Vacancy at University of Antwerp: optimization methods for on-demand planning of public buses

The University of Antwerp Operations Research Group (ANT/OR) is hiring at least two full-time researchers on the topic of “optimization methods for on-demand planning of public buses”. Both pre-doctoral and post-doctoral researchers can apply.

These vacancies are part of a research project called “the future of pubic transport: towards a fully on-demand public bus system”. Even though many obstacles still need to be overcome, the ubiquity of mobile devices would for the first time in human history allow for a large-scale shift to on-demand public transport. However: the operational and tactical foundations that are required to implement an on-demand transportation system are still lacking. Even though a large majority of people now has the technological means to determine exactly where they are and transmit exactly where they want to go, the tools to plan all of these transportation requests have not been developed. Such a system would demand carrying out optimization on a scale never seen before, and will require not only modelling all the intricacies of an on-demand scheduling of passengers, but to develop new optimization algorithms and software components that can coordinate such a massive fleet of vehicles and vast number of passengers. The development of these algorithms and software components is the main aim of this project.

The ideal candidate has a master’s degree in computer science, mathematics, statistics, civil/business engineering or other related field of study. He/she has a strong background in operations research and statistics, computer simulation, as well as excellent programming and software development skills, and an excellent command of the English language. Previous experience with (meta)heuristic algorithms, discrete event simulation, and statistical modelling/analysis is highly valued. Post-doctoral applicants should have obtained a relevant PhD recently.

For pre-doctoral candidates, the successful candidate will receive a tax-free scholarship (of approximately 1900 euros per month) for a 4-year period, subject to yearly evaluation. He/she will enroll in the doctoral program of the Faculty of Applied Economics (Department of Engineering Management) and is expected to obtain a PhD degree by the end of the fourth year. There is a sizeable budget available for attending international conferences, advanced workshops and other courses. Although the focus of the position is mainly on research, the candidate might be asked to take part in some teaching activities. Post-doctoral candidates may be hired for shorter periods of time and will receive a somewhat higher wage.

The ANT/OR research group is a young and dynamic team that focuses on the development of optimization methods to solve decision-making problems in a wide variety of fields, ranging from logistics and supply chain, transportation and production planning, to humanitarian logistics and digital music. The group works in close collaboration with several industrial partners, non-profit organizations and other international research institutions. The University of Antwerp is home to around 20,000 students, of which 18% come from overseas. It is currently ranked number 10 in the “top 50 under 50”, i.e., universities in the world less than 50 years old. Antwerp is the second largest city in Belgium. It has one of the busiest ports in Europe and is the largest diamond trade centre in the world. This vibrant city is famous for its history, fashion industry, delicious food (beer, chocolate, fries, waffles ,…) and excellent quality of life.

Interested? Then please send the following documents (in a single zip file with your full name as the filename) by email to (1) a motivation letter, (2) a one-page document describing your views on the topic of “models and methods for on-demand planning of public buses”, and (3) a detailed CV. The deadline for application is May 31, 2018. You might be invited for an interview (either through videoconferencing, or in person) during the month of June 2018. The expected starting date is 1 October, 2018, but this is negotiable.

For more information about this position, you are welcome to contact Kenneth Sörensen (

Vacancy at University of Antwerp: optimization methods for on-demand planning of public buses