing and correlation to high-impact weather events from mesoscale simulations

- Assimilation of novel data into high-resolution mesoscale models for wind power forecasting

- Development and benchmarking of wake models on wind turbine and wind farm scales

- Case studies on current and near-future Belgian offshore wind farms


You are a highly motivated and enthusiastic person with a passion for scientific research. You can work well independently as well as part of a team. You are strongly interested in fluid dynamics, meteorology, renewable energy, and wind energy specifically. You have manifested these skills through an excellent educational record and a highly graded MSc thesis.

You have

- An MSc in mechanical or aerospace engineering, computational physics, meteorology, or a related field

- Strong programming skills, for example in Python, MATLAB, or Fortran

- A good command of the English language, both spoken and written

Furthermore, experience in any of the following fields is a strong advantage

- Wind turbine wake modeling, e.g., with large eddy simulation or engineering wake models

- Use of mesoscale numerical weather prediction models such as WRF

- Data assimilation in numerical models

- High-performance parallel computing

- Development of CFD solvers


- A PhD scholarship at the VKI with, after successful completion, a PhD degree from one of the partner universities in BeFORECAST

- An exciting research-driven environment in an enthusiastic and growing team of young wind energy researchers led by prof. Jeroen van Beeck, dr. Sophia Buckingham, and dr. Wim Munters.

- The opportunity to become part of the VKI network with global access to industry experts and academics in the field of fluid dynamics, aerospace, propulsion, and energy conversion

- Access to specialized seminars and lecture series at the VKI.

- A flexible working culture with opportunities for partial homeworking.


Please consult the nationality eligibility criteria for all VKI students and staff at

VKI strictly adheres to the ethical standards of the European Charter for Researchers and Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers ( The VKI makes a strong commitment to host an international environment supporting research talent regardless of gender identity. We strongly encourage everyone that meets the basic profile and nationality requirements to apply.

Contact information

For more information regarding the position or application procedure, please contact Wim Munters (Research Engineer and Project Coordinator) at

How to apply

Applications are submitted through the VKI job site. Applications submitted via mail will not be considered. Applications must contain

1. a motivation letter

2. a detailed CV, including any publications thus far. CV must clearly indicate the exact dates of (1) each position held in the past, and (2) countries of residence in the last 5 years. Please include your Diploma’s in the file to be submitted.

3. contact information of at least two references. We will only contact references after the first round of interviews.

4. a PDF of your MSc thesis or another scientific publication should be submitted under the “Research Vision” field.

All the fields (including pdf files and references) should be filled in to allow you to confirm your application. Only full applications will be considered. Please do not use white spaces or special characters to name your files. If you have not received a confirmation email, it means that you have not fulfilled all required fields.

Short-listed candidates are called for an interview with the search committee at the VKI. The selected candidate must comply with the internal procedures of the VKI before she or he can begin to work. The VKI reserves the right not to appoint a candidate if no suitable candidate is found.

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