Researcher in timber construction

Contributing to innovative building with timber in the construction industry. Envision it. Become a senior researcher in timber construction at TNO in Delft.



Education type



Hours a week

Fulltime – 40


Apply now


What will be your role?

The construction industry is facing a major challenge to boost sustainability. One increasingly popular solution is building with timber. As a lightweight, natural and circular material, timber has many advantages, from CO2 uptake to reduced nitrogen emissions. Countries such as Canada and Sweden have been happily using this excellent material for years and timber construction is now also taking off in the Netherlands. And this raises a multitude of research questions. As a real timber expert, you’ll carry out research to answer those questions. 

You’ll be involved in various multidisciplinary research projects, in which your knowledge of timber will be of huge value. One example of such a multidisciplinary project is the use of recycled timber in cross-laminated timber (CLT) construction. Relevant questions in this context include what streams of recycled timber are suitable for this use; how the quality (including constructive quality) of the new CLT product made with used timber can be defined and guaranteed; and what adhesives can be used sustainably.  You’ll take the time to deepen your knowledge of architectural standards, the properties and behaviour of various types of timber, and the challenges presented by the application of timber in hybrid design and construction. On that basis, you’ll devise new calculation rules to help companies active in timber construction to develop and optimise products, from floors and walls to complete residential units. The goal is to successfully create industrial products that meet government requirements, while also fulfilling the wishes of residents and users of buildings. And in view of the many types of timber, applications and construction systems, that’s a constant source of new challenges. 

What makes this position especially attractive is that you’ll have frequent contact with practical specialists from the construction industry as well as with TNO colleagues and other scientists. Your team is relatively new and in development. You’ll conduct research through desk research, in our laboratories or in field experiments and demonstrations. You’ll be working with professionals in the areas of fire safety, sustainability, wood technology, soundproofing, limiting moisture effects and production safety. Together, you’ll be doing pioneering work in timber construction and bringing innovative insights from the international market and the scientific community to Dutch builders. The result of your efforts will be a huge boost for sustainable and circular construction!
Read more about your unit: Buildings, Infrastructure & Maritime

Our Building Physics & Systems department carries out applied research in which we come up with innovative solutions that address socially relevant issues related to sustainability and the building sector. The department consists of a diverse, expanding team of some 45 professionals with a background in architecture, systems engineering, physics, and other disciplines. The department has two expertise teams (Building physics and Systems engineering). In addition to our own broad knowledge base, our knowledge of innovation processes and our laboratory, we draw on the knowledge of our colleagues in other TNO departments.

The department offers you varied work on multiple projects for a wide range of clients. The scope of the projects ranges from experimental research on new applications of technology, simulation and feasibility studies, and conducting and analysing measurement campaigns, right through to the actual building of prototypes and even end products together with industrial partners. Your activities are therefore very diverse and different every day. You’ll do all this in a close-knit team within a culture of openness and informality. 

How do you want to contribute to tomorrow's world? How big can your impact be? Come and work at TNO and envision it.

What we expect from you

First and foremost, you have a huge passion and enthusiasm for timber. To be successful at TNO, you also need a good dose of curiosity, always wanting to know ‘why’ and seeking the answers yourself. You’d like to be involved in building the team and helping it to make its mark in this field. You also enjoy sharing your findings with a diverse public, whether in a scientific publication or a meeting with a contractor who is active in timber construction. 
Other knowledge and skills you bring to TNO: 
  • A Master’s degree in civil engineering or architecture from a technical university. Preferably, you also have a PhD.
  • More than five years’ relevant work experience.
  • A clear affinity for timber construction, with knowledge of mechanics and preferably also materials science and designing in wood. 
  • You know how to carry out research studies and have up-to-date knowledge of modern research methods and techniques.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in Dutch and a good command of English.

What you’ll get in return

Challenging and varied work with a real impact. And plenty of opportunities as, at TNO, you are in charge of shaping your career. We offer a gross monthly salary between € 3,700 and € 6,000 (based on your knowledge and experience), 8% holiday pay, a 13th month bonus of 8.33% and a flex budget (5.58% + € 180). In addition, you will be given every opportunity to develop yourself.

TNO offers optional employee benefits, enabling you to tailor your benefits package to match your personal situation. You may also expect:
  • A good pension scheme.
  • Travel allowance or a bike.
  • An extremely professional, innovative working environment where colleagues are leading experts in their field.
  • 28 days annual leave and 5 compensation days under the reduction in working hours scheme (ATV, arbeidstijdverkorting) on a full-time basis.
  • Great social events with your team and other TNO colleagues. That’s how you will get to know a lot of people really quickly.
  • Flexible working hours and the possibility of working from home.
  • The opportunity to attend courses, workshops and conferences, and to receive training and coaching based on your needs.
  • Extensive relocation package for international candidates.
Read more about tailoring your benefits package.

TNO as an employer

At TNO, we innovate for a healthier, safer and more sustainable life. And for a strong economy. Since 1932, we have been making knowledge and technology available for the common good. We find each other in wonder and ingenuity. We are driven to push boundaries. There is all the space and support for your talent and ambition. You work with people who will challenge you: who inspire you and want to learn from you. Our state-of-the-art facilities are there to realize your vision. What you do at TNO matters: impact makes the difference. Because with every innovation you contribute to tomorrow’s world. Read more about TNO as an employer.

The selection process

Please apply before October 11. The selection process comprises two interview rounds. The preliminary interview takes place on October 18. The second interview round has been scheduled for October 25. In a final meeting we will discuss the terms of employment and your tailored benefits package. We aim to finalize the entire process within four weeks.

The selection process may include an online assessment and a reference check.

Has this job opening sparked your interest?

Then we’d like to hear from you! Please contact us for more information about the job or the selection process. To apply, please upload your CV and covering letter using the ‘apply now’ button.

Recruiter: Frank Bax
Mobile phone: +31 (0)6 113 20080

Hiring manager: Nancy Westerlaken
Phone number: 08886 63422

Note that applications via email and third party applications are not taken into consideration.


Apply now


Nancy Westerlaken MSc

  • Building Physics & Systems
  • Sustainability
  • Building Performance Modelling
  • Product And Concept Development

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