PhD Position in Multi-Model State-Estimation for High-Dynamic Mechatronics
Catholic University of Leuven Noise and Vibration Research Group

The PhD is hosted by the KU Leuven Noise and Vibration Research Group, which currently counts 90 researchers and is headed by Prof. Wim Desmet ( and is part of the Mechanical Engineering Department, a vibrant environment of more than 300 researchers. The research group has a long track record of combining excellent fundamental academic research with industrially relevant applications, leading to dissemination in both highly ranked academic journals as well as on industrial fora. More information on the research group can be found on the website: and our linkedIn page:


This PhD is part of an internal KU Leuven project that aims to provide novel solutions for digital twins of high-dynamic mechatronic systems by effectively combining measurements and models of the system. In operational environments, classical modelling methodologies typically do not allow to sufficiently accurately predict a range of dynamic phenomena, whereas pure measurement approaches are often too expensive to be broadly applicable. The project therefore focuses on merging these two approaches to provide new solutions for digital twins in high-dynamic mechatronic systems. 
As a researcher within this project you will develop novel state estimation algorithms that allow to fuse dynamic measurement data together with model information. More in particular the focus will be on the integration of models of different subsystems in the estimation process. The developed scheme will not rely on an integration of these models into a single cosimulation model, but will rather leverage the fusing properties of the estimator to combine the different dynamic model responses. Particular focus will be on the extraction of data from higher order dynamic models, like structural finite-element and flexible multibody models. 


If you recognize yourself in the story below, then you have the profile that fits the project and the research group:
  • I have a master degree in engineering, physics or mathematics and performed above average in comparison to my peers.
  • I am proficient in written and spoken English.
  • During my courses or prior professional activities, I have gathered some basic experience with first principle modelling (1D/3D modelling) and state-estimation methodologies (Kalman filtering and/or moving horizon estimation), and I have a profound interest in these topics. 
  • I have a particular interest in high-dynamic applications, where structural vibrations and system level interaction come to the fore as key issues. 
  • As a PhD researcher of the KU Leuven Noise and Vibration Research Group I perform research in a structured and scientifically sound manner. I read technical papers, understand the nuances between different theories and implement and improve methodologies myself. 
  • Based on interactions and discussions with my supervisors and the colleagues in my team, I set up and update a plan of approach for the upcoming 1 to 3 months to work towards my research goals. I work with a sufficient degree of independence to follow my plan and achieve the goals. I indicate timely when deviations of the plan are required, if goals cannot be met or if I want to discuss intermediate results or issues.
  • In frequent reporting, varying between weekly to monthly, I show the results that I have obtained and I give a well-founded interpretation of those results. I iterate on my work and my approach based on the feedback of my supervisors which steer the direction of my research.
  • I feel comfortable to work as a team member and I am eager to share my results to inspire and being inspired by my colleagues.
  • I value being part of a large research group which is well connected to the machine and transportation industry and I am eager to learn how academic research can be linked to industrial innovation roadmaps.
  • During my PhD I want to grow towards following up the project that I am involved in and representing the research group on project meetings or conferences. I see these events as an occasion to disseminate my work to an audience of international experts and research colleagues, and to learn about the larger context of my research and the research project.


  • A remuneration package competitive with industry standards in Belgium, a country with a high quality of life and excellent health care system.
  • An opportunity to pursue a PhD in Mechanical Engineering, typically a 4 year trajectory, in a stimulating and ambitious research environment.  
  • Ample occasions to develop yourself in a scientific and/or an industrial direction. Besides opportunities offered by the research group, further doctoral training for PhD candidates is provided in the framework of the KU Leuven Arenberg Doctoral School (, known for its strong focus on both future scientists and scientifically trained professionals who will valorise their doctoral expertise and competences in a non-academic context. More information on the training opportunities can be found on the following link: 
  • A stay in a vibrant environment in the hearth of Europe. The university is located in Leuven, a town of approximately 100000 inhabitants, located close to Brussels (25km), and 20 minutes by train from Brussels International Airport. This strategic positioning and the strong presence of the university, international research centers, and industry, lead to a safe town with high quality of life, welcome to non-Dutch speaking people and with ample opportunities for social and sport activities. The mixture of cultures and research fields are some of the ingredients making the university of Leuven the most innovative university in Europe ( Further information can be found on the website of the university:


To apply for this position, please follow the application tool andenclose:

1.      full CV – mandatory

2.      motivation letter – mandatory

3.      full list of credits and grades ofboth BSc and MSc degrees (as well as their transcription to English ifpossible) – mandatory(when you haven’t finished your degree yet, just provideus with the partial list of already available credits and grades)

4.      proof of English proficiency(TOEFL, IELTS, …) -if available

5.      two reference letters - ifavailable

6.      an English version of your MSc orPhD thesis, or of a recent publication or assignment - if available

For more information please contact prof. FrankNaets ( by mail and mention C2_Estimation in the title.

You can apply for this job no later than May 31, 2020 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: May 31, 2020
  • Tags: Ingenieurswetenschappen
  • Download: file

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