Research Position in Electronic Navigation Charts

Catholic University of Leuven Department of Mechanical Engineering

The Robotics research at KU Leuven Department of Mechanical Engineering has pioneered robotics research in Europe since the mid-1970s. It has covered virtually all aspects of sensor-based robotics, from the high-level task specification down to low-level sensor-based control, and applied the research results in a variety of industrial applications. In the last decade the group shifted its attention towards advanced industrial robot assistants, and active sensing. The Intelligent Mobile Platform (IMP) group is a multi-disciplinary and multi-campus research group originating from the robotics research with a focus on the intelligent design and control of the mobile platforms of the future with a special focus on waterway transport applications. The industrial relevance of the department's research activities is witnessed by its many spin-off companies and its tradition of close industry collaboration in numerous European, national, and bilateral projects.


ENC have been existing in the inland shipping sector for some decades now. Initially the paper chart were concerted to a digital format and in a second stage

AIS and radar information was added to these charts using an overlay. This sensor information overlay however does not adapt the ENC database and can

therefore not be shared with other users. This research has to ambition to develop a new generation of adaptive ENC that is able to dynamically adapt the ENC database in

real-time therefore unlocking the full potential of sharing information between inland waterways users.   


  • Develop an offline algorithm to fuse point cloud data information with the IENC database information to obtain an ISENC+ database including additional attributes
  • Develop an algorithm to fuse realtime point cloud data with ISENC+ database information to obtain a dynamic ENC

Expected Results:

  • Offline automated merging procedure between gathered point cloud data and the ISENC database, leading to a new ISENC+ database
  • Optimized, merged algorithm to adapt the ISENC+ database online


Successful candidates:

  • hold a master’s in engineering science, computer science or engineering technology or any other comparable study with a solid mathematical background,
  • have a profound interest in uncertainty quantification, machine learning and numerical simulation,
  • have a working experience with coding in Matlab/Python/…,
  • like to  work in a multidisciplinary team of international researchers,
  • have a creative and problem-solving mindset and take initiative to conduct cutting-edge research in close collaboration with industry,
  • are fluent in English (both spoken and written) or willing to improve their language skills.

Further,due to eligibility criteria of the European Commission, following rules have to be taken into account:

  • The candidate must not have resided or carried out his/her main activity (studies etc.) in Belgium  for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to his/her recruitment. Short stays, such as holidays, compulsory national services (such as mandatory military service) and procedures for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention are not counted.
  • The ESR (early stage researcher) shall at the date of recruitment by the host organization, be in the first four years (full time equivalent research experience) of their research careers and have not been awarded a doctoral degree. The date is measured from the date when a researcher obtained the degree which would formally entitle him or her to embark on a doctorate, either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the researcher is recruited, irrespective of whether or not a doctorate is or was ever envisaged.


KU Leuven is among the top universities in Europe (ranked 48th in general and 45th in engineering according to Times Higher Education world university ranking).

We offer:

  • the opportunity to be part of a Marie Curie International Training Network including key autonomous shipping players in Europe
  • a research position in an enticing research environment at the cross-roads of numerical simulation, applied mathematics, mechanical engineering and computer sciense in close contact with key industrial partners,
  • an attractive salary package, complemented with multiple benefits (health insurance, access to university infrastructure and sports facilities, etc.),
  • a thorough scientific education,
  • the opportunity to participate at international conferences and the possibility to spend a research stay at one of our international contacts,
  • to work towards obtaining a PhD degree from a highly-ranked university and become a well-trained, independent researcher.

We encourage everyone to apply for the position. Since KU Leuven carries out an equal opportunity and diversity policy, we strive for full gender balance in the project


For more information please contact Prof. dr. ir. Peter Slaets, tel.: +32 16 32 27 73, mail:

You can apply for this job no later than November 01, 2022 via the
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at
  • Employment percentage: Voltijds
  • Location: Leuven
  • Apply before: November 1, 2022
  • Tags: Industriële Ingenieurswetenschappen
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