PhD Scholarships in the Future Resilient Systems (FRS) program

Through the Singapore-ETH Centre (SEC), ETH partnering NTU, NUS and SMU has launched the CREATE program on Future Resilient Systems (FRS) and ICRM is leading the NTU-side effort. Asia is undergoing massive growth of its urban areas along with corresponding growth of its critical infrastructure systems such as for water, transport, communications and power, all of which are essential for building and supporting societies.

The resilience of these infrastructure systems to hazards or shocks, whether naturally triggered or otherwise then becomes critical for ensuring the health and safety of the population. Developing an understanding of the resiliency of infrastructure systems is complex in that the infrastructure systems are individually themselves large and inter-linked and they can exhibit totally unexpected system responses which can even result in cascading failures across the entire system.

That such infrastructure systems are also managed by human organizations further brings the element of social-technical interactions in the system response. The development of needed understandings for improving the robustness and resilience of these systems requires novel, integrative and holistic approaches along with coupled social-technical perspectives which the FRS program aims to achieve.

A number of PhD scholarships are available at ICRM under the FRS program leading to the award of the PhD degree from NTU, Singapore. Please see below for further information and application details.

All the PhD scholarships are available until awarded and applications are to be submitted through NTU’s Interdisciplinary School (IGS) at Qualified applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the relevant faulty member for additional details of the specific research topic.

In your application, please select Interdisciplinary Graduate School – 186F IGS-Sustainable Earth as your first choice, ICRM as the host institute, and indicate the faculty member who you wish to be your potential supervisor.

Growth and Evolution of City Infrastructure Submodule (1 PhD positon)

Taking recent work on the science of cities, this submodule aims to develop quantitative relationships between city infrastructure growth and city growth with focus on energy and power infrastructure and their patterns with urban city growth. Different approaches and perspectives will be integrated to deduce new scalings or dependences of urban indicators with growth parameters such as population. The use of geospatial and remotely sensed data will also be developed.

This research work will lead to a PhD degree from NTU, Singapore. The candidate should have a strong Masters, 2nd upper class Honours or equivalent, from a reputable university in relevant fields such as Urban Engineering, Urban Studies, Civil Engineering or Computer Engineering and with some background in quantitative modelling of the dynamics of urban city infrastructures. Demonstrated good computing and analysis skills are a plus.

Please indicate your interest by sending your CV, statement of research interest and other relevant information to Prof. Edmond Lo at

Organizational Interdepencies (2 PhD Positions)

This doctoral scholarship specifically aims to study organizational interdependence that constitutes resilience of sociotechnical system. The main objective is to map out the structures of organizational interdependence within a sociotechnical system using social network approaches. Proven skills in quantitative method are required.

Please indicate your interest by sending your CV, statement of research interest and other relevant information to Prof. A. Sulfikar at

Socio-Technical Systems Modeling (1 PhD Position)

This doctoral scholarship aims to develop a computational model of sociotechnical system. The model will be designed to have ability to simulate critical conditions and mechanisms for recovery. The candidate must have excellent computational skills and interests in social organization. A degree in physics, mathematics, or engineering is strongly required.

Please indicate your interest by sending your CV, statement of research interest and other relevant information to Prof. A. Sulfikar at

Additional PhD Scholarships are available at ICRM/NTU in the FRS program for the following areas:

Efficient Physical Infrastructure Modeling (up to 4 PhD positions)
– Please contact Prof. J. Cheung at or Prof Wang Peng at for details.

Infrastructure Systems Risk Monitoring, Detection, and Control (1 PhD position)
– Please contact Prof K. Xiao at for details.

Purchase/investment Decisions (1 PhD position)
– Please contact Prof Y. Chang at for details.

Usage Behaviour (1 PhD position)
– Please contact Prof G. Ceorgios at for details.

Instrument Choice (1 PhD position)
– Please contact Prof E. Quah at for details.

Additional PhD Positions under SEC, Singapore in the FRS program

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PhD Position in Infrastructure Modeling - System Integration

The infrastructure modeling submodule aims at developing a prototype distributed modeling and simulation system, providing a platform to let stand-alone models interact and to perform "system-of-systems" simulations. The candidate works on a project to improve the conceptual design of federated model interactions, to improve high-level data structures for data exchange, and to improve time granularity coordination.

The project is expected to set up a prototype system, following e.g. the HLA architecture, and to create a test-bed for system-of-systems simulation, that is expandable. Candidates should have a Master degree in computer science with experience in distributed systems. They are willing to live and work in Singapore for the duration of their "Future Resilient Systems" project.

PhD Position in Physical Infrastructure Modeling

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The project will mainly focus on the efficient physical modeling of complex interdependent systems and infrastructure networks, particularly power grids, including their cascading failure. The project will: (1) evaluate a reasonable degree of functional decomposition to reliably predict key measures of performance (KMOP), (2) to achieve an optimal trade-off between model simplicity and close-to-reality representation of system behavior; (3) develop, implement and evaluate the predictive power of alternative failure aggregation mechanisms. Our guiding idea is to model both physical and human system components as agents, interacting in an agent-based, open-source modeling system.

Candidates should have a Master degree in electrical engineering or systems engineering with programming experience. They have a strong interest in agent-based modeling of complex socio-technical systems. Candidates are willing to live and work in Singapore for the duration of their "Future Resilient Systems" project.

PhD Position in Socio-Technical Systems Modeling

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Technology and its operating organization are a compound to be studied as an inseparable whole. The project aims to (1) develop a novel model that represents mutual interactions between social and technical entities within the system, covering the range from the operator to the management, (2) design mechanisms to generate endogenous organizational disruptions, (3) explore system responses for a variety of disruption scenarios; (3) assess the practical implications of the results of socio-technical modeling with end-users.

The guiding idea is to bring the Systems-Theoretic Accident Model and Process (STAMP) approach together with normal accident theory (NAT), high-reliability theory (HRT), and actor network theory (ANT) to model interactions with supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems.

Candidates preferably have a Master degree in Industrial Engineering, including experience in human factors (ergonomics) and systems dynamics modeling. Alternatively, they have a degree in Systems Engineering, and a strong interest in human factors. They are willing to work and live in Singapore for the duration of their "Future Resilient Systems" project.

For further information on the SEC PhD postions please contact Prof. Hans. R. Heinimann by e-mail (no applications). We look forward to receiving your application.

Please submit your personal records (letter of motivation, CV, testimonials and the contact information of two referees) via the online application portal on ETH zürich job portal ( by clicking the button “apply now” with attention to: ETH Zurich, Mr. Rolf Oertli, Human Resources, CH-8092 Zürich. Deadline for application: until the position is filled.