Date Posted
17 Apr 2024

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PhD Project
University of Trento

MSCA-ITN PhD Student – Early Stage Researcher 3: Thermoplastic material instabilities

17 Apr 2024

NOTE: this position listing has expired and may no longer be relevant!

Position Description


The University of Trento is seeking to appoint one high-calibre Early Stage Researcher (ESR) to join the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network – European Industrial Doctorate RE-FRACTURE2 ‘Modelling and optimal design of refractories for high temperature industrial applications for a low carbon society’.

Early Stage Researcher 3: Thermoplastic material instabilities


Fixed-Term – 36 months: from 1st November 2021 to 31st October 2024


The RE-FRACTURE2 project is an Innovative Training Network (ITN) funded within the Marie Sklodowska-Curie action by the Framework Programme of the European Union for Research and Innovation Horizon2020. Innovative Training Networks (ITN) drive scientific excellence and innovation. They bring together universities, research institutes and other sectors from across the world to train researchers to doctorate level.

This project aims to train motivated international Early Stage Researchers (ESRs), through the international collaboration of Industry and Academia. At the end of the project, the participating researchers are awarded with the PhD title – European Industrial Doctorate (EID).

The objective of the project is to derive new computational models for refractory materials, which will make possible for the first time to simulate in-silico their behaviour over the whole of working temperature range. These models will be a breakthrough in the design of components like refractory nozzles, plates, ladle and tundish slide gate systems, which will directly translate to energy savings, waste reduction and decreases in pollution and CO2 emission, together with safety improvements.

The Role

ESR3 will be enrolled on the PhD programme in “Engineering of Civil and Mechanical Structural Systems” at the University of Trento. The ESR will perform research on the “Thermoplastic material instabilities”, supervised by Prof Andrea Piccolroaz at University of Trento (Italy) and by Vincent Boisdequin at Vesuvius Group SA (Belgium).

About UNITN: The Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering (DICAM) at the University of Trento (UNITN) pursues high level scientific and teaching objectives, regarding research and training, in line with the most important research-intensive universities. DICAM also promotes significant interrelations with public authorities and private companies, at local, national and international level. DICAM’s mission is laid down in the following specific targets: i) the promotion of research in key areas of Engineering; ii) the training of engineers and researchers of the future generations. It has achieved an excellent position, in the 251-300 group, in the World University Ranking 2019 and it is 36th in the University in the Europe Teaching Rankings.

Further information about the PhD project is below:

Title: Thermoplastic material instabilities

Objectives: The PhD student will analyse material instabilities for thermoplastic materials, which are fundamental tools to predict failure initiation, while fracture mechanics dominates at later stages of deformation. The analysis of material instability and crack propagation will be developed in view of the application to the ceramic materials and refractories. Loss of ellipticity of the developed constitutive thermoplastic operator will be addressed together with the perturbative approach for homogeneous states near failure and with techniques developed in fracture mechanics.

Expected Results: (i) Analysis of the loss of ellipticity of the developed constitutive thermoplastic operator; (ii) Formulation of a micromechanical damage mechanism influenced by high temperature and thermal couplings; (iii) Application of the perturbative approach to deformation states close to failure conditions.

Planned secondments: The student will spend the initial 18 months after his enrolment at UNITN, in order to deepen his/her knowledge in this field. During the following secondment period of 18 months at VESUVIUS, the fellow will investigate the industrial applications of the proposed approaches.

The other Consortium partners:

About VESUVIUS: Vesuvius Group SA (VESUVIUS) is a global leader in the supply of specialized refractory products and packaged technology solutions to the steel making, foundry and glass industries, employing more than 12,000 people in 90 different countries. Vesuvius develops and produces highly specialized Flow Control Systems packages which contain advanced refractories and devices for the controlled casting of liquid steel mainly for the process of continuous casting in steel plants. R&D activities at Vesuvius Ghlin site include fundamental research in refractory material characterization on thermomechanical behaviour and material modelling by finite element analysis, in addition to continuous research to advance the state-of-the-art in flow control equipment and technology. These activities support the essential contribution of Vesuvius towards realizing the targets of the steel industry to produce high quality steel at the lowest possible energy consumption, hence reducing CO2 emission and production cost.

About BU: University of Belgrade (BU) is the oldest and largest university in Serbia and the in the ex-Yugoslavia area. Mechanical Engineering Faculty is formed as separate faculty (from previous Technical faculty) in 1948, since when it became the largest engineering faculty. Mechanical engineering faculty by that time consisted of three departments: department of general machines, railway and naval department and aeronautical department. In the year 1955 first time the doctoral studies were introduced. Nowadays the Faculty consists of 24 departments, which represent the main educational and research units, with total number of students in all 5 years of undergraduate studies equal to about 3000. Majority of the departments are having research connected with computational mechanics, optimization of mechanical systems, structural analysis, experimental methods for assessment of structural damages etc.

About CAEmate: CAEmate is a rapidly growing hi-tech company active in the development of innovative software solutions and cloud applications targeted to engineering workflow automation. The company employs the most advanced technologies in object oriented programming, cloud-computing and numerical simulation (FEA, CFD, DEM) to improve efficiency and safety in the engineering design procedures. The company is located in Bolzano, in Northern Italy.

The successful candidate will be a team player, prepared to work closely with the Project’s senior staff and other ESRs. The successful candidate will receive a prestigious fellowship and will benefit from a wide-ranging training programme and activities, which will encompass:

– Being part of a network of leading scholars working on innovative technologies for heat resistant devices.
– Regular training schools pertaining to both, technical skills on topics in heat resisting devices relevant to the scope of the RE-FRACTURE2 project, and a range of transferrable skills (research management, communication, dissemination, etc.).
– A secondment to one of the partners in the RE-FRACTURE2 consortium.
– Establishing a professional network in academia and industry.

Duties & Responsibilities

1. Undertake postgraduate research in support of the agreed doctoral research project.
2. Work closely with the academic and industrial supervisors to ensure the compatibility of the individual project with the overall goals of RE-FRACTURE2.
3. Disseminate the research outputs through publications in international journals.
4. Present the research at major international conferences to both academic and non-academic audiences.
5. Communicate the results of the project through outreach activities.
6. Attend and participate in academic and non-academic conferences, events and seminars.
7. Attend and participate in all training events and supervisory meetings.
8. Be seconded to other network partners as necessary to fulfil the grant obligations.
9. Prepare progress reports and similar documents on research for funding bodies, as required.
10. Contribute to the delivery and management of the wider Programme, including attending and participating in programme committee meetings.

As job descriptions cannot be exhaustive, the ESR may be required to undertake other duties, which are broadly in line with the above duties responsibilities.



Successful candidates will receive a salary/fellowship in accordance with the MSCA regulations for Early Stage Researchers. The exact salary/fellowship will be confirmed upon appointment and will amount:

– living allowance: € 3,413.88 per month (before employer and employee deductions)

– an additional taxable monthly mobility allowance of € 600.00

– if applicable an additional taxable monthly family allowance of € 500.00 subject to the family status of the appointee.

Funding is guaranteed for 36 months. In addition to their individual scientific projects, the successful candidates will benefit from further continuing education, which includes internships and secondments, a variety of training modules, as well as courses on transferable skills and active participation in workshops and conferences.

Eligibility criteria

All candidates must meet the following requirements to be considered for this post:

– Researcher status: Early-Stage Researchers (ESRs) shall at the time of recruitment by the host organisation be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers and not yet have been awarded a doctoral degree. Full-time equivalent research experience is measured from the date when a researcher obtained the degree which would formally entitle him or her to embark on a doctorate, either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the researcher is recruited.

– Nationality: Applicant ESRs can be of any nationality.

– Mobility requirements: At the time of recruitment by the host organisation, researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of their host organisation for more than 12 months in the three years immediately prior to the recruitment date. Compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays are not taken into account.

Selection process

The selection and recruitment processes of the ESRs will be in accordance with the European Charter and Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers and guidelines described in the Grant Agreement of the RE-FRACTURE2 project. The recruitment process will be open, transparent, impartial, equitable, and merit-based. There will be no overt/covert discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or belief, disability or age. To this end, the following selection criteria for the recruitment of the ESRs will be considered:

Curriculum vitae
Academic performance (diplomas, university transcripts, etc.)
Research and industrial experience
Awards and fellowships
Publications and patents
Research, leadership, and creativity potential
English knowledge
Reference letter
Other relevant items based on the specific candidate

The applications will be reviewed and the shortlisted candidates will be invited to a Skype/MS Teams/Zoom interview. The position remains open until filled.

Further Information

For more information about the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions – Innovative Training Networks (ITN) including Eligibility Criteria see:

For more information about the post, please contact:


By applying to this position, you give consent to circulate your application within the consortium members.

Offer Requirements

REQUIRED EDUCATION LEVEL: Engineering: Master Degree or equivalent


– A first-class Master’s degree (or equivalent) in Solid and Structural Mechanics, Civil/Structural/Mechanical Engineering or a related discipline.
– A sound background in solid mechanics, material mechanics, and experience in coding.
– Excellent written and verbal communication, including presentation skills.
– Highly proficient English language skills.
– Excellent organisational skills, attention to detail and the ability to meet deadlines.
– Ability to think logically, create solutions and make informed decisions.
– Willingness to work collaboratively in a research environment.
– A strong commitment to your own continuous professional development.
– Ability to travel and work across Europe.

How to apply

Candidates must include the following:

– a copy of the Master’s and Bachelor’s certificates and the respective Transcripts of Records;

– the summary of the Master’s degree thesis;

– a letter of motivation;

– at least one presentation letter by a previous scientific supervisor;

– a declaration regarding the country where they have resided or carried out their main activity(work, studies, etc.) in the 3 years immediately prior to the date of application;

– a research proposal consistent with the purpose of the research, in which the candidate explains how he/she would develop the research topic;

– a professional-scientific CV, demonstrating their skills and ability to conduct the research program described in this call. The CV must be dated and signed by the applicant; ideal CV format is European format, because of its contents. In particular, academic degree, list of publications, working experience have to be clearly expressed, by following the principles of relevance, completeness and discretion in disclosing personal data;

– the publication list and any additional certificate or qualification that helps demonstrate their merit (the list of qualifications and publications must be signed by the applicant);

– a copy of their ID card or other form of identification.

How to Apply

Position Category: Engineering. Position Type: PhD Project. Salary: €40'000 - €50'000.