PhD Position on Computed Tomography for Automation in Food Processing
Catholic University of Leuven

The MeBioS division consists of a large team of young, dynamic and enthusiastic researchers that investigate novel non-destructive techniques to measure and analyse different quality aspects of foods, contributing to food security and sustainability goals. We develop advanced techniques based on X-ray computed tomography and image analysis for internal quality assessment. Our research is published in high impact journals and results in innovative solutions that are implemented in industry. We offer a stimulating work environment for those who are interested in scientific research on the verge of fundamental and applied research. KU Leuven is a world-class university that is ranked 45 on the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.


Processing of food products is complex because they are three-dimensional (3D) and microstructured materials. Composition and microstructure of food determine important quality attributes related to taste and texture. Both can vary considerably between and within individual food products. Spatially resolved information of composition and structure of the food will therefore aid and improve processing. To this end, surface (shape) and internal features (structure) are relevant. For each of these, dedicated sensor techniques (such as 3D vision and X-rays) have recently been developed, be it in controlled lab conditions. However, integrated solutions that are compatible with processing line conditions are lacking.

In this PhD project you will conduct research to achieve the implementation of an inline spatially resolved imaging concept to assess internal food quality through differences in internal and external structure and composition. You will work with the top-notch X-ray CT imaging facility of KU Leuven an deploy advanced image processing tools, including deep learning approaches, for 3D food structure modelling and dedicated inspection applications. The integrated solution that you will design(a combination of sensors and advanced processing algorithms) will perform operations that are traditionally done by human operators combining their eyes and brain. Integrated in future automated processing lines the solution will lead to increased resource efficiency and profitability in food production. You will collaborate with technology industry and end-users to test and validate the applications.


The lab is looking for a motivated PhD candidate who is eager to become part of a highly visible international interdisciplinary team to perform cutting-edge research. You have a critical mind and you have good affinity with mathematics and computer programming. You are required to have a Master degree (or equivalent) in (bio-science) engineering or physics.


The lab offers you a 4 year PhD position. The lab will support you in all aspects in order to successfully obtain a PhD degree and a proper scientific training. You will be given opportunities to participate at national and international meetings. Leuven is a vibrant city in the heart of Europe close to Brussels, with a unique blend of rich historic background and high-tech entrepreneurship. With more than 40 000 students it provides a vibrant environment for both research and living.


For more information please contact Dr. ir. Pieter Verboven, tel.: +32 16 32 14 53, mail: or Prof. dr. ir. Bart Nicolai, tel.: +32 16 32 23 75, mail:

You can apply for this job no later than January 15, 2021 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: January 15, 2021
  • Tags: Bio-ingenieurswetenschappen

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