PhD Position in Software Engineering
Catholic University of Leuven Department of Computer Science

The position is part of project that is a close collaboration between the DistriNet research group in Leuven and the M-Group in Bruges. The PhD position is mainly located in the Leuven campus, with frequent meetings and visits to the Bruges campus. The DistriNet Research Group DistriNet is an internationally renowned research group of the KU Leuven. The group is part of the Department of Computer Science and of the KU Leuven Security and Privacy Competence Center. With a headcount of over 80 researchers, we have built up expertise on a wide range of topics such as distributed software and autonomous systems, formal specification and verification, middleware for cloud computing, network and software security, software for embedded systems and smart devices. For more information, visit us at About the M-Group Research Group The M-Group is focused on the growing demand, by builders and users, for machines and systems to more advanced and fully integrated mechatronic systems. With a headcount of 25+ junior researchers and 3 senior researchers, the team is fast growing. Our competences relevant for this project are in the field of software coding (resilient software behaviour, functional safety, model-based development, embedded software, etc.) and dependable electronics (electromagnetic compatibility, mission- and safety-critical systems, virtual and physical testing, mission- and safety-critical systems, etc.). For more information about our ongoing research projects and other open positions, visit us at


Safety is a crucial concern for autonomous systems like robots, cars, drones, off-road vehicles, etc. While a myriad of studies today focus on perception and control, the new project called ‘SAFETEE’ project aims for a vertical, in-depth study of a full-stack software platform for decision making.

For this project, we are looking for several PhD students and a postdoctoral researcher to strengthen our team. The project includes research on studying safety requirements engineering, provably safe decision making, dependable middleware, and EMI-resilient hardware. A joint use case will be used to validate the individual research tracks as well as their integration. The use case is a mobile autonomous robot.

This specific PhD position will study the formal specification and verification of autonomous decision making of agents, accounting for safety constraints, in a context of non-deterministic actions and perception. This research may evolve towards bounded model checking or correct-by-construction policy generation. The results will be validated in a joint use case on the autonomous mobile robot.


For this position, we expect:
  • a master in computer science (or equivalent),
  • strong software engineering knowledge and expertise (for the record, if you are unaware of the difference between software engineering and programming, abstain from applying),
  • a strong interest in relevant areas (requirements engineering, system safety engineering, formal methods and verification, robotics),
  • an analytical mindset and technical skills,
  • fluent English communication skills.


We offer you...

  • a challenging research project on a topic that is cutting-edge and very timely!
  • a supportive and collaborative environment in which you can develop know-how and expertise in state-of-the-art technologies,
  • the opportunity to further develop research and innovation skills that are essential for a future career in industrial as well as academic research and development environments,
  • support in the further development of your competences to analyse strategic research problems and to architect and evaluate innovative solutions with industrial applicability,
  • a top-quality research and education environment at the KU Leuven High Tech Campuses in Leuven and Brugge.


For more information please contact Prof. dr. Tom Holvoet, mail:

You can apply for this job no later than October 30, 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: October 30, 2020
  • Tags: Computerwetenschappen

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