PhD Fellowship in Automotive Audio Signal Processing

Catholic University of Leuven Department of Electrical Engineering

The Stadius Centre for Dynamical Systems, Signal Processing and Data Analytics is part of the Electrical Engineering (ESAT) Department at KU Leuven and hosts over 100 researchers. The digital signal processing team headed by Prof. Marc Moonen and Prof. Toon van Waterschoot is a subgroup of the Stadius Centre, in which signal processing research is carried out in the context of audio, speech, acoustics, and communications applications. The digital signal processing team currently hosts about 20 international PhD and postdoc researchers and participates in several nationally and internationally funded research projects, ranging from fundamental research to industry-funded applied research.


A PhD research position is available in the KU Leuven Electrical Engineering Department (ESAT), in the frame of the H2020 MSCA European Industrial Doctorates (EID) project “Intelligent Ultra Low-Power Signal Processing for Automotive (I-SPOT)” under the supervision of Prof. Toon van Waterschoot and Prof. Marian Verhelst. The PhD student will carry out applied research in the interdisciplinary field of signal processing, acoustics, and machine learning. The research will be executed in an international team of audio signal processing researchers at the Stadius Centre for Dynamical Systems, Signal Processing and Data Analytics of KU Leuven, and will involve an intense collaboration with the ESAT-MICAS research division at KU Leuven and a long-term research visit to the company Bosch in Germany. Initially a three-year MSCA Fellowship is offered, however it is anticipated that the position will be extended to a total of four years, which is the standard duration of a PhD research project at KU Leuven.


Smart autos need to process and react to different types of stimuli from the surrounding environment. This data sensing and processing is performed with the support of different sensors, gathered data and the proper hardware platform to process the received data and react properly to the simuli whenever required. The I-SPOT project targets audio stimuli and considers two important challenges: processing and localisation of the audio signal based on traditional signal processing as well as deep learning methods.

The I-SPOT EID strongly values research integrity, actively supports open access and reproducible research, and strives for diversity and gender balance in its entire research and training program. The I-SPOT EID adheres to The European Charter for Researchers and The Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers.
The PhD researcher will
  • carry out applied research on audio signal processing, involving algorithm design, implementation, and experimental validation;
  • monitor the work plan of her/his individual research project and make sure that milestones are achieved and deliverables are finalized in a timely manner;
  • actively participate in research meetings with the other I-SPOT EID researchers;
  • take part in the research meetings, seminars, etc. at the Stadius Centre;
  • enroll in a doctoral training program at the Arenberg Doctoral School, and adhere to the doctoral school's coursework requirements for PhD researchers;
  • assist in the supervision of Master thesis students;
  • perform a limited amount of teaching activities (max. 3h per week).


  • Candidates must hold a Master degree in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, or Engineering Acoustics (or equivalent), have a solid mathematical background (e.g. in matrix algebra, numerical optimization) and have taken specialized courses in at least one of the following disciplines: digital signal processing, audio signal processing, machine learning. Candidates who are in the final phase of their Master program are equally encouraged to apply, and should mention their expected graduation date.
  • Research experience (e.g. through Master thesis work or research internships) in audio signal processing is considered a strong asset.
  • Experience with scientific computing in Matlab, Python, or Julia is required.
  • Excellent proficiency in the English language is required, as well as good communication skills, both oral and written.
  • Candidates must satisfy the eligibility conditions for MSCA Early Stage Researchers, i.e., they must have obtained their Master degree in the past 4 years and must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Belgium for more than 12 months in the past 3 years.


  • A high-level and exciting international research environment.
  • A strong involvement in a European research project with high international visibility.
  • A PhD title from one of Europe's top universities (after approximately 4 years of successful research).
  • A thorough scientific education in the frame of a doctoral training program.
  • A competitive salary or tax-free PhD grant.
  • The possibility to participate in local as well as international courses, workshops and conferences.
  • The possibility to perform research visits to internationally renowned research labs in Europe.
  • A prestigious three-year MSCA Fellowship with the possibility of extension for a fourth year.


For more information please contact Prof. dr. ir. Toon van Waterschoot, tel.: +32 16 32 17 88, mail:

You can apply for this job no later than December 15, 2020 via the
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  • Employment percentage: Voltijds
  • Location: Leuven
  • Apply before: December 15, 2020
  • Tags: Elektrotechniek