Research Associate in Architectural Engineering
Catholic University of Leuven

(ref. BAP-2023-715)
The Department of Architecture ( is part of the Science and Technology Group at KU Leuven and coordinates the research on (interior) architecture, urban planning and spatial design at the Faculty of Engineering Science (Leuven) and the Faculty of Architecture (Sint-Lucas Brussels and Ghent campus). The department enjoys an international reputation and currently counts more than 150 (international) PhD students. The researcher will become a member of the research group of Architectural Engineering. The position is associated with the fundamental research project “HOME2” funded by the German Federal Research Fund on the development of circular interior fit out systems made exclusively from bio-based materials and with the research team of Prof. Jan Wurm (Sint-Lucas campus).


Join us in the next wave of sustainable architectural materials. Mycelium-based composites are a game-changer, offering cost-effective, biodegradable, and fascinating properties. Yet, their true potential remains untapped. 

Our research initiative is your chance to be at the forefront of innovation. We're developing carbon-neutral, lightweight acoustic partition walls using timber-mycelium composites. This project blends microbiology and architecture, merging cutting-edge design with scientific exploration. 

If you're passionate about sustainability and excited to explore the uncharted possibilities of mycelium-based materials, we want you on our team. Join us in reshaping the future of construction practices. 


Apart from carrying out the research for the project, your job will consist of:   

  • Joining Technology Development: Research, develop, and optimize innovative joining technologies for mycelium-based partition walls using computer-aided methods, ensuring robust and sustainable connections.  
  • Publishing your research in academic journals and presenting it at international conferences  
  • Develop design in 3D from concept to detail design stage up to realization of prototypes
  • Translating design requirements and manufacturing processes in integrated and scalable design solutions 
  • Developing design options and systematically evaluating against multi criteria matrix including aesthetical, technical, economic and ecological factors  
  • Visualizing and presenting design updates  
  • Compiling intermediate and final design report in English 
  • Support sampling and prototyping activities 


We are looking for an enthusiast, talented researcher with a particular interest in biomaterials and computational design, and an affinity with the structural and constructive aspects of architecture. You might be an ideal candidate if you: 

  • Have obtained a master degree in product design or relevant with (at least) distinction 
  • Are a designer with experience in interior fit-out systems and bio-based materials (mycelium materials preferred)  

  • Have good technical understanding of materials and production processes  

  • Are familiar with computer-aided design (CAD) and simulation tools for architectural and material modelling (e.g. Rhino, inventor, …) 

  • Are skilled in creative thinking and innovation to explore novel design and manufacturing concepts 

  • Function well in an interdisciplinary team but are also able to work individually  

  • Possess excellent communication and presentation skills in English, German is a bonus 

  • Interest in bio-design, lab experience is a bonus 


We offer an appointment as half-time research associate (50%, scale 43) in a creative and dynamic work environment of the highest academic standard. Youwill be appointed until the end of the project (October 2025). The contract canbe extended, depending on the funding opportunities and positive evaluations. 

  • You will spend at least one day per week at the Department of Biology in Leuven (Arenberg campus), where the experiments will be conducted. KU Leuven opts for hybrid working, whereby a combination of on campus (Leuven and Brussels/Ghent) and working from home is possible. 

  • With this appointment, you will become part of an international consortium of leading academic institutions in the field of microfabrication and digital fabrication.  

  • This position offers an interdisciplinary collaboration where you work closely with team members from microbiology, architecture, and engineering disciplines, fostering effective communication and knowledge exchange to bridge the gap between fields. 

  • The starting date of the position is envisioned as soon as possible (depending on the appointment possibilities) in 2024. 

  • As it is a part-time position, this is an ideal opportunity for designers who want to establish their own design studio. 


Within this position, you will be part of KU Leuven, a university where 13,000 colleagues together make top-level teaching and research possible. This includes an exciting work environment that offers opportunities to build your experience and develop your skills. In addition, various initiatives are taken, locally and centrally, to ensure the well-being and satisfaction of colleagues in this work environment. 


To apply for this position, please provide us with a motivation letter, a CV (including 2 references), and a portfolio demonstrating previous work and research experience before the 20th of November. Please select your materials in function of this vacancy. Generic applications will not be considered. All documents need to be submitted in English. 

Successful candidates will be invited for a live interview in Leuven/Brussels. In that case, you will receive the entire project description, which you are expected to have read carefully prior to the interview. The successful candidate will be informed in December.  
For more details, please contact Prof. Jan Wurm, mail: 
You can apply for this job no later than November 20, 2023 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: Deeltijds
  • Location: Leuven
  • Apply before: November 20, 2023
  • Tags: Architectuur
  • Download: file

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