PhD Student Position SMART Detection and Real-time Learning in Water Distribution Systems (4.2)


In areas with state of the art drinking water production facilities and distribution systems, fresh drinkable water is as a rule well available and of excellent quality. However, there are situations where the water treatment and distribution process are disturbed due to technical failures, accidents or natural causes. Contamination of drinking water due to these disturbances can have sincere effects for municipal life. In the worst case, hazardous components can reach the end-users. Detecting these disturbances quickly combined with proper mitigation strategies can minimize the impact. 

Research challenge
For the multi-objective challenge of safe drinking water, robust maintenance and energy-efficient water supply, the integration of smart detection and alarming systems, including a.o. dense sensor networks, soft sensoring, real-time learning, hazard prediction, communication and mitigation strategies, in water distribution networks is indispensable. Most common issues in drinking water distribution networks are covered with standard detection techniques, but it is possible to obtain much more information from existing sensor data when combining and processing data streams in real-time. In this way the resulting information per sensor is much higher, since additional information is obtained from the dynamic relationship between sensors. The specific problem tackled in this project is how to process the noisy and perturbed real-time data streams from the water distribution sensor networks for pattern recognition, optimization of the sensor network, correction of missing data (back-casting) and increase of intelligence in the network, leading to better (automated) management. 

We are looking for a candidate with a sound theoretical background in Applied Mathematics, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science or a similar academic level, with high affinity to fundamental (mathematical) and applied signal processing, network theory and experimental validation in water-distribution networks. 

Our offer
Doing a PhD in the Netherlands takes 4 year.
You earn a salary to make a living.
In year 1 the salary is €30.674, in year 4 €39.214 before tax.
The amount of paid holiday days is 35/year. 

The project will be running in the Smart Water Grids theme of Wetsus.
The following companies are part of the theme: Vitens, Oasen, Brabant Water, PWN and Aquaint (all Dutch companies). 

Promotor: Jaap Molenaar, Wageningen University (Mathematical and Statistical Methods).
For more information contact Doekle Yntema ( 

Wetsus, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands

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