PhD Research Positions for Highly Motivated Candidates on The Perception of Light and Color in Virtual Reality

Catholic University of Leuven

The Light&Lighting Laboratory of the KU Leuven has two fully funded PhD positions available for research on the visual perception of light and color in virtual reality. Funding is available for 4 years through a research grant of the Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO). KU Leuven is a highly international university that ranks among the best in the world in terms of research and innovation. It is spread over several campuses in Flanders (Belgium), with the Light&Lighting Laboratory ( located at the Technology Campus in Ghent. The main research topics of the of the laboratory are optical design of luminaires, energy-efficient indoor lighting, innovative light sources, color/appearance of materials and light sources and radiometric and photometric metrology. The laboratory features advanced measurement equipment, necessary to perform doctoral research and to offer support towards the industry. Currently 20 people are involved in the research group (10 PhD students) and more than 70 companies are member of an industrial network. The laboratory also has a broad international network, is an active contributor to the work of the International Commission on Illumination (CIE) and the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES), and is a partner in the European Master program ‘Imaging and Light in Extended Reality (IMLEX)’.


Understanding and predicting the perception and appearance of light and color in realistic scenes is one of the ultimate goals of color science. Advances in virtual reality provide the opportunity to use highly realistic stimuli in an unprecedentedly controlled way, making it a promising innovative, efficient and economical research tool with potentially groundbreaking consequences for the study, understanding and prediction of perception of realistic scenes. However, current knowledge and understanding of how (well) color perception in virtual reality corresponds to that in actual reality is limited. This project aims to experimentally characterize and compare major, not yet fully understood, aspects of color perception (chromatic adaptation, simultaneous contrast and spatial effects) in actual and virtual reality to deepen our understanding of these fundamental processes and to establish mathematical models to predict perception in real and virtual environments.

The work will involve among others continuous literature and technology review, setting up experiment setups in real and virtual environments (3D renderings presented on head-mounted displays), performing psychophysical experiments, programming, statistical analysis of results, color appearance modelling, presenting results and conclusions at scientific conferences and in peer-reviewed journal publications.


We are looking for enthusiastic, highly motivated, well-organized and detail oriented candidates with the degree Master of Science, Master of Engineering or Master of Engineering Technology, with strong computer science and analytical skills, and with a strong interest in lighting, visual perception, optical measurements and virtual reality. In addition to a scientific research attitude and the ability to work autonomously and as part of a team, well-developed written and oral communication skills in English are also required. Experience in one or more of the following are a plus: virtual reality, computer graphics, rendering, 3D modeling, and visual perception research. The start of the PhD is subject to an  academic approval of the candidate. 


We offer a fulltime paid PhD position for 1 year, starting as soon as possible. After positive evaluation, the PhD position will be extended for up to 4 years. Applications should be submitted through KU Leuven’s online platform.


For more information please contact the head of the Perception Group of the Light&Lighting Laboratory, Prof. dr. Kevin Smet: email: (tel.: +32 9 331 66 99). 

You can apply for this job no later than March 16, 2021 via the
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  • Employment percentage: Voltijds
  • Location: Gent
  • Apply before: March 16, 2021
  • Tags: Industriële Ingenieurswetenschappen