Selasa, 07 Juli 2009

[beasiswa] [Info] An overview of all Phd topics Science, Engineering and Technology- KU Leuven



An overview of all Phd topics Science, Engineering and Technology

Laser ultrasonic and photothermal research of heterogeneous structures
Promotor: Christ Glorieux

Description: Laser excited acoustic and thermal waves have the interesting property that they can deliver information about material properties on locations which are inaccessible for other techniques. In this research we study reflection, transmission, diffraction and nonlinear effects of thermal and elastic waves from the sub-Hz till GHz range using heterodyne diffraction, stroboscopic interferometric imaging, IR thermography and advanced data processing techniques (Gabor transformation, neural network recognition). In this way, in a non-contact way, it is possible, besides the elastic characterization of materials, to determine their depth sturcture, and to detect and identify sub-surface defects.
Contact: christ.glorieux@fys.kuleuven.be
http://perswww.kuleuven.be/~u0005780/vacature_ATF_mei2006_english_smaller_file.pdf



Key words: laser ultrasonics, photoacoustic and photothermal techniques, ultrafast phenomena, nanostructure, microstructure, non-de

Latest Application date: 2009-12-19

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Source of Funding: research projects

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://perswww.kuleuven.be/~u0005780/vacature_ATF_mei2006_english_smaller_file.pdf

Research group: Department of Physics and Astronomy

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Photothermal, dielectric and laser ultrasonic investigation of frequency dependent thermophysical properties of soft mat
Promotor: Christ Glorieux

Description: The transition from a liquid to a solid state of matter sometimes goes along with a colorful and complex pallet of physical properties, which leads to interesting technological applications. Molecules in liquid crystalline compounds (LCD-displays) are aligning or show a liquid-like layered structure. Supercooled liquids (polymers, heat storage materials, speed-dependent mechanical coupling fluids) behave solid-like or liquid-like depending on the time scale of observation. Some materials (memory alloys) have a shape memory when cooling. In some gels the elastic wave velocity is extremely small, leading to spectacular effects. Using thermal, elastic and dielectric spectroscopy we study these strongly frequency and temperature dependent thermo-elastic phenomena in the sub-Hz – GHz range. For this we use IR thermography, photopyroelectric spectroscopy, dielectric spectroscopy and laser heterodyne diffraction and optical interferometry.
Contact: christ.glorieux@fys.kuleuven.be
http://perswww.kuleuven.be/~u0005780/vacature_ATF_mei2006_english_smaller_file.pdf


Key words: visco-elastic materials, supercooled fluids, thermal, dielectric and elastic properties, all-optical techniques, complex

Latest Application date: 2009-12-19

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Source of Funding: research project

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://perswww.kuleuven.be/~u0005780/vacature_ATF_mei2006_english_smaller_file.pdf

Research group: Department of Physics and Astronomy

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Probing semiconductor devices on the atomic scale
Promotor: Wilfried Vandervorst

Description: Advanced concepts such as vertical transistors, SOI-based devices (gate all-around, dual gate,…) as well as deep submicron devices (70, 50, 35 nm…) can be viewed as the technology of the next 5-10 years. They all involve extremely complex processing and detailed engineering of the dopant distributions and use short time anneals, laser activation, outdiffusion from silicides, selective epi-growth as technological processes to cope with the demands of ultra shallow junctions, extremely high activation, controlled underdiffusion etc.. Unfortunately most of these processes are not very well understood and their description/ incorporation in process simulators is rather primitive. The latter has led to a strong need for characterization of these distributions in 1,2, (3) dimensions with extreme spatial resolution (< 1 nm?), sensitivity and quantification accuracy. Techniques emerging for these applications are based on Atomic Force Microscopy (Scanning Capacitance Microscopy, Scanning Spreading Resistance Microscopy, Nanopotentiometry, Conductive tunneling AFM,..) and Transmission Electron Microscopy. Each of these techniques represents a potential route towards satisfying the industrial needs but at the same time contains numerous challenges with respect to their fundamental aspects and basic understanding, practical implementation, data interpretation and impact on our basic understanding of process technology. Research topics suited for a Ph.D-thesis are related to the development of these concepts and encompass:

· fundamental studies of nm-sized point contacts (based on heterojunctions such as doped diamond/Si),

· basic modeling of the various measurement concepts (calculations of 2/3D-current or field, capacitance or potential distributions),

· basic studies of interaction mechanisms (how does a nm-sized point contact influence the potential distribution when one is imaging the potential distribution on an operational device),

· development and implementation of concepts such as force/time multiplexed AFM-measurements and their interpretation,

· development of a (Si-micromachining) based technology to fabricate AFM-tips with nm-sized contacts using doped diamond and extremely hard metals (including challenging concepts such as a dual probe/cantilever system) and

· basic studies of electron holography (TEM).

Suited for (several) students with a background in electronic engineering and/or physics. Depending on

interest and capabilities the Ph.D-studies are either fundamentally oriented or more experimentally

(eventually with a close interaction with process and device engineers).


Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-09-01

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship or salary

Link: http://www.imec.be/ovinter/static_student/student_EN.shtml

Research group: Department of Physics and Astronomy

Remarks: Since the PhD work will be performed at IMEC, please follow the instructions for application as indicated on the IMEC internet link http://www.imec.be/ovinter/static_student/student_EN.shtml. The starting date is indicative , but not strict. The contact person is contrary to the above, Mrs. Katrien Brees as indicated in the IMEC guidelines (phd@imec.be).So please don't apply via the "click here to apply to this project" below.

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Probing dopants in Ge-devices
Promotor: Wilfried Vandervorst

Description: With the renaissance of Ge-devices as appealing semiconductor structures, all basic processing steps (cleaning, doping, contacting, patterning,.) for standard CMOS technology need to be reevaluated. For Si-based technology this has been achieved through the concurrent development of essential characterization tools and their basic understanding. As such techniques like Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry, Spreading Resistance Probe Analysis and Scanning Spreading Resistance Microscopy for probing dopant incorporation, diffusion and electrical activation have been brought to resolution levels approaching the atomic dimensions. Extending the applicability of these techniques towards Ge-based devices, requires a re-investigation of their underlying fundamental mechanisms such as the ion-solid interactions (incorporation, oxyde formation, ionization mechanisms, ion-beam mixing,..), the electrical properties of nm-sized point contacts, pressure induced bandgap distortions, and optical response functions.
Within this Ph.D-study, these phenomena will be studied in relation to the basic properties of Ge (and their differences with respect to Si) with the goal of developing the necessary fundamental insight to support their application in Ge-based process technology. The aim will again be to provide concepts which are able to probe (activated) dopant distributions with near-atomic resolution in 1, 2 or 3-dimensional structures.


Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-09-01

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.imec.be/ovinter/static_student/student_EN.shtml

Research group: Department of Physics and Astronomy

Remarks: Since the PhD work will be performed at IMEC, please follow the instructions for application as indicated on the IMEC internet link http://www.imec.be/ovinter/static_student/student_EN.shtml. The starting date is indicative , but not strict. The contact person is contrary to the above, Mrs. Katrien Brees as indicated in the IMEC guidelines (phd@imec.be).So please don't apply via the "click here to apply to this project" below.

Apply to Click here to apply to this project

Theoretical Physics
Promotor: Désiré Bollé

Description: The candidate is expected to do research leading to a PhD in one of the following fields of theoretical physics: string theory, mathematical physics, disordered and biophysical systems. For more detailed information, see http://itf.fys.kuleuven.be/php/en
The supervisor will be one of the permanent staff members of the Institute for Theoretical Physics (see http://itf.fys.kuleuven.be/php/en/people)

Key words: theoretical physics, string theory, mathematical physics, disordered and biophysical systems

Latest Application date: 2009-07-10

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship or salary

Source of Funding: K.U.Leuven FLOF or K.U.Leuven AAP

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://itf.fys.kuleuven.be/php/en

Research group: Department of Physics and Astronomy

Remarks: Four positions are currently available. The positions are given for 2 + 2 years. The candidates are expected to be Dutch speaking or to be able to teach in Dutch within 1 year.

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Research in Declarative Languages and Artificial Intelligence
Promotor: Maurice Bruynooghe

Description: The research group DTAI (Hendrik Blockeel, Maurice Bruynooghe, Bart Demoen,
Marc Denecker, Luc De Raedt, Danny De Schreye, and Gerda Janssens) supports PhD students working on topics in the following domains: (1) Declarative techniques
for analysis and implementation of programming languages and systems,
especially Constraint Handling Rules, implementation technology for
logic programming, and program analysis for declarative languages; (2)
Knowledge Technology, especially the use of inductive definitions for
problem solving, specification languages for causality, and reasoning
with incomplete databases; (3) Machine Learning and Data Mining,
especially probabilistic logic learning, relational reinforcement
learning, constraint based data mining, inductive databases, graph
mining, applications to bio-informatics, learning from data streams
and supervised learning.

More information about ongoing projects can be found at http://www.cs.kuleuven.ac.be/cwis/research/dtai/


Key words: logic programming, probabilistic logic learning, machine learning, data mining, declarative Languages,

Latest Application date: 2010-06-01

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Link: http://www.cs.kuleuven.ac.be/cwis/research/dtai/

Research group: Department of Computer Science

Remarks: The starting date is flexible.
Candidates should have a relevant masters degree and some basic knowledge
about the research topic of interest


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Nuclear reactions with exotic beams studied with the Ge Miniball detector
Promotor: Piet Van Duppen, Mark Huyse

Description: This position is related to the FWO-project "Nuclear reactions with exotic beams studied with the Ge Miniball detector" and is open for a starting Ph.D student. Fundamental research will be conducted in low-energy nuclear physics by using intense beams of exotic nuclei. The experimental work is part of several European collaborations which make use of accelerated beams of ISOLDE, CERN (Genève, CH), GSI (Darmstadt, D), JYFL (Jyväskylä, FI) and LISOL (Louvain-la-Neuve, B). The aim is to manipulate radioactive ion beams through capturing, cooling and post-acceleration and use these prepared beams for decay- and reaction studies.

Key words: experimental nuclear physics, exotic nuclei, nuclear structure, radioactive ion beams

Latest Application date: 2009-07-12

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Link: http://www.fys.kuleuven.ac.be/iks/lisol/index.html

Research group: Department of Physics and Astronomy

Remarks: IMPORTANT: This position is in the group of "Nuclear Spectroscopy" of the "Instituut voor Kern- en Stralingsfysica". The group consists of some 14 researchers. The experiments are performed at different large-scale facilities and require short stays (typically 2 weeks per experimental campaign).
The candidate will also have a limited number of didactical tasks within the department of physics and astronomy.


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Advanced research on exotic nuclei for nuclear physics and nuclear astrophysics
Promotor: Mark Huyse, Piet Van Duppen

Description: This position is related to the IUAP-project "Advanced research on exotic nuclei for nuclear physics and nuclear astrophysics" and is open for a starting Ph. D student.
Fundamental research will be conducted in low-energy nuclear physics by using intense beams of exotic nuclei. The experimental work is part of several European collaborations which make use of accelerated beams of ISOLDE, CERN (Genève, CH), GSI (Darmstadt, D), JYFL (Jyväskylä, FI) and LISOL (Louvain-la-Neuve, B). The aim is to manipulate radioactive ion beams through capturing, cooling and post-acceleration and use these prepared beams for decay- and reaction studies.
More information on the research group can be found at the following website:
http://www.fys.kuleuven.be/iks/lisol/index.html


Key words: Experimental nuclear physics, exotic nuclei, radioactive ion beams

Latest Application date: 2009-08-01

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://fys.kuleuven.be/iks/lisol/

Research group: Department of Physics and Astronomy

Remarks: IMPORTANT: This position is in the group of "Nuclear Spectroscopy" of the "Instituut voor Kern- en Stralingsfysica". The group consists of some 14 researchers. The experiments are performed at different large-scale facilities and require short stays (typically 2 weeks per experimental campaign).
The candidate will also have a limited number of didactical tasks within the department of physics and astronomy


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Spin-torque effects in magnetic nanostructures
Promotor: Kristiaan Temst, Chris Van Haesendonck, Alexander Volodin

Description: This position is related to our research program on spin torque effects in nanostructured magnetic materials. The spin torque effect is a recent discovery in magnetic materials and refers to the switching of the ferromagnetic magnetization by subjecting the material to a spin-polarized electric current rather than an external field. Apart from the fundamental interest in this phenomenon, this may also become an important technological tool in new generations of magnetic memory devices. Within this project we will study how magnetization reversal occurs under the influence of a spin-polarized current in ferromagnetic nanowires, ferromagnet/metal multilayer structures and magnetic nanoparticles embedded in a non-magnetic host material.
This project will be carried out in close collaboration between the Nuclear Solid State Physics group (K. Temst) of the Institute for Nuclear and Radiation Physics and the Laboratory for Solid State Physics and Magnetism (C. Van Haesendonck, A. Volodin). The samples will be prepared in the Ion and Molecular Beam Laboratory in Leuven. We will study the spin torquee effects with magnetotransport, magnetic force microscopy, and Mössbauer effect. Additional measurements, involving synchrotron and neutron scattering will be carried out at the ESRF (Grenoble) and the Hahn-Meitner-Institut (Berlin).


Key words: nanostructures, magnetism

Latest Application date: 2009-09-01

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Link: http://fys.kuleuven.be/iks/nvsf/nvsf.html

Research group: Department of Physics and Astronomy

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DiCoMas: Coordination in Large-Scale Distributed Optimisation Applications [Security]
Promotor: Bart De Decker

Description: Many large-scale distributed control applications require efficient and dynamic optimisation of their collaborative behaviour (e.g. applications in logistics (SCM) and home care (e-health)). A key issue in such applications is coordination.

The objective of this project is to thoroughly investigate a decentralized approach to such problems. This approach will be inspired by ant-behaviour (known as ACO, ant colony optimisation) as well as by so-called "delegate MAS" (an interaction-oriented coordination mechanism). The approach will be evaluated in a concrete, industrial case study (discussions ongoing).

In this research track, the trust, privacy and security issues will be investigated.

Key words: trust, fairness, dispute handling, policies, privacy, anonymity, delegation

Latest Application date: 2009-09-30

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 3 years

Link: http://distrinet.cs.kuleuven.be/projects/dicomas/index.html

Research group: Department of Computer Science

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Superconductivity and magnetism in nanoparticle arrays produced by the micellar method
Promotor: Margriet Van Bael

Description: This project concerns experimental research in the field of nanoscience.
The main purpose of the project is to study the physical properties of arrays of nanoparticles (prepared by a micellar technique) and their interactions with different substrates or surroundings. The focus will mainly be on superconducting and magnetic properties.


Key words: nanoparticles, proximity effects, magnetism, superconductivity, hybrid systems

Latest Application date: 2009-08-15

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Source of Funding: FWO project G.0346.09

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Research group: Department of Physics and Astronomy

Remarks: For this project, the K.U.Leuven (M.J. Van Bael, K. Temst) will collaborate with the University of Hasselt (H-G. Boyen, P. Wagner) and the University of Antwerp (G. Van Tendeloo)

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Physiological control of 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E) and juvenile hormone (JH) biosynthesis
Promotor: Jef Vanden Broeck

Description: The hormones, 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E) and juvenile hormone (JH), play a crucial role in de regulation of the insect's life cycle, not only by their role in the molting process, but also by their wide range of effects in various developmental processes, such as growth, metamorphosis and reproduction. The regulation of these important processes is not restricted to the 'downstream' effects of these hormones, but includes regulatory events occurring upstream of hormone release. Recent molecular and functional characterizations of several enzymes that catalyze essential steps in hormone biosynthetic pathways offer new opportunities for a detailed analysis of regulatory events that are situated 'upstream' of 20E and JH.

Therefore, the main objectives of the work are (1) to analyze the 'key' enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of these hormones in species belonging to two important insect orders, i.e. ORTHOPTERA (Schistocerca gregaria) and LEPIDOPTERA (Spodoptera littoralis) and (2) to study the mechanisms that regulate the expression of their genes in different conditions. Such an analysis may also prove to be very useful since it may shed a new light upon the action of a number of insecticidal compounds.

Methods: DNA cloning, cellular expression and functional analysis of enzymes, in situ hybridization, RNAi, real-time RT-PCR, 20E and JH assays


Key words: development, ecdysone, enzyme, gene expression, hormone, insect, juvenile hormone, peptide, protein

Latest Application date: 2009-08-01

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Link: http://bio.kuleuven.be/df/JV/

Research group: Department of Biology

Remarks: General knowledge of biochemistry, molecular biology and animal physiology

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Modelling the behaviour of solid particles in an electro conductive liquid in a strong magnetic field.
Promotor: Omer Van der Biest

Description: This doctorate is part of a Flemish project on the application of a strong magnetic field in the processing of materials (PROMAG). This project has two main research lines: the removal of solid inclusions from a liquid metal and the alignment of ceramic particles in an electrolyte in order to produce a textured ceramic. The main goal of the doctorate is to establish the scientific base for modelling the behaviour of solid particles in an electro conductive liquid. The purpose is to give assistance to the design of experimental facilities as well as to the interpretation of the data.
The motional behaviour of conducting and non-conducting particles in electrolytes (suspensions) and liquid metals under the influence of the magnetic field will be modelled and if possible simulated using the analytical and numerical design and simulation tools available. Detailed finite element analysis will be carried out of the behaviour of inclusions and impurities in conductive liquids under the influence of the applied magnetic and electric fields. Similarly, the relation between shape anisotropy, anisotropic susceptibility and, for instance, liquid viscosity will be modelled in order to provide insight into the mechanisms that govern the behaviour of the suspended particles.
The work will be carried out in close collaboration with a partner in the project Metis N.V. , experts in analysis of magnetic problems.
It would be an advantage if the candidate has had already an introduction into electromagnetic field theory.


Key words: Magnetic field, modelling, liquid metals, particles, inclusions

Latest Application date: 2009-12-13

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Link: http://www.mtm.kuleuven.ac.be/Research/C2/Ceramics%20Research%20group.htm

Research group: Department of Metallurgy and Materials Engineering (MTM)

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Electrophoretic deposition of nanomaterials and nanocomposites
Promotor: Omer Van der Biest

Description: Electrophoretic deposition consists of two processes, i.e. the movement of charged particles in suspension in an electric field between two electrodes (electrophoresis) and particle deposition on one of the electrodes or onto a membrane (electro-coagulation). Colloidal processing, such as electrophoretic deposition (EPD), is the preferred route for preparing nanomaterials and nanocomposites from nanosized powders.
The ultimate aim of the doctorate is to be able to predict and control the microstructure of nanomaterials that are made by electrophoretic deposition. The different steps in the processing comprise: the dispersion of the nanoparticles in a suspension thereby giving the particles a sufficient surface charge; forming a deposit of the particles with sufficient thickness on a substrate; drying and sintering of the deposit. In each of these processing steps it is necessary to fully control the parameters. The doctorate can focus and enter into greater depth in any of these steps, in order to understand more deeply the critical parameters. This may involve dedicated experimentation as well as theoretical work. There is in fact room for more than one doctorate depending on the interest and background of the candidate.

Some publications which have resulted from our research in this area:
Van der Biest O and Vandeperre L, Electrophoretic Deposition of Materials. Annual Review Material Science, 1999; 29: 327.
G. Anné, B. Neirinck, K. Vanmeensel, O. Van der Biest, J. Vleugels, Origin of the potential drop over the deposit during electrophoretic deposition, J. Amer. Ceram. Soc., 89 [3] (2006) 823–828.
G. Anné, K. Vanmeensel, J. Vleugels, O. Van der Biest, "Influence of the suspension composition on the electric field and deposition rate during electrophoretic deposition", Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects, Vol. 245, Nr. 1-3, p. 35-39 (2004).
Put S., Vleugels J. and Van der Biest O., Gradient profile prediction in functionally graded materials processed by electrophoretic deposition. Acta Materialia, 51 [20] (2003) 6303-6317..
G. Anné, K. Vanmeensel, J. Vleugels, O. Van der Biest, "A mathematical description of the kinetics of the electrophoretic deposition process for Al2O3 based suspensions", Journal of the American Ceramic Society, [88], p. 2036-2039 (2005).


Key words: Electrophoretic deposition, EPD, nano-materials, ceramics, nano-composites, suspensions, sintering.

Latest Application date: 2009-12-13

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Research group: Department of Metallurgy and Materials Engineering (MTM)

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Bionanotechnology for food and medical diagnostics: development of a modular micro total analysis platform
Promotor: Jeroen Lammertyn

Description: Bionanotechnology is a highly interdisciplinary field which results from the convergence of the physical and life sciences, and engineering. Biosensors and lab-on-a-chip systems are typical outcomes of bionanotechnology research.
Biosensors are a subgroup of chemical sensors where the detection of a chemical component is based on a specific interaction of this chemical component with a biorecognition molecule, being an enzyme, antibody, aptamer, micro-organism or even a whole cell. A wide range of transducers is available to detect the interaction between the analyte and the biorecognition molecule and convert it into an electronic signal. Electrochemical, optical, thermal and mass sensitive transduction mechanisms have been used in biosensor development over the past decade. A high selectivity and specificity, a relatively low production cost and a limited sample preparation time are the main advantages of biosensors over conventional analytical methods.
Lab-on-a-chip technology refers to the implementation, miniaturization and automation of laboratory bench-top manipulations on a microchip. Microfluidics have become very popular over the last years since control over fluids in a microfluidic system has a large potential for the development of new scientific methods and fundamental insight in enzyme kinetics, screening and synthesis of organic molecules and catalysts, DNA-analysis, proteomics and bioassays. Lab-on-a-chip technology allows conducting cheap and sensitive analysis in a high-throughput context.
The objective of this project is to integrate biosensor and lab-on-a-chip technology and to develop a modular and generic lab-on-a-chip for the manipulation and detection of biomolecules and cells. These manipulations include transport, mixing, and separation of cells and biomolecules in microchannels. This knowledge will be applied to optimize the modular platform for specific applications such as the detection of cancer cells in blood, food allergens and toxins detection, identification of bacteria, …


Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-07-15

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.biosensors.be

Research group: Department of Biosystems (BIOSYST)

Remarks: Profile
We are looking for an MSc in chemistry, biochemistry, bioscience engineering or related disciplines.


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Development of an individual cell-based model of cell aggregates in bone tissue engineering
Promotor: Herman Ramon

Description: The Divisions MeBioS (Mechatronics, Biostatistics and Sensors) in cooperation with BMGO (Biomechanics and Engineering Design) of the K.U.Leuven are offering a four year scholarship in computational cell biology.

Computational biology and tissue engineering
Progress in the biosciences will increasingly depend on deep and broad integration of mathematical analysis into studies at all levels of biological organization. All levels of organization offer attractive opportunities for mathematical applications, from biomolecules, individual cells, tissue, organ and whole organisms to large ecosystems.
Individual cell-based models (IBM's, also called agent-based models) use explicit representations of individual cells to model the organisation of multi-cellular aggregates. Two approaches in individual cell-based modelling can be distinguished. In the first approach, the cellular automaton models, each cell is represented either by one or by many lattice sites. In the second approach, the off-lattice models, cells are modelled as deformable particles. Off-lattice models permit to include experimental information on different spatial and temporal scales. Considerable experience in working with off-lattice models for the simulation of active particles is present at MeBioS. In this respect, the general purpose software platform DEMETER has been developed in C++.

Tasks
•development of an off-lattice random-walk model which enables to incorporate various cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions, as well as the influence of mechanical and biological stimuli in order to model the in vitro behaviour of cell aggregates.
•validation of the theoretical behaviour of these cell aggregates generated by computer simulations of the discrete model with in vitro experiments (in collaboration with the divisions of Rheumatology and Endocrinology at the university hospital).
•application of the models to broaden state of the art insight in the design of in vitro experiments and their tissue engineering applications
•preparation of a PhD in the above mentioned subject.
•Publication of the results in leading international journals
Requirements
•Master Degree in Engineering (Biological, Biomechanical, Chemical, Biosystems,..) , Master Degree in Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry or Biology with an affinity for computational biology
•Active interest in life science applications and computational cell biology
•Ability to operate in an international, interdisciplinary research team
•Be fluent in oral and written English.



Key words: computational biology, bone tissue engineering, single cel based modelling

Latest Application date: 2009-10-31

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Research group: Department of Biosystems (BIOSYST)

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Systematic Innovation
Promotor: Joost Duflou

Description: The aim of this research is to investigate techniques that can partially automate Systematic Innovation through the use of quantitative techniques, knowledge management strategies, and existing product development methodologies, such as TRIZ or Axiomatic Design.

Objective is to develop innovation supporting functionalities, such as fast identification of the state-of-the-art and new development opportunities for a specific product category, or the idea generation for new application domains for an available technology. The technical development of the intended techniques is situated in the research domain of Data and Text Mining, with a very strong link to design methodologies and techniques in product development. The output of this research will signify an important step forward in the field of Systematic Innovation.

The research will be conducted at the "Centrum voor Industrieel Beleid" (Center for Industrial Management), founded in 1962 on the initiative of the Faculty of Engineering of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and the Foundation for Industry and University. The Centrum voor Industrieel Beleid has a doctoral programme following the regulations and admission procedures of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Faculty of Engineering. On average, the doctoral programme requires four to five years of study and research.

The current research activities at the Centrum voor Industrieel Beleid include several topics of operational research, logistics management, total quality management, maintenance management, industrial organisation, transportation and distribution planning, knowledge management, systematic innovation, ... The research is typically conducted in close co-operation with industrial parties. The output in the domain of knowledge management has also lead to a commercial spin-off.

Candidates should have a strong academic background, holding a master degree in engineering or informatics. A strong affinity with quantitative techniques is required. Possible extension towards PhD.

Key words: Systematic Innovation, knowledge management,

Latest Application date: 2009-09-15

Financing: available

Link: http://cib.kuleuven.be/

Research group: Department of Mechanical Engineering

Remarks: Start and end dates are flexible. Please contact prof. Duflou of CIB / Kuleuven for more information.

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Knowledge Management
Promotor: Joost Duflou

Description: The aim of this research is to investigate methods and techniques that support a quantitative approach to knowledge management (KM) and related human resource management issues. The technical development of the intended techniques is situated in the research domain of Data and Text Mining, but also makes use of standard algorithms from the field of Operations Research where necessary.

In the proposed research, functionalities will be developed that enable a better management of available knowledge within companies, research institutes, etc. Emphasis is put on the link between KM and innovation. Examples of these functionalities are the identification of knowledge evolutions and an automatic project planning system that constructs teams based on the expertise profiles of individual employees.

The research will be conducted at the "Centrum voor Industrieel Beleid" (Center for Industrial Management), founded in 1962 on the initiative of the Faculty of Engineering of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and the Foundation for Industry and University. The Centrum voor Industrieel Beleid has a doctoral programme following the regulations and admission procedures of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Faculty of Engineering. On average, the doctoral programme requires four to five years of study and research.

The current research activities at the Centrum voor Industrieel Beleid include several topics of operational research, logistics management, total quality management, maintenance management, industrial organisation, transportation and distribution planning, knowledge management, systematic innovation, ... The research is typically conducted in close co-operation with industrial parties. The output in the domain of knowledge management has also lead to a commercial spin-off.

Candidates should have a strong academic background, holding a master degree in engineering or informatics. A strong affinity with quantitative techniques is required.

Key words: Knowledge management, Quantitative techniques

Latest Application date: 2009-09-15

Financing: available

Link: http://cib.kuleuven.be/

Research group: Department of Mechanical Engineering

Remarks: Start and end dates are flexible. Please contact prof. Duflou of CIB / Kuleuven for more information.

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Incremental Sheet Forming: Shape Feature Taxonomy Development for Toolpath Optimisation
Promotor: Joost Duflou

Description: Background:
Incremental Sheet Forming is an innovative, flexible forming process that allows to make tailored sheet metal products without the need for expensive, dedicated tooling. As such it forms a complementary technique to the flexible, CNC driven rapid prototyping processes that were developed over the past two decades, effectively expanding flexible production into sheet metal parts. The process is still in an early stage of exploration and offers a wide range of opportunities for further improvement and optimisation. An overview of the state-of-the-art can be found in [1] and [2].

Research Objectives:
The process requires well-optimised toolpaths in order to guarantee a good geometric accuracy. For this purpose several strategies have been explored in an ongoing PhD project and a knowledge based approach, using geometrical workpiece analysis and feature recognition, have proven a promising strategy [3]. In the proposed research in-process monitoring techniques, using a stereo-camera digital image correlation system, will be used to develop a taxonomy of features and toolpath compensation methods that can be used in the development of an automated toolpath generation module. A co-operating research group will be responsible for developing a calibration method in order to optimise the envisaged toolpath correction functions.

Available means: research team with in-depth experience with the process, different experimental setups and in-process measuring equipment, well-equipped metrology laboratory, international network of researchers active in this domain, several running interdisciplinary research projects providing access to complementary expertise.

Profile: Motivated PhD candidate holding a master in engineering degree, with strong affinity for geometric modelling and CAD/CAM development and/or sheet metal processing.

Contact: Prof. Joost Duflou, Joost.Duflou@mech.kuleuven.be, ++32/16/322845


[1] Jeswiet J., Micari F., Hirt G., Bramley A., Duflou J.R. and Allwood J., 2005, Asymmetric single point incremental forming of sheet metal. CIRP Annals - Manufacturing Technology, 54/2:623-649
[2] Duflou J.R., Lauwers B., Verbert J., Tunckol Y., De Baerdemaeker H., 2005, Achievable Accuracy in Single Point Incremental Forming: Case Studies,Proc. of the 8th Esaform Conf. Vol. 2., pp. 675-678.
[3] "Feature based approach for increasing the accuracy of the SPIF process", Verbert J., Duflou J. R., Lauwers B., Key Engineering Materials, Vol.344 (2007), pp 527-534

Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-09-15

Financing: available

Research group: Department of Mechanical Engineering

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Incremental Sheet Forming: Medical Applications
Promotor: Joost Duflou

Description: Background:
Incremental Sheet Forming is an innovative, flexible forming process that allows to make tailored sheet metal products without the need for expensive, dedicated tooling. As such it forms a complementary technique to the flexible, CNC driven rapid prototyping processes that were developed over the past two decades, effectively expanding flexible production into sheet metal parts. The process is still in an early stage of exploration and offers a wide range of opportunities for further improvement and optimisation. An overview of the state-of-the-art can be found in [1] and [2].

Research Objectives:
The Incremental Sheet Forming process is particularly suitable for producing custom made parts such as medical implants. Although preliminary tests have shown that titanium skull implants could succesfully be manufactured [3], an in depth investigation of this application domain has not yet been conducted, The wide variety and the complexity of the boundary conditions (as derived from CT scans) requires an automated analysis and design optimisation in order to match the process capabilities with the implant requirements. A broad evaluation of different types of implants will be conducted in order to determine the applicability of incremental forming techniques. A detailed analysis of the resulting parts for structural properties will be conducted.
The laser supported incremental forming process variant, that has been developed in this research group [4], can contribute to the use of high strength alloys in these medical applications. Compared to conventional solutions, this could lead to a signficant improvement of the mechanical characteristics of the implants.
An extensive clinical validation is envisaged in close co-operation with the Faculty of Medicine and industrial partners.

Available means: research team with in-depth experience with the process, different experimental setups of which one is equipped with a NdYAG laser and positioning system, well-equipped metrology laboratory, extensive materials laboratory facilities, interdisciplinary research co-operation with bio-mechanical engineering specialists and material scientists.

Profile: Motivated PhD candidate holding a master in engineering degree, with strong affinity for experimental work on a CAD/CAM/CNC platform and/or sheet metal processing and a strong interest in medical applications.

Contact: Prof. Joost Duflou, Joost.Duflou@mech.kuleuven.be, ++32/16/322845

[1] Jeswiet J., Micari F., Hirt G., Bramley A., Duflou J.R. and Allwood J., 2005, Asymmetric single point incremental forming of sheet metal. CIRP Annals - Manufacturing Technology, 54/2:623-649
[2] Duflou J.R., Lauwers B., Verbert J., Tunckol Y., De Baerdemaeker H., 2005, Achievable Accuracy in Single Point Incremental Forming: Case Studies,Proc. of the 8th Esaform Conf. Vol. 2., pp. 675-678.
[3] "Medical Application of Single Point Incremental Forming: Cranial Plate Manufacturing", Duflou J. R., Lauwers B., Verbert J., Gelaude F., Tunckol Y., Proceedings of the 2nd Internat. Conf. on Advanced Research in Virtual and Rapid Prototyping, VRAP, Leiria, Sept. 2005, ISBN 0-415-39062-1, pp 161-166
[4] "Laser Assisted Incremental Forming: Formability and Accuracy Improvement", Duflou J.R., Callebaut B., Verbert J., De Baerdemaeker H., CIRP Annals-Manufacturing Technology Vol.56/1/2007, pp 273-276

Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-09-15

Financing: available

Research group: Department of Mechanical Engineering

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Laser processing: High Power Cutting by means of Fiber Lasers
Promotor: Joost Duflou

Description: Background:
The emergence of new generations of laser sources has a high potential impact on a well-established process such as laser cutting. Where CO2 lasers and, to a lesser extent, NdYAG lasers have dominated this application domain over the past decades, the increasing output power and the high quality beam characteristics of newly emerging fiber lasers could lead to a technology shift. Today cutting with fiber lasers has only been investigated using conventional, NdYAG-oriented optics and aiming at relatively thin sheets.

Research Objectives:
The application of fiber lasers for cutting thickers plates has laregely remained unexplored. The development of suitable optical components forms a major obstacle in this respect. In the proposed research a setup will be built in which different cutting strategies will be tested. Systematic experimental design will allow a broad exploration of the different process parameters, aiming for optimised process performance and output quality. Different new concepts of optical components will be tested in close co-operation with industrial partners involved in the development of such elements. The research project aims to identify the most suitable cutting head design for optimal use of the fiber laser beam quality. Furthermore the process limits for a number of widely used materials will be explored and optimal process settings determined.
This research should lead to a profound exploration of the technical potential of fiber lasers for sheet metal cutting applications, as input for machine and component builders involved in this market.

Available means: extensive experience with conventional, CO2 laser based sheet metal cutting and experimental manufacturing process development, financial means to invest in a fiber laser setup, industrial partners contributing to the development of optical components, well-equipped metrology laboratory, extensive materials laboratory facilities, interdisciplinary research co-operation with material scientists for process-material interaction analysis.

Profile: Motivated PhD candidate holding a master in engineering degree, with strong affinity for experimental work on a CAD/CAM/CNC platform and/or sheet metal processing and a strong interest in laser applications.

Contact: Prof. Joost Duflou, Joost.Duflou@mech.kuleuven.be, ++32/16/322845

Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-12-20

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Research group: Department of Mechanical Engineering

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Eco-design and Life Cycle Engineering
Promotor: Joost Duflou

Description: Background:
Over the past decades the societal vision on product responsibility has significantly changed: while manufacturing aimed at producing and selling as many products as possible, used to be the standard, companies are now expected to take total product responsibility. This is visible in take-back and end-of-life treatment obligations that have become part of regulations and legislation. While this evolution was for a long time perceived as threatening for the involved industrial sectors, more and more companies identify opportunities in closing product life cycles. Recent research findings show that continued ownership from production, over use, till end-of-life treatment, provides interesting opportunities for reducing the ecological impact of a product while improving the profitability of the involved company. The increased cost of raw materials and the economic value of reusable components form elements that can lead to new business concepts. Life Cycle Management and Product Service Systems are some of the paradigms that emerged from this trend.

Research Topics:

Research projects that fit into this trend are either oriented towards the design or the end-of-life treatment phase of products. A wide range of subjects is available in this domain. Some examples of possible topics are:

materials recycling optimisation by product clustering based on material compatibility and separation techniques. This subject can be worked out as a product design support tool development as well as aimed at material purity improvement technique supporting industrial recycling
product reuse in a global economy: product remanufacturing, refurbishment and product migration in an international perspective
Data flow management from design to end-of-life phase in support of product life cycle management


A special category of products concerns manufacturing systems. While the energy consumption in mass consumer products is already subject to government regulation in many countries, production systems are not strictly regulated. Initial screening of this domain has lead to the identification of significant energy saving measures. Taking the long life time and intensive use of machine tools into account, the possible impact of design modifications at an OEM level, aimed at systematically lower energy consumption, can form a relevant contribution towards CO2 output reduction. A strong interest can be noticed here from machine builders side. Profound knowledge of the impact of manufacturing processes can also lead to

Available means: extensive experience with the development of eco-design support tools and end-of-life treatment techniques, interdisciplinary research co-operation with scientist involved in the different dimensions of sustainable development (see LONDO: http://www.kuleuven.be/londo/ ), good contacts with industrial partners in the different involved sectors.

Profile: Motivated PhD candidate holding a master in engineering degree, with strong affinity for product design methodologies and a strong interest in different aspects of sustainable development.

Contact: Prof. Joost Duflou, Joost.Duflou@mech.kuleuven.be, ++32/16/322845

Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-09-15

Financing: available

Research group: Department of Mechanical Engineering

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CMOS analog circuit design above 200GHz
Promotor: Patrick Reynaert

Description: As CMOS technology scales, the maximum operating frequency (fT, fMAX) goes beyond 100GHz. This enables the use of CMOS for mm-wave applications like medical imaging, radar and high-datarate communications.

This project will investigate circuit design techniques above 200GHz in CMOS. The focus will be on analog circuit design and digital enhancement of analog circuits. Research will be done on both receivers and transmitters.

Key words: analog circuit design, IC, mm-wave, CMOS

Latest Application date: 2009-10-01

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Link: http://homes.esat.kuleuven.be/~reynaert/

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

Remarks: Interested students can send their resume and motivation letter to patrick.reynaert@esat.kuleuven.be

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PhD in engineering with subject on optimal control of turbulent swirling-jet flows using large-eddy simulations (4 years)
Promotor: Johan Meyers

Description: The department of mechanical engineering, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, has an open grant for a Ph.D. student in the field of optimal control of turbulent swirling-jet flows. Swirling jets have a large range of applicability in combustors, chemical reactors, ventila-tion systems, etc. These flows can exhibit a distinct set of mean-flow states (such as closed- and open-jet flow, or coanda flow), which depend on swirl-rate and the geometry of the jet nozzle. The Ph.D. research focuses on the optimization, using large-eddy simulations and adjoint-based gradient estimation, of control mechanism which trigger a switch between such flow states. This control is realized using synthetic mini-jets which direct flow separa-tion and reattachment in the jet nozzle. The Ph.D. research allows a close interaction with a parallel experimental program, where detailed stereo-PIV measurements of the flow are performed, and where control strategies, designed using simulations, are tested in an ex-perimental test rig.

Requirements and competencies:
- Master Degree in engineering, applied physics or applied mathematics
- basic knowledge in fluid mechanics and CFD
- good programming skills: knowledge of Fortran, C++
- good English redaction skills for scientific reporting
- good command of the English language in general

Salary and benefits:
The phd grant is for four years. The monthly remuneration is about 1630 € after taxes, so-cial security included.

Application deadline: July 31, 2009
Decision: immediate decission possible
First possible starting date: immediate start possible

Research environment:
The Mechanical Engineering department of the K.U.Leuven has an excellent research track in both fluid mechanics in general and large-eddy simulations. The K.U.Leuven, situated in Leuven near Brussels, is one of the oldest universities in Europe. Its rich history and patri-mony provides an inspiring research environment, and this is combined with very high standard accommodation. For its computational research, the K.U.Leuven has two state-ofthe-art clusters, one 3Tflops system with 482 AMD opteron cores, and a 9 TFlops system with 928 Intel Xeon cores.

Leuven is a very agreeable city that is excellently geared to serve almost 30,000 students. The Mechanical Engineering building is situated on its perimeter in a peaceful green park near an ancient Castle. For more information, visit http://www.mech.kuleuven.be/dept/


Key words: fluid mechanics, swirling jets, control, optimization, large-eddy simulation

Latest Application date: 2009-07-31

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Research group: Department of Mechanical Engineering

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The development and implementation of quasi-Monte Carlo techniques for large scale and real-time applications
Promotor: Ronald Cools

Description: Intelligent robots are equipped with sensors which monitor the environment, and process these measurements using stochastic methods in which Bayesian statistics play an important role. The application of the Bayesian formula consists of integrating multi-variate probability density functions. During the past years improvements where obtained with so-called quasi-Monte Carlo methods to approximate high-dimensional integrals.

Aim:
The aim of this project is to investigate and apply quasi-Monte Carlo techniques for applications in robotics. The focus for this position will be on quasi-Monte Carlo techniques for multivariate integration.

Profile:
We are looking for a candidate holding a master degree in either Applied Mathematics/Numerical Mathematics/Scientific Computing or similar disciplines.
The position will be initially for one year. After a positive evaluation, this position can be extended.



Key words: quasi-Monte Carlo simulation, multivariate numerical integration

Latest Application date: 2009-09-01

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Source of Funding: Research Fund Flanders

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.cs.kuleuven.be/~nines

Research group: Department of Computer Science

Remarks: We expect to receive a pdf-file as an attachment with the following information:
- Curriculum Vitae;
- a short description of your qualifications and experience (i.e. courses, title and summary of Diploma or Master thesis);
- a letter describing your scientific interests related to the project;
- names and e-mail addresses of one or two scientists willing to provide a reference.

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Development of an Ultra Wide Band device for in-vivo dosimetry
Promotor: Patrick Reynaert

Description: This research will develop UWB techniques and circuits to measure the absorbed dose in a soft-tissue, like the human body. Previous research has shown that free radicals, caused by the absorbed dose, change the electrical properties of those materials. UWB techniques could be used to measure and quantify these fast-changing electrical properties.

The techniques developed in this research should allow to quantify the absorbed dose which is, for example, an important aspect for the treatment of cancers.

Key words: UWB, CMOS, dosimetry, biomedical

Latest Application date: 2009-12-01

Financing: available

Link:

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

Remarks: This research project is done in collaboration with SCK-Mol

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Space weather, numerical methods for solar and plasma astrophysics
Promotor: Marcel Goossens, Rony Keppens, Stefaan Poedts, Giovanni Lapenta

Description: This position is in the section of Plasma Astrophysics and is related to research carried out in the domain of theoretical and numeric solar and plasma astrophysics. The research program is focused on space weather, waves, seismology and relativistic jets. The research of the applicant is expected to result in obtaining a Ph.D.





Key words: Theoretical and numeric physics, Solar and plasma astrophysics, Space weather, Relativistic jets

Latest Application date: 2009-07-31

Financing: to apply for

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://wis.kuleuven.be/cpa/

Research group: Department of Mathematics

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Lattice site location of impurities in semiconductors
Promotor: André Vantomme, Wilfried Vandervorst, Kristiaan Temst

Description: The exact lattice site occupied by impurities in a semiconductor host drastically determine their properties, which can be either beneficial (as an electrical, optical, magnetic… dopant) or detrimental. By studying the anisotropic emission of charged particles, following the radioactive decay of implanted impurities, it is possible to determine the position of the impurity with a very high precision (down to 0.01 nm). This knowledge can finally lead to the manipulation of occupied lattice site(s) by varying external parameters, e.g. thermal treatment, co-doping, electron irradiation etc. These emission channeling experiments are mainly performed at the ISOLDE facility at CERN (Geneva) and are compared to existing ab initio calculations. These physical observations will be coupled to the electrical properties such sheet resistance, mobility, defect distribution thus providing a complete understanding of the impurity behavior during implantation and subsequent annealing.


Key words: nanostructures, semiconductors

Latest Application date: 2009-09-01

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Link: http://fys.kuleuven.be/iks/nvsf/

Research group: Department of Physics and Astronomy

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Nanoprecipitate formation by ion implantation
Promotor: Wilfried Vandervorst, André Vantomme, Kristiaan Temst

Description: The objective is to create precipitates embedded within a substrate as the interaction of the nanoclusters with the surroundings can lead to additional functionality versus clsuters which are solely deposited on a surface. An attractive approach for this purpose is to rely on high-fluence implantation of energetic ions followed by thermal treatment, such that clusters will self-assemble in the substrate. Eventually, this ion beam synthesis can be combined with the use of nm-sized masks to form either patterned groups of precipitates or even (large) ordered single precipitates. It is important to realize that the non-equilibrium conditions during ion implantation allow the formation of metastable phases, thus further expanding the possible control of the functionality. Concurrent with the fabrication, efforts towards refined characterization on the nm-scale need to be pursued. Structural information will be investigated using EXAFS, RBS, high resolution TEM and 3D-composition mapping using the Tomographic Atomprobe.


Key words: ion beams, implantation, clusters, nanoprecipitates

Latest Application date: 2009-09-01

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Link: http://fys.kuleuven.be/iks/nvsf/

Research group: Department of Physics and Astronomy

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Local probing of interfacial coupling in correlated electron systems
Promotor: Kristiaan Temst, André Vantomme, Margriet Van Bael

Description: This research proposal focuses on thin-film correlated electron systems in which layers with different functionalities (ferromagnet, antiferromagnet, superconductor) are confronted with each other at their mutual interface. The intimate contact between two dissimilar layers leads, in general, to a proximity effect that influences the intrinsic properties of the constituent layers. We will study interface coupling and proximity effects in three model systems that incorporate a ferromagnet on the one hand and another ferromagnet, an antiferromagnet, or a superconductor on the other hand. In all cases it is our aim to unravel the details of the coupling and/or mutual influence at the interface. One of the main tools in this work is the use of synchrotron-based nuclear resonant scattering and probing layers containing suitable Mössbauer isotopes to determine the interfacial properties.


Key words: magnetism, superconductivity, correlated electron systems, synchrotron, Mossbauer

Latest Application date: 2009-09-01

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Link: http://fys.kuleuven.be/iks/nvsf/

Research group: Department of Physics and Astronomy

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smart metering
Promotor: Geert Deconinck

Description: Smart metering will allow to transfer measurement data from electricity meters to a database, as well as to send commands to such meters. Smart metering is required to allow for advanced, distributed control applications with dispersed energy resources, as well as to enable smart grids. Commercial offerings only provide a first step towards advanced metering, as future-proof designs need to combine dependability and real-time requirements with a large bandwidth and low latency. The goal of this study is to analyse these requirements and design and evaluate well suited solutions.

Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-09-01

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship or salary

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

Remarks: Potential candidates should have a good background in power engineering, as well as in information and communication technology. They should have obtained excellent study results and be highly motivated for a PhD project.

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Metallurgical slag processing to increase utilization potential
Promotor: Bart Blanpain

Description: Metallurgical slags are generated in large quantities during the production of metals. These materials can be utilized in for instance construction applications. The aim of this research programme is to further develop understanding between processing, microstructure and properties of metallurgical slags and to find novel processing routes to increase the usefulness of these materials both through experimentation and modelling.

Key words: High temperature processing - metallurgical slags - applications

Latest Application date: 2009-12-31

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.mtm.kuleuven.be/Research/THERMO/index.php

Research group: Department of Metallurgy and Materials Engineering (MTM)

Remarks: This project will be run in the Centre for High Temperature Processes, Metallurgy and Refractory Materials (http://www.mtm.kuleuven.be/Research/centre/index.html) and in the Thermodynamics in Materials Engineering Group. There will also be plenty of opportunity to interact with industry.


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PhD Position at the Science, Engineering and Technology group
Promotor: Leen Cuypers

Description: The Arenberg Doctoral School of the Science, Engineering and Technology Group offers a PhD Position.

The researchers of the Science, Engineering and Technology Group are organized in 14 departments. In addition there are several research centers.
The Arenberg Doctoral School stimulates researchers and creates an international, competitive environment in co-operation with the research centers, which makes it possible for the researchers to make original and valuable contributions to the research domains of science and technology. The main research topics can be found in life sciences, computing and information science, environmental sustainability, human settlements, agriculture, food research, genomics and biomaterials, nanoscience and nanofabrication, advanced materials, energy and optimization in engineering.
The Arenberg Doctoral School stimulates professional competence development by offering specialized courses in scientific disciplines and training in different skills. The excitement and dedication of our outstanding doctoral researchers lead to excellent research. The Arenberg Doctoral School of Science, Engineering and Technology offers great opportunities to fulfill your aspirations and pursue your goals. We welcome you to join us with your ambitions.
Apply for a PhD Position at any of the Departments of the Science, Engineering and Technology Group and the Arenberg Doctoral School will make your CV available to our promotors.

Key words: science, engineering, technology

Financing: available

Link: http://set.kuleuven.be/phd

Research group: Science, Engineering and Technology Group Services

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Security of supply in liberalized gas markets
Promotor: William Dhaeseleer

Description: Recently, the Russia-Ukraine gas disputes, the geopolitical position of Iran, and the slow depletion of Gas fields in West-Europe raise concerns about securing the supply of natural gas in the near and mid-term future, in which the involved actors are condemned to do business with each other. In addition to all this, the integration of EU gas markets needs to be completed taking into account that national interests do not always align with EU interests. The research consists of studying strategic aspects of natural gas supply and the linkages of these aspects with the liberalized European gas market(s).

Key words: Security of supply, natural gas, market liberalization

Latest Application date: 2009-12-31

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 2+2 years

Link: http://www.mech.kuleuven.be/tme/sts/jobs/job_gas_WDH/

Research group: Department of Mechanical Engineering

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Operation, dimensioning and optimization of large-scale electricity and thermal applications (CHP, HP, heat storage) in energy systems
Promotor: William Dhaeseleer

Description: This project aims at the optimization of the energy consumption of future very large shopping centers (including a movie theater, an hotel, recreational facilities, a swimming pool, and sports facilities within the precinct). Shopping centers in different climates are compared (Scandinavia, North-West Europe, and South Europe). The heating and cooling demand and the coupling with electricity demand are relevant aspects to study, especially because the demand for energy services differs in the different spaces. The integration of thermal solar-energy, large thermal energy storage, cogeneration and heat pumps are all to be considered. As these large centers are planned nowadays, this project has real-life applications.


Key words: large scale thermal systems, cogeneration, thermal storage

Latest Application date: 2009-12-31

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 2+2 years

Link: http://www.mech.kuleuven.be/tme/sts/jobs/job_CHP/

Research group: Department of Mechanical Engineering

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Random matrices and/or orthogonal polynomials
Promotor: Walter Van Assche or Arno Kuijlaars

Description: We are looking for a Ph.D. student who will do research in classical analysis (real and complex analysis). Our current research is centered around random matrices, non-intersecting Brownian motions, (multiple) orthogonal polynomials and we prefer candidates who will work on one of these topics.

Key words: Random matrices, orthogonal polynomials

Latest Application date: 2009-07-31

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Source of Funding: Department of Mathematics (FLOF)

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://wis.kuleuven.be/analyse

Research group: Department of Mathematics

Remarks: This position also requires teaching duties (up to 4 hours weekly). The candidate is expected to learn Dutch within two years. The position starts October 1, 2009 (or later). The contract is for two years with a possible extension for another two years.

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Department of Architecture and Urban Planning
Promotor: Lou Schol

Description: Research at the ASRO department is conducted by four divisions:

1. Architectural History and Conservation
2. Theory of Urbanism and Architecture (OSA)
3. Design and Building Methodology
4. Planning and Development

Research at ASRO is fundamental as well as applied, and covers the wide range of the built environment. This fosters a diversity of mutually enriching and complementary approaches. We mention in particular the focus on development contexts, mainly in the Planning & Development and OSA divisions.



The research group History of Architecture and Conservation (ARCHISTORIA), jointly directed by professors K. De Jonge and L. Verpoest, numbers circa ten researchers with a multidisciplinary background. Basic research focuses on the history and historiography of architecture, construction and conservation in the Low Countries from the Late Middle Ages to the present day in a European perspective. Projects also touch upon other research areas, such as archival and documentation sciences, CAAD, urban history and urbanism, military and institutional history. The group's composition and the scientific output (contributions to international symposia, publications and networks) testify to its international profile.

OSA (Onderzoeksgroep Stedelijkheid en Architectuur or Theory of Urbanism and Architecture), led by professors A. Loeckx, H. Heynen and M. Smets, focuses its research on questions of urbanity and urbanism. Its main concern is the relationship between architecture and the city, as it is shaped by urban morphologies and typologies, and its significance through patterns of use and discourse. These topics are dealt with in fundamental (theoretically oriented) research as well as in applied (policy-oriented) research. In methodological terms, the group's research relies upon critical theory, historical [typo-morphological] analyses and fieldwork. The applied and policy oriented research builds upon this methodology in order to deal with specific and concrete questions that arise in the practice of urbanism and planning.

Research at the division of Design and Building Methodology (professors H. Neuckermans, F. De Troyer and A. Heylighen) relates to the epistemological and methodological study of the design and building process. The team's foundation in architectural, construction and design sciences allows critical and constructive research in a wide range of areas. The primary focus lies on the early stages of design, which represent a major intellectual challenge. In the domain of CAAD, useful concepts for future developments in computer-aided architectural design are being explored. Design didactics, building economy, universal design and sustainable construction methods constitute other research fields. Particular topics originate from the CAADLAB's involvement in the Raymond Lemaire International Centre for Conservation.

The research unit of Planning and Development is a multi-disciplinary team, led by the professors F. Moulaert and J. Schreurs. It does research in the fields of planning methodology and planning theory, regional development, strategic planning, project development, project and process management, mobility and transport. Besides basic research, long-term programs such as "Spatial planning to Strategic projects (SP2SP)", which ensure necessary deepening, and policy studies and policy programs are also developed as an application to the research. These applied studies provide an important feedback to the basic research and form a permanent supplier of topics to be studied.


Key words: history of architecture and conservation, Urbanity and architecture, design and building methodology, planning and devel

Financing: available

Link: http://www.asro.kuleuven.be

Research group: Department of Architecture, Urban Design and Regional Planning

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Processing of the lipid fraction to obtain lipid-based, high value products and renewable energy from microalgae
Promotor: Imogen Foubert

Description:

The aim of this project is to optimize methods for extraction of lipids from algae and the downstream processing of algal oil. It will involve collaboration with an industrial producer of microalgae and companies / research groups having pilot plant processing equipment.

The different tasks that will be dealt with in this project are:

- optimization of the separation of bio-oil from algal biomass taking into account the further use of oil and biomass, possibilities are pressing and solvent extraction, but also e.g. extraction with supercritical carbon dioxide
- downstream processing of algal oil, i.e. refining and modification of the oil depending on the further use (biofuel, food, ...)



Key words: algae, lipid, processing, biofuel, extraction

Latest Application date: 2009-07-28

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 1 years

Link: http://www.kuleuven-kortrijk.be/biology

Research group: Subfaculty of Sciences Campus Kortrijk

Remarks: Candidates should have a Master degree in exact or applied sciences (preferably Bio-Engineering, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, bio-ingenieur, burgerlijk ingenieur, industrieel ingenieur) and have a strong interest in processing topics.
The research will be conducted in the research unit Aquatic Biology in Kortrijk, Belgium
Prolongation of the project after 1 year is possible.

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Structure and mode of action of lectin-like bacteriocins
Promotor: René De Mot

Description: At the Centre of Microbial and Plant Genetics (CMPG, K.U.Leuven), there is a vacancy for a pre-doctoral researcher in the framework of a research project entitled 'Structure and mode of action of lectin-like bacteriocins'
This research project aims at the elucidation of the mode of action of a novel type of bacteriocin that was identified at CMPG. It represents the prototype of a family of proteins with antibacterial activity, mediating antagonism among related bacteria such as Pseudomonas. Remarkably, the protein appears to be related to a large family of plant lectins. Insight into this unprecedented mechanism of bacterial antagonism may disclose a novel target for combating pathogenic bacteria.
To obtain insight in the cellular toxicity of these proteins, an integrated genetic-structural approach will be used. A search for determinants of bacteriocin susceptibility will be conducted using a mutagenesis approach. In addition, the relationship between (modular) structure and activity/specificity will be scrutinized, using recombinant protein expression. The latter approach involves a close collaboration with the Laboratory of Ultrastructure (Vrije Universiteit Brussel). Further background information on the topic can be found in the following papers (Journal of Bacteriology 185: 897-908; Applied and Environmental Microbiology 71: 5197-5207).


Key words: bacteriocin, Pseudomonas, molecular microbiology, microbial physiology, genetics, structural biology

Latest Application date: 2009-08-25

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.biw.kuleuven.be/dtp/cmpg/

Research group: Department of Microbial and Molecular Systems (M#S)

Remarks: The applicant should hold a Master degree that formally qualifies him/her to DIRECTLY enter the PhD program of the Leuven Arenberg Doctoral School without a predoctoral program (prerequisite: 1st or 2nd Master of Science in Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Genetics, or equivalent studies, obtained at a European or US university; or: good research track record with paper(s) published in international peer-reviewed journal(s)). In addition to good technical skills, an interest in microbial physiology and structural biology/biochemistry is expected. A fluent knowledge of English (spoken and written) is required. The successful candidate is expected to write a doctoral thesis. Employment is for 4 years and should start in 2009 (actual starting date is flexible). The applicant is asked to submit a detailed Curriculum Vitae (including a list of grades of his/her Master's study; reserach experience; publications) and a concise letter of motivation.

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Mechanisms of systemic RNA interference (RNAi) in insects
Promotor: Jef Vanden Broeck

Description: RNA interference (RNAi) was first discovered in the nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans. This discovery resulted in a Nobel Prize for medicine (2006), which illustrates its scientific impact. RNAi is initiated by the entry of exogenous double stranded (ds)RNA in the cell and leads to the degradation of endogenous RNA molecules having the same nucleotide sequence. This property can be exploited as a very powerful experimental method of 'Reverse Genetics' to generate and analyze phenotypic effect(s) caused by targeted knock down of a specific mRNA. The dsRNA induces a sequence-specific inhibition of gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. Furthermore, several very recent studies have shown that RNAi may also contribute to novel, promising strategies for controlling agricultural pests, including a number of insect species. However, the species- and tissue-dependence of RNAi responses in this important class of animals (INSECTA) is not yet fully understood. The aim of this study is to elucidate the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the process of systemic RNAi in insects.

Key words: RNA interference, insect, in vivo, phenotype, pest control, molecular biology, cell culture

Latest Application date: 2009-08-01

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Research group: Department of Biology

Remarks: General knowledge of biochemistry, molecular biology and animal physiology

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Intensification of chemical processes by ultrasound, magnetic field or light
Promotor: Tom Van Gerven

Description: A new research group in the Department of Chemical Engineering, K.U.Leuven, will focus on the intensification of chemical processes using alternative energy forms, such as ultrasound, magnetic field or light. The aim is to bring the activation energy exactly where and when it is needed for a chemical reaction to occur. In this way improvement can be achieved with low energy costs.

This PhD position will focus on either light or ultrasound/magnetics, depending a.o. on the background and domain of interest of the candidate. With respect to light, it will be attempted to integrate light production and photocatalytic activation on the nanoscale. With respect to the combination of ultrasound and magnetic field, research will focus on carbon dioxide sequestration.

Highly motivated students are welcome to take contact, with background in chemical engineering, materials engineering, mechanical engineering, chemistry, physics, etc.

Key words: process intensification, alternative energy, chemical process technology, ultrasound, magnetic field, light

Latest Application date: 2009-09-30

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Source of Funding: K.U.Leuven

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Research group: Department of Chemical Engineering (CIT)

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Modelling the effect of through thickness shear and thickness on formability of steel plate
Promotor: Paul Van Houtte

Description: Problem:
- A lot of scientific & technical knowledge exists as to the onset of failure during forming (deep drawing, stretching, bending …) of thin metal sheet (steel, aluminium, …) i.e. formability of sheet material
- NOT SO if the plate is not thin compared to curvature of tools:
Car body reinforcements for safety; parts of trucks, machines …
Tools with small radius of curvature (Incremental Forming)
- Phenomena:
Through-thickness shear
Through-thickness strain gradients
Transitions from ductile fracture to rupture
- Goal: experimental validation of existing formability models or if
necessary, of newly developed models.


Key words: formability, thick plate, steel, finite element method, plasticity

Latest Application date: 2009-08-01

Financing: to apply for

Type of Position: scholarship

Source of Funding: IWT, Brussels

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http:// www.mtm.kuleuven.be/Research/MRC/index.htm

Research group: Department of Metallurgy and Materials Engineering (MTM)

Remarks: 1. As soon as a candidate has been selected, an project applciation has to be filed at the IWT. This should preferabley happen in September 2009. The candidate can start his/her research (at the earliest ) on October 1st, 2009, provided visa and work permit have been obtaiend.
2. This project will be carried out at KULeuven, MTM (Prof. P. Van Houtte and Prof. A. van Bael) in close collaboration with the company OCAS, Gent and AMRIG, Metz (both R&D labs of ArcelorMittal)
3.Profile of Ph. D. student: Master of Engineering, Materials Science OR Mechanical Engineering

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Quantitative phase field modelling of coarsening processes in lead-free solder joints
Promotor: Patrick Wollants

Description: Most materials are heterogeneous on a microscopic scale. Their microstructure consists of
grains or domains, which differ in structure, orientation and chemical composition. Since the
macroscopic properties of a material highly depend on the volume fraction and distribution of
the coexisting phases, and on the shape, size and size distribution of the grains, large efforts
are made to gain insight into the mechanisms of microstructure formation and evolution. The
phase field method has become a versatile and powerful tool for simulating the
microstructural evolution in heterogeneous materials. It has been applied to a wide variety of
material processes, like solidification, solid state phase transformations, precipitate
coarsening, grain growth and martensitic transformations. Currently, the
range of applicability is growing very fast.

The aim of this doctoral research project is to develop, implement
and validate a phase field model for quantitative prediction of the
morphological evolution in realistic multi-component and multi-phase
alloy systems.The model will be validated for and applied to coarsening
processes in lead-free solder joints. The phase field model must treat the
effect of phase transformations, diffusion, curvature driven interface motion,
externally applied load, volume effects and anisotropy, on the morphological
evolution of the lead-free solder joint. Furthermore, the model formulation
must allow a straightforward coupling with existing thermodynamic, kinetic and
physical databases and avoid unphysical side-effects caused by the finite width of the diffuse interface.

Key words: phase field; microstructure evolution; lead-free solder

Latest Application date: 2009-09-04

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.mtm.kuleuven.be/Research/THERMO/index.php

Research group: Department of Metallurgy and Materials Engineering (MTM)

Remarks: The research is embedded in the 'Thermodynamics in Materials Engineering' research group of the Department of Metallurgy and Materials Engineering. The project builds on the work of Dr. Nele Moelans on grain growth modelling and microstructural evolution modelling in general. Dr. Moelans will guide you.

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Structural and magnetic roughness of thin films by off-specular neutron reflectivity
Promotor: Kristiaan Temst, André Vantomme

Description: We are looking for a candidate who is interested to pursue interdisciplinary research on thin film systems, leading to a PhD. The topic concerns the study of structural and magnetic roughness of thin fil msystems. On the one hand, metallic thin films (hard condensed matter) will be studied with the aim of correlating the structural features (in particular the film roughness) with the magnetic hereogeneity ('magnetic roughness'). On the other hand, the surface morphology of thin films of soft condensed matter systems (polymer films) will be studied. The overall aim is to develop a better understanding of roughness and fractal surface behaviour of thin films. In practice the main research tool will be off-specular reflectivity of neutrons. The candidate will be stationed at the Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL) in Grenoble, where the world's most powerful neutron source is located. Neutron beam time for this project is forseen. Additional characterization measurements will be carried out in the university. The candidate will carry out her/his research work in tight collaboration with and under the supervision of the university promoter and a senior scientist at the ILL.

Key words: thin films, nanostructures, neutron scattering

Latest Application date: 2009-09-01

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 3 years

Link: http://fys.kuleuven.be/iks/nvsf/

Research group: Department of Physics and Astronomy

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Security of energy supply (SoES)
Promotor: William Dhaeseleer

Description: In the industrialized world, information and energy are the commodities with the highest value. Consequently, insuring the energy supply becomes one of the greatest challenges for Europe to remain an important player in world economy. To help policy makers in taking sound decisions, research is needed towards the consequences on the short and long term on the fundamental choices in the issue of energy supply. The purpose is to study SoES using similar approaches as the ones used in research on international food supply and the just-in-time principle of the manufacturing industry. The comparison of these logistic chains and the optimization for energy constitutes an interesting project.

Key words: Security of supply, energy research

Latest Application date: 2009-12-31

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 2+2 years

Link: http://www.mech.kuleuven.be/tme/sts/jobs/job_SoES/

Research group: Department of Mechanical Engineering

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Integration of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) in the electricity generation system
Promotor: William Dhaeseleer

Description: CCS seems to be an indispensable technology to secure a sustainable energy supply. Models can provide useful insights in the interaction of electricity generation plants equipped with CCS and the rest of the generation park. The effects of including CCS on the operational costs of the park and the final CO2 emissions need to be studied thoroughly.



Key words: Energy research, CCS, electricity generation systems

Latest Application date: 2009-12-31

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 2+2 years

Link: http://www.mech.kuleuven.be/tme/sts/jobs/job_CCS/

Research group: Department of Mechanical Engineering

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high-speed wireline communication circuits
Promotor: Patrick Reynaert

Description: Improvement in CMOS technology has allowed extremely high processing power and data-rates. This also requires improvement in I/O interface circuits for board and back-plane communication.

This research will investigate the use of high-frequency analog circuit techniques to develop high-speed (>100Gbps) and low power consumption wireline transceivers. Several high-speed wireline interfaces will be developed in CMOS and measured under real-life conditions.

Key words: analog circuit design, IC, CMOS, wireline

Latest Application date: 2009-09-01

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship or salary

Source of Funding: .

Duration of the Project : . years

Link: http://homes.esat.kuleuven.be/~reynaert/

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

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Antenna-PA and Antenna-LNA co-design
Promotor: Patrick Reynaert

Description: Designing integrated circuits at very high frequencies (>200GHz) has recently become possible thanks to the improvement in IC technology speed. The physical dimensions of an antenna at these frequencies become small enough to integrate the antenna with the circuitry. This allows the co-design of the PA and the antenna, as well as the LNA and the antenna. Such co-design should bring another degree of freedom in the PA/LNA design, leading to an improved performance.

This research will evaluate and optimize the design of antennas on Silicon, specifically for frequencies above 200GHz. Furthermore, the co-design of the antenna with the analog front-end circuitry will be investigated for a CMOS technology.

Key words: analog circuit design, IC, mm-wave, CMOS

Latest Application date: 2009-09-01

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship or salary

Source of Funding: .

Duration of the Project : . years

Link: http://homes.esat.kuleuven.be/~reynaert/

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

Remarks: .

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Insights in substrate specificity and evolution of carbohydrate active enzymes
Promotor: Wim Van den Ende

Description: Mankind is becoming increasingly dependent on plant production, not only for staple foods, but also for energy, fine chemicals, functional foods, drugs and vaccines. The development of stress-resistent plants is essential in this context. Both fructans (fructose polymers) and RFOs (Raffininose family oligosaccharides) are popular health improving compounds (functional foods) that at the same time contribute to stress tolerance in plants by membrane stabilization and/or interfernce with oxidative stress defence (Van den Ende and Valluru, 2009).
The Lab of Molecular Plant Physiology has a long expertise on fructan metabolism in plants (such as chicory and wheat). The last years, we became also interested in RFO and sucrose metabolism (model plant Stellaria media and Arabidopsis thaliana, respectively). Different types of fructan biosynthetic enzymes (FTs) and breakdown enzymes (FEHs) are classified within the family GH32 of glycoside hydrolases, also harbouring invertases. The unravelling of the 3D structure of these enzymes helped to understand the huge variation in substrate specificities within GH32 (difference between invertase and FEH, difference between invertase and FT). However, some important questions remain to be answered in this research area such as:

1. In the active site of plant FTs, which are the key amino-acids determining the linkage type (2,1 vs 2,6) between the fructosyl units in growing fructan chains?
2. What is determining the length of the fructans formed?
3. In the active site of plant FEHs, which are the key amino-acids for determining the linkage type (2,1 vs 2,6) that will preferentially be degraded?
4. What are the key amino-acids in the active sites of:
*new FTs
*neutral invertases (GH100: sucrose metabolism)
*acid-type (GH27) and alkaline-type (GH36) of galactosidases and galactosyl transferases (RFO metabolism)

These insights will allow to create superior enzymes for future agronomical/industrial application with these soluble sugars.

Techniques: cloning, transformation to E. coli and P. pastoris for heterologous expression, purification and (kinetic) characterization of the recombinant proteins, crystallization, 3D structure determination of enzymes and enzyme-sugar complexen, ITC measurements, site-directed mutagenesis, docking and modelling studies.

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De mensheid zal in de toekomst nog meer afhankelijk zal worden van plantproduktie, niet alleen voor bulk voeding, maar ook voor energie, functionele voeding, fijne chemicaliën, medicijnen en vaccins. Het ontwikkelen van stress-tolerante planten is essentieel in deze context. Zowel fructanen (fructose polymeren) als RFO 's (Raffinose Familie Oligosacchariden) zijn bekende gezondheidsbevorderende componenten (prebiotica: functionele voeding) die in planten kunnen bijdragen tot stress-tolerantie.
Het Labo Voor Moleculaire Plantenfysiologie (KULeuven) heeft een uitgebreide expertise uitgebouwd aangaande het fructan metabolisme in allerlei planten (o.a. Cichorium intybus of witloof, Triticum aestivum of tarwe). De laatste jaren zijn daar ook het RFO en sucrose metabolisme bijgekomen (modelplanten Stellaria media, Arabidopsis thaliana).
We onderzoeken verschillende types fructosyltranferasen (FT's: fructan opbouw) en fructan exohydrolasen (FEH 's: fructan afbraak) binnen de familie GH32 waartoe ook invertasen (sucrose metabolisme) behoren. Het ontrafelen van hun 3D structuren helpt om de diversiteit aan substraatspecificiteiten te begrijpen. Een aantal belangrijke vragen blijven echter onopgelost:

1. Wat zijn de moleculaire determinanten in de active site van FT 's die bepalend zijn voor het bindingstype [β(2,1) of β (2,6)] tussen de fructose-eenheden?
2. Wat bepaalt de lengte van de fructanen die gevormd worden?
3. Wat zijn de moleculaire determinanten die bepalen of β(2,1) dan wel β (2,6) bindingen worden afgebroken door FEH 's?
4. Wat zijn de belangrijke aminozuren in de active sites van
*Nieuwe FT's?
*Neutrale invertasen (GH100: sucrose metabolisme)?
*Zure (GH27) en alkalische (GH36) galactosidasen en galactosyl transferasen (RFO metabolisme)?

Technieken: Clonering, transformatie naar E. coli en P. pastoris voor heterologe expressie, zuivering en kinetische analyse van de recombinate eiwitten, kristallisatie, 3D structuurbepaling van enzymen en enzym-ligand complexen, ITC metingen, site-directed mutagenese, docking en modelling studies.




Key words: carbohydrate active enzymes, fructan, RFO, specificity, site-directed mutagenesis

Latest Application date: 2009-07-26

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Source of Funding: FLOF scholarship 10465 (bursaal assistent)

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Research group: Department of Biology

Remarks: We seek strongly motivated candidates (biochemistry,biotechnology, molecular plant physiology, biology background) with interest in a combined "wet" and "in silico" approach. Candidates should be able to speak (and write) English and Dutch fluently and hold a master degree with distinction (> 70%). Teaching practical courses and guiding students are also included.

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Fundamental study of membrane fouling in MBR
Promotor: Ivo Vankelecom

Description: Membrane fouling in MBRs will be studied fundamentally at a molecular level from both a biological (starting fromthe microbial population) and a chemical (membrane composition and properties) poit of view.

Key words: membrane bio-reactor ; interactions ; polymeric membranes ; quorum sensing

Latest Application date: 2009-08-06

Financing: to apply for

Type of Position: scholarship or salary

Duration of the Project : 1-3 years

Research group: Department of Microbial and Molecular Systems (M#S)

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Develop a robust railway timetable for the Belgian Railways.
Promotor: Dirk Cattrysse, Pieter Vansteenwegen

Description: [*!Only for Dutch (or French) speaking candidates!*]
For 2012, the Belgian Railway Company (Infrabel) will design a new railway timetable. Infrabel wants the Centre for Industrial Management (CIB) to help them design a new and more robust timetable, using operations research (linear programming, mixed integer programming, etc.)

A few years ago, a CIB doctoral student developed a few timetabling principles and applied these to the whole Inter City (IC) network. Simulations have showed that the new IC timetable could reduce the passenger waiting time with 40% and the number of missed connections from 9 to 3%. At this moment, Infrabel is trying to introduce these principles in the way they design the timetable.

This doctoral research should assist Infrabel in designing the new timetable for 2012 and making it more robust. During peak hours, many trains face small delays. However small, these delays could cause many passengers to miss their connection. Infrabel wants to know how to deal with these small delays, when designing the timetable. A few principles are available from the previous research, but many questions and opportunities are still available.

• How to deal with the limited capacity of the "Noord-Zuid-As" in Brussels? The "Noord-Zuid-As" consists of only 6 tracks between the North and the South of Brussels with one intermediate station (Brussels-Central) and almost all trains in Belgium have to run through this "Noord-Zuid-As". Furthermore, the smallest delay on the Noord-Zuid-As will cause bigger delays as soon as the train leaves Brussels. Therefore, many passengers risk missing their connection later on, during their trip.
• How to deal with limited capacity in different stations?
• How to take into account crew schedules and the availability of train material?
• Which problems can be solved by buffer times (or time supplements)? How to calculate ideal buffer times?

All required data about current delays of trains is available. A lot of know how is present in the CIB (about operations research and buffer calculations) and Infrabel is eager to support this research in all possible ways.


Key words: operations research - railway timetabling - robust - OR - dienstregeling - operationeel onderzoek - treinen

Latest Application date: 2009-09-15

Financing: available

Type of Position: salary

Source of Funding: Infrabel - CIB

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://cib.kuleuven.be/research/index.htm

Research group: Department of Mechanical Engineering

Remarks: This position is only open for Dutch (or French) speaking candidates.

You will be working full-time on your doctoral research at the CIB (K.U. Leuven - Campus Arenberg Heverlee). The output of your work will be used in practice by Infrabel.

The project can start in September or October 2009. The sooner you apply, the higher the chance you will be accepted.

If you are interested in this topic, please contact Pieter Vansteenwegen (pieter.vansteenwegen@cib.kuleuven.be) for more information.

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ICT for smart electrical grids
Promotor: Geert Deconinck

Description: Microgrids are parts of the electricity distribution grid which include different distributed energy resources (DER), such as generators based on renewable energy (sun, wind,...), storage elements and intelligent loads. Such microgrids can run electrical applications in island mode or connected to the main grid. Beside the electrical connection among the DER, such applications require an information and communication architecture for data exchange and control purposes.
This coupled ICT & energy infrastructure must be sufficiently resilient in order to minimise the impact of failing ICT components on the microgrid applications.
The goal of this research project is help designing and evaluation an ICT architecture for smart grids applications.

Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-07-21

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship or salary

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

Remarks: Potential candidates should have a good background in power engineering, as well as in information and communication technology. They should have obtained excellent study results and be highly motivated for a PhD project.

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Mathematical Statistics
Promotor: Irène Gijbels

Description: We are looking for a Ph.D. student who will do research in mathematical statistics, i.e. parametric and non-parametric statistics, statistics of extreme values, financial statistics.

Key words: Mathematical statistics, financial mathematics

Latest Application date: 2009-07-31

Financing: to apply for

Type of Position: scholarship

Source of Funding: Department of Mathematics

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://wis.kuleuven.be/stat/robust

Research group: Department of Mathematics

Remarks: This position also requires teaching duties (up to 4 hours weekly). The candidate is expected to learn Dutch within two years. The position starts October 1, 2009 (or later). An earlier starting date is negotiable. The contract is two years, with a possible extension for another two years.


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MID-FREQUENCY - CAE Methodologies for Mid-Frequency Analysis in Vibration and Acoustics
Promotor: Bert Pluymers

Description: EU FP7 Marie Curie Fellowship:

Effective and efficient vibration and acoustic analysis, modelling and design methods are required to produce world-leading products with good noise and vibration performance. Noise and vibration levels must remain within safe limits, there are issues regarding human comfort and a need for robust, optimal, efficient designs. There is also an increasing trend towards virtual design and prototyping, to reduce costs and development times. For all these reasons good analysis and modeling tools are essential.

Ideally such tools would be applicable over the whole frequency range of interest, which is the audio-frequency range for automotive and aerospace structures, for instance. In practice, specific methods are applicable in a limited frequency region. Finite element analysis (FEA) is a "low frequency" method which is both well developed and well established. At "high frequencies" statistical energy analysis (SEA) is a valuable, but less well-established, tool. There is however a "mid-frequency" gap in our modelling capabilities: too high for FEA, too low for SEA. This is important, since it strongly affects product performance and competitiveness, and forms the target for this ITN. Substantial challenges exist in this "mid-frequency" range. New analysis approaches are essential to produce world-leading products.

This ITN brings together academic and industrial beneficiaries who will together host researchers, drawing together skills and expertise in a range of different technical approaches. The industrial beneficiaries bring specific applications, behind which are generic difficulties associated with the mid-frequency region. The academic beneficiaries bring a diverse range of potential research approaches and the capability of research training, provision of courses and dissemination to the wider community. Together they can develop and promote research, knowledge and application of mid-frequency vibration and acoustics analysis techniques within EU industry.


Key words: numerical modelling, acoustics, mid-frequency

Latest Application date: 2010-10-01

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Source of Funding: EU FP7 ITN

Duration of the Project : 1 to 3 years

Link: http://www.midfrequency.org

Research group: Department of Mechanical Engineering

Remarks: Applicants should have experience in mid-frequency acoustic numerical modelling.

Applicants should be eligible according to the EU ITN rules:
(i) having a nationality different from the Belgian nationality;
(ii) having not worked/resided in Belgium for more than 12 months in the previous 36 months;
(iii) having less then 4 years of research experience, starting from the date you received a degree which allows you to start a PhD;

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VECOM - Vehicle Concept Modeling
Promotor: Bert Pluymers

Description: EU FP7 Marie Curie Fellowship:

The aim of the proposed training network is to provide dedicated research training in the emerging field of vehicle concept modelling for up-front pre-CAD functional performance engineering, bridging between industry and academia across Europe. The research area is of highly strategic importance to European automotive OEMs, who must launch products on an ever shorter time frame, at increased quality of multiple performance attributes. When simulation results become available in an early design stage, problems can already be solved before the first detailed CAD model is created, which will increase the quality of the first detailed simulation models and reduce the time to market. Moreover, early what-if studies can be performed to balance and optimize possibly conflicting performance attributes (safety, NVH, dynamics, durability ...) at an increased feasibility and at reduced costs. Novel methods will be developed to address this industrial need for a novel engineering process in which analysis leads the design. Applications will be worked out across partners and application fields, fully embedded in the vehicle industry context. Apart from benefits to researchers, partners and supervisors (OEMs), the proposed project will strengthen the competitive position of the European vehicle industry in the increasingly global market.



Key words: Vehicle engineering, Mechanical engineering, Industrial engineering, Design engineering

Latest Application date: 2010-10-01

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Source of Funding: EU FP7 ITN

Duration of the Project : 1 to 3 years

Link: http://www.vecom.org

Research group: Department of Mechanical Engineering

Remarks: Applicants should have experience in numerical modelling.

Applicants should be eligible according to the EU ITN rules:
(i) having a nationality different from the Belgian nationality;
(ii) having not worked/resided in Belgium for more than 12 months in the previous 36 months;
(iii) having less then 4 years of research experience, starting from the date you received a degree which allows you to start a PhD;

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Doctoraatsbursaal Biochemie- en Biotechnologie
Promotor: Hans Deckmyn

Description: Het doctoraatsonderzoek zal gebeuren binnen het Laboratorium voor Trombose Onderzoek (http://www.kuleuven-kortrijk.be/irc/trombose) en zal ingepast worden in het lopend onderzoek naar hetzij de ontwikkeling van nieuwe antitrombotica, gentherapie voor bloedingsziekten of functionele genomica van bloedplaatjes.

Van de kandidaat wordt tevens onderwijsondersteuning verwacht (oefeningen, practica chemie/biochemie) bij onderwijs in of verzorgd door Wetenschap & Technologie Campus Kortrijk (Bacheloropleidingen)

De kandidaat behaalde het master diploma in de richting Chemie, Biochemie&Biotechnologie, Biologie, Bio-Ingenieur (bij voorkeur Cel- en Gentechnologie), Biomedische of Farmaceutische wetenschappen, en heeft zich tijdens zijn/haar studies onderscheiden. Ook laatstejaar-studenten kunnen zich aanmelden voor deze vacature.

Key words: gentechnology, trombose, gentherapie, genomica

Latest Application date: 2009-07-08

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship or salary

Source of Funding: Wetenschap & Technologie, Campus Kortrijk

Duration of the Project : 1 years

Link: http://www.kuleuven-kortrijk.be/irc/trombose

Research group: Subfaculty of Sciences Campus Kortrijk

Remarks: (1 jaar, te verlengen)

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3D city reconstruction
Promotor: Luc Van Gool

Description: The goal is to efficiently and automatically create 3D city models.
This will be achieved through a combined use of ground-level and
aerial images. The PhD project will focus on the construction of
textured, 3D descriptions of the roofs. This is a challenging
problem, as roof tops often have intricate structures, esp. in old
city centers. Complementary projects are dealing with the facades.

Key words: computer vision, 3D, images, city model

Latest Application date: 2009-12-14

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship or salary

Source of Funding: EU project or IBBT project

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

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3D shape classification
Promotor: Luc Van Gool

Description: Increasingly, objects are scanned in order to obtain their digital, 3D models.
As 3D model collections grow, it is all the more important to have efficient
tools to retrieve those models. In the context of a European project, with
partners from major museums like the Louvre and the Victoria & Albert
Museum, such tools are to be developed. These should be sufficiently
flexible such that experts can train the system to find objects of interest
specifically to them. For instance, when searching in a repository of
amphorae, these can be classified according to different criteria. The system
should learn the relevant criteria automatically, through a user-friendly
training procedure. High-level semantic queries should become possible.
For instance, in a repository of 3D models of sculptures held at the different
member museums, the tools should support queries like all `female torsos',
or all `men in armor kneeling'. This project will be at the forefront of 3D
model retrieval and object categorisation.


Key words: 3D model, computer vision, cultural heritage, classification

Latest Application date: 2009-12-14

Financing: available

Type of Position: salary

Source of Funding: EU project 3D COFORM

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

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maximal use for the minidome
Promotor: Luc Van Gool

Description: Our team built a capturing system, based on photometric stereo. It has a
hemispherical shape, with multiple LEDs providing controllable lighting and
where images are captured by an overhead camera. From its images, it is
possible to virtually manipulate and relight the piece that has been captured
(image-based rendering, with a good quality 3D proxy). This can also be done
over the Internet, so that experts worldwide can inspect pieces as if they would
hold them in their hands. The minidome is easy to transport. It can be assembled and disassembled by the user, and fits in a standard air flight case. It is already used actively by archaeologists, at excavation sites. The goal of the project is to improve on the 3D and reflectance measurement quality, by adding cameras. It is important that the system remains as portable as it currently is.


Key words: 3D model, computer vision, cultural heritage, capturing, lighting

Latest Application date: 2009-12-14

Financing: available

Type of Position: salary

Source of Funding: EU project 3D COFORM

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

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self-maid robot
Promotor: Luc Van Gool

Description: In the context of a European project, we will endow a robot with visual
capabilities necessary to let it do errands for its owner. The robot will have
to navigate safely through traffic, will need to find the shops it needs to visit, and to ask for help to bypassers when needed (for which gesture recognition is a requirement). In terms of the methodology, several computer vision fields need to be combined. Successful implementations will need to combine state-of-the-art object recognition, 3D reconstruction for egomotion analysis, and tracking. The work is part of a European project, with partners from Switzerland, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom.


Key words: computer vision, robotics, recognition

Latest Application date: 2009-12-14

Financing: available

Type of Position: salary

Source of Funding: EU project EUROPA

Duration of the Project : 3 years

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

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Transport of dissolved organic matter from soils to surface water in agricultural areas: identifying and modeling the pathways and processes
Promotor: Jan Diels

Description: A PhD fellowship (2 years, renewable for another 2 years) is available on a research project that seeks to improve our understanding of the transport of dissolved organic matter from agricultural land to surface water at the scale of small catchments.

All natural waters contain organic matter in the form of Dissolved Organic Matter (DOM) The dissolved organic matter (DOM) affects a suite of processes in surface water and soils because it provides energy and nutrients for the biota and it affects the bioavailability of trace metals and organic pollutants. In addition, DOM plays a role as electron donor in denitrification in riparian zones, and leads to the formation of unwanted disinfection by-products in drinking water production.

DOM can be transported to surface water by surface flow, subsurface flow, and baseflow, The fate of DOM differs along these flow paths, and the hydrology of a catchment thus affects the concentration and composition of the DOM that reaches the surface waters. To assess the relative importance of flow paths for transport for DOM from soil to surface water, DOM transport processes will be monitored in two areas with very distinct soilscapes: one set of measurements will be conducted in a 117-ha agricultural catchment in the erosion-prone silt-loam belt in central Belgium. Another set of observations will be made in a small (10-50 ha) headwater catchment (Rollesbroich catchment, mainly grassland) in the Eifel region near Aachen, Germany. Research at the second field site will be carried out in close collaboration with the Agrosphere Institute at the Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany.

To model DOM fluxes and pathways from the soil to surface water, the candidate will build on modelling approaches that describe surface run-off and 3-D water flow in the saturated and unsaturated zone of small catchments.


Key words: hydrology, soil water flow, runoff, sediment, surface flow, subsurface flow

Latest Application date: 2009-07-14

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Source of Funding: FWO project

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://ees.kuleuven.be

Research group: Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Remarks: Candidates should have master degree (or equivalent) that is relevant for the research topic. Candidates should be interested in process research, field experimentation and numerical modeling. Strong motivation, good analytical skills, and the ability to function well in a team are essential. Candidates should be fluent in English, both written and spoken.

Review of applications will begin July 15, 2009 and continue until the position is filled.

This is a PhD position at the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences in a collaborative research project between the Division Soil and Water Management (Prof. Jan Diels, Prof. Jan Vanderborght) and the Division Physical and Regional Geography (Prof. Gerard Govers).

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Analysis and computational control of large-scale dynamical systems and networks
Promotor: Wim Michiels

Description: PhD positions are vacant in the area of computational control of large-scale dynamical systems and networks. The emphasis is on systems described by delay differential equations and partial differential equaitons, and on the development of optimization based control design methods. Also particular attention will be paid to assessing the qualitative effects of coupling delays in interconnected dynamical control systems.

Some keywords are: systems and control, optimization, dynamical systems, infinite-dimensional systems, partial and delay differential equations, numerical simulation, numerical linear algebra, bifurcation analysis

The research will be carried out at the Numerical Analyis and Applied Mathematics Section, in the team of prof. Wim Michiels.


Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-09-01

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.cs.kuleuven.be/~wimm

Research group: Department of Computer Science

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PhD Position on Optimal Robot Path Tracking
Promotor: Jan Swevers

Description: Aim of the project is to develop ultra-fast on-line optimization methods for path tracking of robot manipulators taking into account joint and link flexibilities and system model uncertainty. The developed algorithms optimize on-line the trajectories and feedforward commands along paths generated by high-level geometric path planners, thereby taking into account manipulator dynamics including flexibilities and actuator constraints. The optimization considers time- and/or energy-optimality and is updated during each control cycle using the geometric path information available at that time. This requires efficient solution update methods to deal with constantly varying geometric path data, thereby allowing tighter integration with and feedback to
the high-level geometric path planners.

This research project is a continuation of the research described on:
http://people.mech.kuleuven.be/~dversche/timeopt/timeopt.html

The requirements are a strong background in control and dynamic system modeling, numerical optimization, programming, the ability to communicate with mathematical optimizers, strong interest and experience for work on real-world experiments, and enthusiasm for the project. Proficiency in English is a requirement.

Apply now if you are interested in this PhD position.
Send your electronic application to Professor Jan Swevers: jan.swevers@mech.kuleuven.be
Subject of your email should be: "Robot control PhD application".

Include a CV, certificates with high school and university marks, Toefl test results (if applicable), a list of publications, names of two possible references, and a brief description of your research interests are most welcome.

We offer
Besides a competitive salary we offer a stimulating research environment within our division PMA (http://www.mech.kuleuven.be/pma/) and the Optimization in Engineering Center OPTEC (http://homes.esat.kuleuven.be/~optec/ ).


Key words: robot control, optimization

Latest Application date: 2009-09-18

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Source of Funding: University project

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Research group: Department of Mechanical Engineering

Remarks:


Apply to Click here to apply to this project

PhD Position on Optimal Robot Path Tracking
Promotor: Jan Swevers

Description: Aim of the project is to develop ultra-fast on-line optimization methods for path tracking of robot manipulators taking into account joint and link flexibilities and system model uncertainty. The developed algorithms optimize on-line the trajectories and feedforward commands along paths generated by high-level geometric path planners, thereby taking into account manipulator dynamics including flexibilities and actuator constraints. The optimization considers time- and/or energy-optimality and is updated during each control cycle using the geometric path information available at that time. This requires efficient solution update methods to deal with constantly varying geometric path data, thereby allowing tighter integration with and feedback to
the high-level geometric path planners.

This research project is a continuation of the research described on:
http://people.mech.kuleuven.be/~dversche/timeopt/timeopt.html

The requirements are a strong background in control and dynamic system modeling, numerical optimization, programming, the ability to communicate with mathematical optimizers, strong interest and experience for work on real-world experiments, and enthusiasm for the project. Proficiency in English is a requirement.

Apply now if you are interested in this PhD position.
Click below or send your electronic application to Professor Jan Swevers: jan.swevers@mech.kuleuven.be
Subject of your email should be: "Robot control PhD application".

Include a CV, certificates with high school and university marks, Toefl test results (if applicable), a list of publications, names of two possible references, and a brief description of your research interests are most welcome.

We offer
Besides a competitive salary we offer a stimulating research environment within our division PMA (http://www.mech.kuleuven.be/pma/) and the Optimization in Engineering Center OPTEC (http://homes.esat.kuleuven.be/~optec/ ).


Key words: robot control, optimization

Latest Application date: 2009-09-18

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Source of Funding: University project

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Research group: Department of Mechanical Engineering

Remarks:


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NEW MODEL-BASED CONCEPTS FOR NANO-ENGINEERED POLYMER COMPOSITES
Promotor: Stepan Lomov

Description: The goal of the project is to develop a new class of polymer composites with a breakthrough performance in damage resistance. The focus will be on designing, manufacturing and characterizing of carbon fiber reinforced composites based on nano-engineered epoxy matrices. Matrix nano-engineering will involve tailored positioning of carbon nanotubes in structurally hierarchical, multi-phase epoxy media.

Study content
• MANUFACTURING OF CARBON FIBRE REINFORCED COMPOSITES (FRCs) BASED ON NANOENGINEERED MATRICES
The first part of the PhD studies will include manufacturing of the optimized FRCs based on carbon fibers and hierarchical epoxy matrices reinforced with carbon nanotubes (CNTs) Different composite manufacturing methods will be explored, including compression molding and Resin Transfer Molding. Specific tasks will include:
1. Manufacturing FRCs with resins in the presence of free CNTs (randomly dispersed)
2. Manufacturing FRCs with CNTs grown the fiber surface
3. Development of new manufacturing techniques to align CNTs in fibre reinforced composites

• CHARACTERIZATION OF MECHANICAL PERFORMANCE
Mechanical properties of the novel damage resistant composites will be investigated and ultimately validated in a full scale test program (from macro to nano levels). This approach is expected to intensify our understanding on how the exceptional behavior on the nano level is translated and manifested in the improved performance on the macro level. Experimental characterization will span several structural levels with registration of parameters (such as stiffness, strength, fracture toughness…) and processes (such as evolution of strain fields and damage succession evidenced by acoustic emission, fractography studies …).

Requirements
1. Master degree in one of the following fields (or similar)
• Composites materials, Materials Science, Materials Engineering, Mechanical engineering, Polymer science, …
2. Research experience
• Master thesis work involving processing, production, testing of composite materials and/or experience working with nanocomposites
• a candidate having publications and/or conference papers will have an advantage
3. Communication skills
• ability to work both independently and in a team
4. Language:
• English.

CHECK-LIST FOR THE APPLICANTS (information to accompany your CV)

√ I have a Master degree in one of the fields mentioned above Provide details
√ I have done research work in the field of composite materials…
… and have published/submitted for publication the results (if any) Provide details; give a synopsis of the research
Provide bibliographic details
√ I am familiar with processing, production techniques of composite materials/nanomaterials …
Provide details: brief descriptions on the performed work
√ I am familiar with mechanical testing …
Provide details: brief description of the performed tests (if any)
√ I understand the project description and it interests me
Write one-page comment on the project, relating it to your own experience and education
√ I am familiar with the current state of the arte in the area of nanocomposites.
Enclose a brief literature review (<2 pages) on the techniques to tailor positioning of carbon nanotubes in fibre-reinforced composites.
√ I speak and write good English Illustrate it in your application!

CONTACT
Dr. Larissa Gorbatikh
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Department of Metallurgy and Materials Engineering
Kasteelpark Arenberg, 44, 3001 Heverlee , Belgium
tel +32-16-32-13-19
fax +32-16-32-19-90
Larissa.Gorbatikh@mtm.kuleuven.be


Key words: fibre reinforced composites, carbon nanotubes, characterization, production, testing, experimental work

Latest Application date: 2009-08-18

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Source of Funding: GOA-KULeuven project

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Research group: Department of Metallurgy and Materials Engineering (MTM)

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Healthcare logistics/operations management
Promotor: Liliane Pintelon

Description: Recently the service sector is becoming more and more important. Industrial engineering techniques need to be adapted or extended to be useful here. The research proposed here is on industrial engineering in the healthcare sector; more specifically in a hospital environment. Several topics are possible. This research will be conducted in cooperation with UZLeuven.

Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-08-18

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://cib.kuleuven.be

Research group: Department of Mechanical Engineering

Remarks: Candidates needs to be of excellent academic standing. Knowledge of Dutch is recommended.

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Molecular basis for feeding and sleeping in insects
Promotor: Roger Huybrechts

Description: In Drosophila the gene product of quiver, alternativively named sleepless is required for homeostatic regulation of sleep under normal conditions and after sleep deprivation (Koh et al 2008). In a knockdown experiment about 10% of the flies are not sleeping at all. In human, orexin or hypocretin neuropeptides are known to restore normal metabolism after sleep deprivation (narcolepsy). From a genomic screen in the honeybee and the storage pestbeetle Tribolium the presence of an orexin type receptor is predicted. A blast screen links this receptor family to SIF amide type receptors. It will not be of any surprise to hear that SIFamide peptides in crustaceans are widely present in de midgut epithelium. In insects those SIFamide peptide is restricted to 4 neuronal celbodies but shows many arborisations pointing to a wide functionality as do the orexins in vertebrates. An interactive research in eg the honeybee or Tribolium might shed new light on extra functionalities of these peptides sand the interaction with their cognitive receptor.
This research/PhD position is open for biologists (molecular biology background), Biochemist, Biomedical students and Bioingeneers.

Key words: Neuro-endocrinology, neuropeptide, GPCR, receptor deorphnisation, genetics, RNai

Latest Application date: 2009-07-10

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Source of Funding: Flanders science foundation

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Research group: Department of Biology

Remarks: Since only a sholarship can be paid for three years and Phd experimental work mostly takes a minimum of 4 years we advise any interested person to start by sending in a grant application to the IWT (deadline end of August 2009). The result of this application (including an oral defense)is known in December. When unsuccesful with the grant application but after having demonstrated research skills and enthousiasm a scholarship is assurerd starting in January 2010. Notice that a degree cum laude (onderscheiding)is needed to start a PhD at the Kuleuven

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EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY AND FUNCTIONAL GENOMICS: ADAPTIVE EVOLUTION OF MARINE FISHES
Promotor: Filip Volckaert

Description: RESEARCH CONTEXT:
Our team studies the intraspecific evolution of the fish genome and its interactions with parasites and the environment. At the moment adaptive evolution is being studied in key ecological and economic fishes (e.g., Raeymaekers et al. 2007; Maes et al. 2007; Souche et al. 2007; Chistiakov et al. 2008).
ASSIGNMENT:
We support an open call for a PhD scholarship in fish evolution. The immediate task involves the in depth analysis of large-scale pyrosequencing (454) runs (annotation and polymorphism detection). Subsequently, the aim is to set-up and screen a SNP array for European eel and common sole for neutral and adaptive signatures.
PROFILE:
The candidate (M.Sc. in (molecular) biological sciences, bioinformatics or biochemical sciences with excellent skills in genomics, bioinformatics and programming) will extract and interpret information from a large genetic dataset.
WE OFFER:
You will join an expert team in ecological genetics and environmental genomics. A fully equipped medium throughput DNA lab, including a capillary sequencer, is operational. Salary is according to Belgian government standards (ca €1500/month net). Leuven (http://www.leuven.be) is a pretty historical university city with a very high and pleasant standard of living. The historic university, founded in 1425 (http://www.kuleuven.be/en), has a top research and teaching standard.

Key words: bioinformatics, evolution, fish, genomics

Latest Application date: 2009-08-24

Financing: to apply for

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://bio.kuleuven.be/dev

Research group: Department of Biology

Remarks: Apply with a CV, two names of referees and a letter of motivation

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Optimization Methods for Distributed Model Predictive Control
Promotor: Moritz Diehl

Description: The position is part of a European project on hierarchical and distributed model predictive control with partners in Europe and the US, HD-MPC. The position at OPTEC has as its aim the development of decomposition methods, distributed state estimation and MPC. Work will be both on computational aspects - for example efficient distributed algorithms and implementations, online initialization for nonlinear optimization - as well as on convergence questions - for example: when does a distributed MPC protocol converge to the solution of the centralized MPC optimization problem?

A good background in control engineering, mathematics, or physics and solid knowledge of numerical methods in control and programming skills are a prerequisite, as well as a strong interest in application driven interdisciplinary work, cooperation skills and knowledge of English. The project partners are Dutch, French, Spanish, Italian, so any of these languages is an advantage.

Key words: nonlinear/convex optimization, decomposition methods,

Latest Application date: 2009-08-24

Financing: available

Type of Position: salary

Source of Funding: European Project + Local Funds

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://homes.esat.kuleuven.be/~optec/jobs.php

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

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Biomechanics of body support during sleep
Promotor: Jos Vander Sloten

Description: Scientists have only recently (last 50 years) started to study the interaction of relevant environmental variables with sleeping behavior. This project is a collaboration between the division of Biomechanics, M3-Biores (K.U.Leuven), the department of Cognitive and Biological Psychology of the VUB and the Sleep Disorders Center of the UZA. In this PhD, the influence of biomechanically related factors, such as spine support and pressure distribution, will be investigated as well as their effect on sleeping human subjects. By means of precise measuring and modeling techniques, a profound scientific knowledge base is to be set up regarding the impact of bedding systems on the improvement of sleep quality in general, as determined by polysomnography. The scientific insights will be translated into the design of optimal settings for a sleep support system, to be adjusted either manually or automatically.

Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-07-25

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Source of Funding: SBO grant

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Research group: Department of Mechanical Engineering

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Electromagnetic Field Simulation for Future Particle Accelerators
Promotor: Herbert De Gersem

Description: Particle accelerators are applied for fundamental research in physics, chemistry and biology. They are used for e.g. material characterisation, food sterilisation and cancer therapy. Future accelerators will allow higher energies and better focusing. Key parts of a particle accelerator are the resonating cavities that accelerate the charged particles, and the magnets that bend, focus and handle the particle beam. Almost every accelerator is a prototype in which new working principles and materials are applied for the first time. Some novelties find their way to a broader application range, e.g. superconductive magnets in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and magnetic levitation in high-speed trains. Not only the technology in accelerators but also the corresponding design tools are situated at the edge of the present-day possibilities. Superconductive cavities and magnets with higher performance originate in the minds of physicist and engineers and give first evidence of their performance in electromagnetic field simulations, which on their turn need to be state-of-the-art in order to cope with increased requirements on accuracy, reliability, functionality and flexibility.
This project deals with research on algorithms for electromagnetic field simulation (formulation, discretisation, time integration, material modelling, meshing) and makes use of resonating cavities and superconductive magnets as exemplary applications. The obtained results, however, are also relevant for electronic systems, mobile communication systems, sensors and electrical-energy transducers. The acquired knowledge will be exploited to participate at the design of future particle accelerators and, hence, will indirectly contribute to other disciplines in science and technology.

Key words: physics, electrical engineering, computational science

Latest Application date: 2009-12-31

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship or salary

Source of Funding: onderzoekstoelage

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.kuleuven-kortrijk.be

Research group: Subfaculty of Sciences Campus Kortrijk

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Tuning Ion-solid interactions for sub-nm resolution composition profiling
Promotor: Wilfried Vandervorst

Description: One of the major challenges for process development is the engineering of the gate stack and source/drain profiles as the down scaling calls for layers which are only a few nm thick and doping profiles extending less than 10 nm deep. Compositional characterization of these layers is almost exclusively done with Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS) in view of its unchallenged sensitivity and depth resolution. SIMS is based on the interaction of a primary ion beam with the target causing particles to be sputtered from which the ionized fraction can be analyzed in a mass Spectrometer. The main problems encountered in this method are the interaction mechanisms induced by the primary ion (collision cascade, radiation enhanced diffusion, primary ion incorporation, compound formation) as well as the secondary processes (sputtering, particle ionization, cluster formation of emitted particles) and practical issues (charging, crater edge effects, roughening, collection efficiencies, isotopic fractionation effects) which all lead to potential distortions of the recorded profile and a loss in depth resolution and quantification. In view of the objective to arrive at a fully quantified profile with sub-nm depth resolution, fundamental studies addressing all these aspects are required. In the present project the emphasis is placed on the interaction (incorporation, workfunction variation, Cs-migration, collision cascade, transients in sputter yields) of a (very) low energy Cs-beam with a semiconductor target and its influence on profile distortions (surface transients, depth resolution, tailing,..),. Hereby do we introduce also a new concept (mixed beam erosion) which is based on the quasi-simultaneous bombardment with Cs and Xe (O2). The second beam can be used to control the Cs-content (and thus ionization, migration etc) independently and open the door towards ultra high depth resolution (sub-nm) as required for next generation technologies.
The work will involve the exploration of the (time dependent) effects of these mixed beams, the fundamental physical understanding of their impact on the Cs-content ( and its work function lowering), the theoretical and experimental investigation of surface roughness development (ripple formation) under ion erosion and its impact on depth resolution and comprehensive study of ionization mechanisms of sputtered particles. The latter is a challenging problem (requiring detailed physical insight) as the ionization mechanism occurs within a perturbed lattice (validity of concepts such as band structure) and depends on many parameters (workfunction of the surface, degree of oxidation of the surface, valence band structure, heat of oxide formation of individual elements, polarity of the secondary ion, …).
Besides the fundamental aspects the work is driven by the technological developments (and interactions with process engineers) requiring an extremely precise analysis with very near-atomic depth resolution. Layers to be studied originate from our technological developments and the work is also linked to the practical aspects of quantitative analysis of multilayer systems such a Si/SiGe, Si/SiO2, high-k (Hf, Zr, Al based) dielectrica/Si whereby one is confronted with changing ionization and sputter yields and sometimes unstable materials (relaxation of strained SiGe, oxygen migration in Zr-oxides, ..).


Key words: ion-solid interactions, SIMS, sub-nm semiconductor profiling, sputtering, ionization

Latest Application date: 2009-08-28

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship or salary

Source of Funding: Imec

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.imec.be

Research group: Department of Physics and Astronomy

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Multiscale modelling of gas exchange in plant tissues
Promotor: Bart Nicolai

Description: Exchange of O2 and CO2 of plants with their environment is essential for metabolic processes such as photosynthesis and respiration. Plants do not have specialised systems for gas exchange but rely on apertures in the epidermis such as stomata and lenticels and the intercellular air space within the tissue. As there is, to date, no good method to measure in vivo internal gas concentrations in plants, a mathematical modelling approach would provide an alternative to predict the internal gas concentrations. Multiscale gas exchange models are basically a hierarchy of models which describe the gas transport phenomena at different spatial scales. The models are coupled via in silico experiments, in which the model parameters relevant to a particular spatial scale (e.g., apparent diffusion parameters at the macroscale) are computed from numerical experiments at the microscale (¡¥homogenisation¡¦). The objective of this doctoral research project is (i) to construct a multiscale model for gas exchange of photosynthetic tissue based on an existing multiscale model for gas exchange in fruit, and (ii) use this model to study gas exchange mechanisms and their effect on photosynthesis. Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) leaf will be chosen as model system. The following aspects need to be considered in the research work:
„Ï Develop models and determine parameters for biochemical CO2 assimilation during photosynthesis at the scales of cells and leaves;
„Ï Visualize the leaf microstructure using microscopy methods, including electron microscopy and (synchrotron) X-ray microtomography;
„Ï Develop geometrical models of leaf architecture;
„Ï Develop and apply models of CO2 transport through stomata, the intercellular pore space and its assimilation in mesophyll cells of leaf using finite elements software;
„Ï Conduct experiments and perform model validation studies;
„Ï Dissemination and technology transfer of the results to the international research community and industry


Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-10-31

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Research group: Department of Biosystems (BIOSYST)

Remarks: We are looking for an enthousiastic candidate with preferably a Master degree in exact sciences, with a keen interest in biology and who is able to combine experimental skills with mathematical modelling.

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Unravelling tomato cell responses & tomato fruit ripening through metabolic pathway modelling
Promotor: Bart Nicolai

Description: To further strengthen the MeBioS compuational cell biology research team, we are looking for a doctoral student with interest in developing competencies in mathematical modelling for systems biology purposes. The research will focus on metabolic pathway modelling which is an essential step in the construction of a virtual organism, in casu, the virtual tomato cell & the virtual tomato fruit. Such models are based on the stoichiometry of the main biochemical reactions occurring in the cell. Based on the stoichiometry, a system of equations can be solved using experimental data of metabolite consumption and production in order to obtain information about extracellular and intracellular fluxes. A first requirement is the knowledge about the biochemical structure of a system (i.e. the reactions which link different substrates to each other). For the most important pathways, including those of the central respiration metabolism, this knowledge is readily available in the literature. The model, however, inevitably contains constants which need to be estimated from experiments in which changes in biochemical fluxes as a consequence of changing environmental conditions are experimentally determined.
For the virtual tomato cell, focus will be on the completeness of the metabolic pathway model to increase understanding of the actual biochemistry. Furthermore, the doctoral research will elucidate to what extend it is possible to link the morphology and physiology of the ripening tomato fruit at macro scale with the measurements at metabolomics, proteomics, and recent results on transcriptomics, at the level of pericarp tissue. Hereto, growth models describing tomato fruit development will be designed. A two-way interaction between modelling developments and experimental design is envisaged. An important concept will be the issue of optimization: at all stages of growth and ripening, biochemical pathways are regulated to be robust and efficient towards a specific metabolic objective, and recent results indicate that considerations related with optimization allow to discriminate between different, competing modelling assumptions.


Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-10-31

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Research group: Department of Biosystems (BIOSYST)

Remarks: We are looking for a candidate with a Master Degree in (Bio)engineering or bio-informatics.

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A systems biology approach to browning disorder in apple
Promotor: Bart Nicolai

Description: The Flemish apple production is an important economic activity which can compete at the international level. Internal browning disorder is responsible for unexpected and unpredictable losses in the apple industry worldwide. The incidence level strongly varies between cultivars, batches, seasons and orchards and generally only develops during the course of medium to long term storage. Better insight in an early recognition of this disorder is therefore of eminent importance. To this end there is a need for:
„Ï improved phenotyping and definition of the different types of browning disorders arising in practice,
„Ï improved insight in the biochemical backgrounds of browning disorders in apple,
„Ï identification of potential biomarkers that can be used for early recognition of batches sensitive to browning disorder, either at harvest or early during storage.

The aim of this project is (i) to apply proteomic and metabolomic tools to improve our insight in the biochemical backgrounds of browning disorder in apple and (ii) through this approach identify potential biomarkers being either proteins or metabolites that can have a signalling function in identifying batches of fruit with increased risk to develop the internal browning disorder.
Depending on the choice of focus on either metabolomics or proteomics approaches the candidate will be able to work with techniques like 2D gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry either in combination with gas or liquid chromatography. Competencies in the area of multivariate statistics will be developed as well.


Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-10-31

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Research group: Department of Biosystems (BIOSYST)

Remarks: We are looking for a candidate with a Master Degree in Bioengineering, Biology or Chemistry with interest in plant physiology, proteomics and/or metabolomics.

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Non-destructive monitoring of physical and chemical properties of biological material by optical techniques
Promotor: Josse De Baerdemaeker

Description: Optical techniques, such as Vis-NIR spectroscopy, provide an interesting means to monitor both physical and chemical properties of materials in a fast, non-destructive and environment-friendly way. Therefore, they are increasingly adopted by industry for quality provision of biological materials, such as fruit, vegetables, grains, meat, eggs, …
The light reflected or transmitted by a sample will be altered compared to the incident light, and this alteration is caused by the physical and chemical properties of the sample. The fact that the measured spectrum contains information on both physical and chemical properties makes these very powerful techniques for monitoring both physical and chemical properties of biomaterials simultaneously, but it can also be seen as a drawback, because the information of interest will be contaminated by all the other information.
In classical spectroscopy the properties of interest are predicted by a statistical model based on the measured signals. Since these models cannot distinguish between the effect of changed light scattering, due to changes in the physical properties (e.g. particle size, cell wall breakdown,…) and the absorption, due to the chemical properties, this often leads to erroneous measurements. At MeBioS methodologies have been elaborated to separate the information on the physical and chemical properties of biomaterials based on the theories of light propagation and multiple measurements. This opens opportunities to access both the chemical and physical properties of biomaterials simultaneously. This PhD project, thus, aims to test the feasibility of these new methodologies for monitoring the physical and chemical quality of biological materials. Several applications are available and can be chosen according to the preferences of the candidate: analysis of the chorio-allantois membrane in hatching eggs, evolution of the quality of fruit during storage, monitoring of tissue growth, assessment of meat and cheese quality,…


Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-10-31

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Research group: Department of Biosystems (BIOSYST)

Remarks: We are looking for a candidate with a Master Degree in Bioengineering, Engineering, Biology or Chemistry.

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From microbiological food safety risk assessment to risk management: Listeria monocytogenes in cooked meat products
Promotor: Annemie Geeraerd

Description: Microbiological food safety is a primordial concern for quality managers within the food industry as well as public health authorities. The Codex Alimentarius Commission of the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) and the WHO (World Health Organization), adopted risk analysis as the common operational framework for food safety management. An important part of microbiological risk analysis, next to risk management and risk communication, is risk assessment; a process in which (i) the dynamics of microbiological hazards in the food chain are identified and characterized, and (ii) the exposure of consumers to the particular hazards is estimated. Quantitative microbiological risk assessment is performed through the dedicated use of mathematical modelling techniques (such as predictive microbiology models and dose-response models) and databases (such as food consumption databases and microbial databases).
Listeria monocytogenes is the causative agent of listeriosis, a relatively rare disease with a high fatality rate touching pregnant women, older people or immunocompromised people. It is a psychrotrophic micro-organism, resistant to preservation methods (reduced pH and water activity) and often associated with minimal processed food with prolonged shelf life.
The PhD student working on this project will develop competencies related with the development and analysis of a quantitative risk assessment model for L. monocytogenes in cooked meat products. Therfore, we are looking for a student interested in conceptual in silico simulation work. This doctoral research is part of a larger research project and will give ample opportunity to develop expertise with state-of-the-art microbiological risk assessement with a close link to food industry practices and management choices made within FASFC (Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain) and EFSA (European Food Safety Agency).


Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-10-31

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Research group: Department of Biosystems (BIOSYST)

Remarks: We are looking for a candidate with a Master Degree in Bioengineering, Engineering, Biology or Chemistry.

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Constructieve vormgeving
Promotor: Frank De Troyer

Description: Aan het departement ASRO komt een onderzoekspositie vrij voor een burgerlijk ingenieur-architect die een doctoraat wil maken in het domein van de constructieve vormgeving. Promotoren: Frank De Troyer (ASRO), Leo Van Broeck (ASRO) en Guido De Roeck (Bouwkunde).

Algemeen kader

Structuren en gebouwen met een sterke constructieve component worden voor hun dimensionering bijna op systematische wijze herleid tot een 2-dimensionaal model (een raamwerk, een spant, een boog met meerdere scharnieren, enz.). Hierdoor wordt vaak de kans gemist om een constructieve en vormelijke meerwaarde te realiseren door gebruik te maken van 3 dimensies. Vaak zien we dat door een slim gebruik van driedimensionale vervorming sterkere vormen kunnen ontstaan die, mèt een zeer hoge materiaal-efficiency, tegelijk zeer grote overspanningen aankunnen. We denken hierbij aan schaaldaken, gekromde oppervlakken, vouwstructuren, tensegrity structuren, enz.

Met willen met andere woorden op zoek gaan naar 3D vervorming, 3D complexiteit en constructief ontwerpen als bronnen van architecturale èn constructieve meerwaarde. Er wordt gemikt op een synergie tussen vormgeving en constructie, tussen visie en rekenmodel, tussen inventieve constructie en rationele begroting...


Doctoraal onderzoek

Binnen dit kader kan uitgezoomd worden naar een breder perspectief. Welke vormen van 3D distortie genereren constructieve meerwaarde? Welke zijn efficient qua materiaalverbruik, welke qua bouwkost? Welke zijn prefabriceerbaar? Vanaf welke 3D vervormingsgraad of kromming is er een significante constructieve meerwaarde qua materiaalverbruik qua sterkte of qua kostprijs?

Als alternatief kan het onderzoek vanin het begin gefocust worden op één specifieke soort van 3D complexiteit: vouwstructuren, of schaaldaken, of tensegrity structuren, enz.

Als mogelijke case studies of voorbeelden denken we aan: Tensegrity structuren, het werk van Buckminster Fuller of van Eladio Dieste, enz.


Key words: constructieve vormgeving - morphological engineering

Latest Application date: 2009-08-25

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship or salary

Source of Funding: departementele rekeneenheden

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Research group: Department of Architecture, Urban Design and Regional Planning

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Development of a Systems Biology derived monitor for sport-medical guidance
Promotor: Bart Landuyt

Description: Physical activity is accompanied by mobilisation and conversion of molecules such as carbohydrates, lipids and amino acids. These processes are strictly controlled by (peptide) hormones and are accompanied by major metabolic changes. However, current knowledge of this metabolic and endocrine impact of physical training is limited and does not allow prediction of individual responses (increased fat burning, increased endurance, muscle hypertrophy, increased muscle strength, etc...) to a certain kind of physical training (aerobic exercise, anaerobic exercise, strength training, interval training, etc...). The terms metabolome and peptidome refer to the collection of all metabolites and peptides present in a cell, tissue or organism at a certain time and under certain physiological circumstances. Metabolomics and peptidomics are two new research strategies for the qualitative and quantitative analysis of the metabolome and peptidome, respectively. The successful candidate will use these new "omics" research strategies to generate novel fundamental insights in the human metabolome and its endocrine regulation in general, and in the metabolic and endocrine effects of physical training in particular. This project aims to quantify the metabolic and endocrine effects of physical training and to define the relevant metabolites and peptides by the use of modern modelling techniques. The ultimate goal is to enable an individualised prediction of physical training efficiency, which would be very useful in our ageing and obese society.

This is a joint multidisciplinary project between the Laboratory of Functional Genomics and Proteomics, The ProMeta Interfaculty Center for Proteomics and Metabolomics, the Division M3-BIORES: Measure, Model & Manage Bioresponses, the spin-off company BioRICS (Biological Responses In Complex Systems) and the Research Unit of Exercise Training and Physical Fitness from the University of Ghent.


Key words: Metabolomics, Peptidomics, Mass Spectrometry, Mathematical Modeling, Physical Training

Latest Application date: 2009-08-21

Financing: to apply for

Type of Position: scholarship

Source of Funding: IWT Strategische Beurs (http://www.iwt.be/steun/beurzen/index.html)

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.biorics.com/

Research group: Department of Biology

Remarks: The position is open for a Bio- or Civil Engineer in Chemistry (or similar) with a strong interest in state-of-the-art analytical techniques and mathematical modeling systems.

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Search for an electric dipole moment of the neutron.
Promotor: Nathal Severijns

Description: This Ph.D. reserach project is part of a larger collaborative effort to search for an electric dipole moment of the neutron (d_n) at the new ultracold neutron source ruction at the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland. A non-vanishing value at the present level of sensitivuty would be a clear indication for a new type of CP violation, larger and not related to the CP violation that is included in the Standard Model via a phase in the quark mixing matrix. This could contribute to the understanding of the large matter-antimatter asymmetry in the universe. In a first phase the collaboration aims at improving the lower limit for d_n from the present 3 x 10^-26 e cm by almost one order of magnitude. In the second phase a sensitivity at the 5 x 10^-28 e cm level is envisaged.

Key words: ultra cold neutrons, electric dipole moment, CP violation

Latest Application date: 2009-07-31

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Source of Funding: FWO - G.0375.09

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Research group: Department of Physics and Astronomy

Remarks: This research project requires frequent visits and stays at the Paul Scherrer Institute (Villigen, Switzerland).

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PhD position in Operations Management or Operations Research
Promotor: Dirk Cattrysse, Pieter Vansteenwegen

Description: The Centre of Industrial Management, Traffic and Infrastructure of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Department of Mechanical Engineering) has two vacancies for doctoral students in operations management or operations research.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
(If you are interested in a PhD in operations management or research (production planning, logistics, metaheuristics, linear/integer programming, simulation, etc.), but not in one of the presented topics, do not hesitate to contact Pieter Vansteenwegen and discuss other possible topics.)
---------------------
Possible topics
---------------------
• Humanitarian Logistics
• Applying metaheuristics to deal with complex vehicle routing problems
• Comparing the performance of metaheuristics
• Design of robust railway timetables
• An extended and integrated approach to the mobile repairman problem
• Integrated production planning
• Forestry planning
• ...
--------------
Position
--------------
• a four year doctoral research position at K.U. Leuven;
• (80%) scientific research in the field of operations research;
• (20%) educational tasks: seminars, workshops, thesis coaching, etc.;
• attending conferences, visiting international partners, etc.


Key words: operational management, operational research, optimization

Latest Application date: 2009-08-31

Financing: available

Type of Position: salary

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://cib.kuleuven.be/research/index.htm

Research group: Department of Mechanical Engineering

Remarks: The starting date of this research position is preferably September or October 2009. The candidate should be able to write and teach in English (understanding Dutch is an advantage). He/She should have a master degree in engineering, business engineering, computer science, informatics or applied mathematics and have an interest in quantitative techniques and operations research.

For any questions about this vacancy, contact Pieter Vansteenwegen.
If you are interested, please send your application (CV and a motivation letter) as soon as possible and preferably before August, 1.


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Computational aspects of uncertainty propagation in multiscale systems
Promotor: Dirk Roose

Description: Context:
Many problems in science and engineering are characterized by the presence of multiple scales. In the Scientific Computing Group at the dept. of Computer Science, K.U.Leuven, we develop numerical techniques for the simulation and analysis of multiscale models, with emphasis on the 'equation-free framework' and RVE-based micro/macro methods.

Aim:
In a new project, we aim to quantify and to control the inherent uncertainty at the coarse scale that originates from the use of stochastic fine-scale models. Due to the fine-scale stochasticity, numerical noise appears at the coarse scale. The goal is to investigate how this noise propagates into the coarse model and how it affects the coarse solution. We will examine how to reduce this numerical noise, and investigate how to match the resulting errors with those resulting from other sources, such as discretisation errors.

Profile:
For this project we are looking for a candidate holding a masters degree in either Applied Mathematics/Numerical Mathematics/Scientific Computing or similar disciplines, who is interested to work on this project, in collaboration with other researchers in the group.
The position will be initially for one year. After a positive evaluation, this position will be extended for three more years.


Key words: scientific computing, numerical analysis, applied mathematics, multiscale simulation

Latest Application date: 2009-09-11

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Source of Funding: OT-project

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://twr.cs.kuleuven.be

Research group: Department of Computer Science

Remarks: We expect to receive a pdf -file as an attachment with the following information:
- Curriculum Vitae (CV)
- a short description of your qualifications and experience (i.e. courses, Diploma or Master thesis, PhD thesis)
- a letter describing your scientific interests related to the project
- names and email-addresses of one or two scientists willing to provide a reference

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Tuning Ion-solid interactions for sub-nm resolution composition profiling
Promotor: Wilfried Vandervorst

Description: One of the major challenges for process development is the engineering of the gate stack and source/drain profiles as the down scaling calls for layers which are only a few nm thick and doping profiles extending less than 10 nm deep. Compositional characterization of these layers is almost exclusively done with Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS) in view of its unchallenged sensitivity and depth resolution. SIMS is based on the interaction of a primary ion beam with the target causing particles to be sputtered from which the ionized fraction can be analyzed in a mass Spectrometer. The main problems encountered in this method are the interaction mechanisms induced by the primary ion (collision cascade, radiation enhanced diffusion, primary ion incorporation, compound formation) as well as the secondary processes (sputtering, particle ionization, cluster formation of emitted particles) and practical issues (charging, crater edge effects, roughening, collection efficiencies, isotopic fractionation effects) which all lead to potential distortions of the recorded profile and a loss in depth resolution and quantification. In view of the objective to arrive at a fully quantified profile with sub-nm depth resolution, fundamental studies addressing all these aspects are required. In the present project the emphasis is placed on the interaction (incorporation, workfunction variation, Cs-migration, collision cascade, transients in sputter yields) of a (very) low energy Cs-beam with a semiconductor target and its influence on profile distortions (surface transients, depth resolution, tailing,..),. Hereby do we introduce also a new concept (mixed beam erosion) which is based on the quasi-simultaneous bombardment with Cs and Xe (O2). The second beam can be used to control the Cs-content (and thus ionization, migration etc) independently and open the door towards ultra high depth resolution (sub-nm) as required for next generation technologies. The work will involve the exploration of the (time dependent) effects of these mixed beams, the fundamental physical understanding of their impact on the Cs-content ( and its work function lowering), the theoretical and experimental investigation of surface roughness development (ripple formation) under ion erosion and its impact on depth resolution and comprehensive study of ionization mechanisms of sputtered particles. The latter is a challenging problem (requiring detailed physical insight) as the ionization mechanism occurs within a perturbed lattice (validity of concepts such as band structure) and depends on many parameters (workfunction of the surface, degree of oxidation of the surface, valence band structure, heat of oxide formation of individual elements, polarity of the secondary ion, …). Besides the fundamental aspects the work is driven by the technological developments (and interactions with process engineers) requiring an extremely precise analysis with very near-atomic depth resolution. Layers to be studied originate from our technological developments and the work is also linked to the practical aspects of quantitative analysis of multilayer systems such a Si/SiGe, Si/SiO2, high-k (Hf, Zr, Al based) dielectrica/Si whereby one is confronted with changing ionization and sputter yields and sometimes unstable materials (relaxation of strained SiGe, oxygen migration in Zr-oxides, ..).

Key words: ion-solid interaction, SIMS, semiconductors, ion beam mixing,

Latest Application date: 2009-09-12

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship or salary

Source of Funding: imec

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Research group: Department of Physics and Astronomy

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gegevens[titel]
Promotor: Bavo Meuwis

Description: gegevens[omschrijving]

Key words: gegevens[trefwoorden]

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Source of Funding: gegevens[funding]

Duration of the Project : gegevens[d years

Research group: Faculty of Science

Remarks: gegevens[remarks]

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Kernel based approaches for networks analysis and modelling
Promotor: Johan Suykens

Description: Currently several kernel based modelling approaches have been developed for supervised, unsupervised and semi-supervised learning. The aim of this proposal is to study this class of methods more specifically in relation to networks. The large scale nature of many networks problems will require making further approximations to keep computations tractable. Data-driven modelling will be studied for networks exploration and modelling, including problems of clustering, data visualization and prediction. Among the research challenges will also be the study of networks evolving over time.

Profile

We are particularly seeking candidates with a Master-of-Science degree in biomedical, electrical, computer science or mathematical engineering, in bioengineering or in mathematics, and with strong interests in optimization, signal processing, statistics, numerical computations, and biomedical applications. The ability to become acquainted with new methods within short time and good familiarity with scientific tools like MATLAB programming and statistical analysis are appreciated. The chosen candidate will be an enthusiastic person and initiator with good communication skills and a good knowledge of English.
The successful applicant will join a well-equipped and experienced research group where new and exciting research questions are tackled in challenging domains. He or she will have access to different interdisciplinary facilities; participate in all research-focused activities such as lab-meetings, in-house seminars, invited seminars and lectures and international meetings.


Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-09-23

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.esat.kuleuven.be/scd/

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

Remarks: Eligibility requirements
Candidates are expected to have good mathematical skills and to have a solid background in numerical linear algebra, optimization and statistics. Master degrees in either one of the following disciplines: electrical engineering, mathematics, physics and bioengineering are welcomed. Familiarity with computer programming languages (e.g., MATLAB, C/C++) is desirable. A strong interest in application-oriented work; multi- and interdisciplinary approach, interpersonal team aptitude and strong English written and communication skills are recommended.

Salary and Conditions
The salary will be assigned according to the Belgian university salary system. The Ph.D. student appointment is for the duration of four years.

Promotor
The PhD work will be supervised by Prof. Johan Suykens
(http://www.esat.kuleuven.be/scd/person.php?view=0&persid=16)


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Robustness-sensitivity trade-offs in networks
Promotor: Johan Suykens

Description: The aim of this proposal is to study issues of robustness and sensitivity with respect to the analysis and design complex networks. For example it is currently known that scale-free networks are robust against random perturbations, but not against coordinated attacks on the hubs of the network. In this proposal robustness analysis concepts as developed within systems and control theory will be considered. Often network models are currently assumed to be exact, while in most real-life situations there are several factors of uncertainty, e.g. unknown or badly characterized nodes and links, uncertainty on their attributes, etc. Possible ways for characterizing uncertainty in complex networks will be investigated.

Profile
We are particularly seeking candidates with a Master-of-Science degree in biomedical, electrical, computer science or mathematical engineering, in bioengineering or in mathematics, and with strong interests in optimization, signal processing, statistics, numerical computations, and biomedical applications. The ability to become acquainted with new methods within short time and good familiarity with scientific tools like MATLAB programming and statistical analysis are appreciated. The chosen candidate will be an enthusiastic person and initiator with good communication skills and a good knowledge of English.
The successful applicant will join a well-equipped and experienced research group where new and exciting research questions are tackled in challenging domains. He or she will have access to different interdisciplinary facilities; participate in all research-focused activities such as lab-meetings, in-house seminars, invited seminars and lectures and international meetings.


Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-09-23

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.esat.kuleuven.be/scd/

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

Remarks: Eligibility requirements
Candidates are expected to have good mathematical skills and to have a solid background in numerical linear algebra, optimization and statistics. Master degrees in either one of the following disciplines: electrical engineering, mathematics, physics and bioengineering are welcomed. Familiarity with computer programming languages (e.g., MATLAB, C/C++) is desirable. A strong interest in application-oriented work; multi- and interdisciplinary approach, interpersonal team aptitude and strong English written and communication skills are recommended.

Salary and Conditions
The salary will be assigned according to the Belgian university salary system. The Ph.D. student appointment is for the duration of four years.

Promotor
The PhD work will be supervised by Prof. Johan Suykens (http://www.esat.kuleuven.be/scd/person.php?view=0&persid=16)


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Distributed Signal Processing Algorithms for Acoustic Sensor Networks
Promotor: Marc Moonen

Description: A wireless acoustic sensor network (WASN) has a collection of acoustic sensor nodes, connected through wireless communication links, and where each node has its own processing unit. A general objective is to make use of all observed data in the entire network to perform a certain task, e.g. the estimation of one or several parameters or signals. There are basically two approaches to such estimation problems, namely a centralized approach, where all data in the network is gathered in one central processor and which typically requires significant communication resources, and a distributed approach, where the estimation process relies on local processing and cooperation. The objective of the distributed approach is to obtain local estimates as if each node had access to the information across the entire network, and to achieve this with limited communication resources and in a fully scalable manner. The project aims at developing distributed estimation algorithm for a number of audio signal processing applications, such as speech enhancement, blind source separation, de-reverberation and localization. The emphasis will be on adaptive algorithms, which can operate in scenarios where sensor positions may either be unknown or may change. Different network topologies will be considered, and practical issues will be addressed such as node synchronization and delay management.

Profile
We are particularly seeking candidates with a Master-of-Science degree in electrical, computer science or mathematical engineering, in physics or in mathematics, and with strong interests in optimization, signal processing, statistics, numerical computations, and algebra. The ability to become acquainted with new methods within short time and good familiarity with scientific tools like MATLAB programming are appreciated. The chosen candidate will be an enthusiastic person and initiator with good communication skills and a good knowledge of English.
The successful applicant will join a well-equipped and experienced research group where new and exciting research questions are tackled in challenging domains. He or she will have access to different interdisciplinary facilities; participate in all research-focused activities such as lab-meetings, in-house seminars, invited seminars and lectures and international meetings.


Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-09-23

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.esat.kuleuven.be/scd/

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

Remarks: Eligibility requirements
Candidates are expected to have good mathematical skills and to have a solid background in numerical linear algebra, optimization and statistics. Master degrees in either one of the following disciplines: electrical engineering, mathematics, physics and bioengineering are welcomed. Familiarity with computer programming languages (e.g., MATLAB, C/C++) is desirable. A strong interest in application-oriented work; multi- and interdisciplinary approach, interpersonal team aptitude and strong English written and communication skills are recommended.

Salary and Conditions
The salary will be assigned according to the Belgian university salary system.

Promotor
Prof. Marc Moonen (URL: http://www.esat.kuleuven.be/scd/person.php?view=0&persid=2).


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Distributed Dynamic Spectrum Management in DSL Networks
Promotor: Marc Moonen

Description: DSL (digital subscriber line) technology is currently the most deployed technology for broadband access, with over 250 million DSL subscribers worldwide. One of the major impediments to further increasing DSL bit rates, is the electromagnetic coupling (`crosstalk') between different DSL lines within the same cable bundle. Dynamic spectrum management (DSM) is a promising technology for tackling this crosstalk problem by using coordination amongst the modems, and in theory leads to spectacular performance gains.
Different 'levels' of DSM exist, for instance distributed DSM, centralized DSM, and vectoring. In distributed DSM each modem autonomously calculates an optimal power distribution with the goal of causing as little crosstalk as possible into other modems. In centralized DSM, the 'central office' (CO) has access to a spectrum management center (SMC), which determines the optimal power distribution for a set of interfering modems. 'Vectoring', in addition to the centrally calculated optimal power distribution, performs a coordinated processing step (signal processing) on the transmitted or received signals of the different modems. 'Vectoring' assumes the co-location of the modems on the CO side.
'Optimal Spectrum Management' (OSB), developed by ESAT/SCD, is generally accepted as a reference system for centralized DSM. A current major challenge is to derive distributed spectrum management systems that provide close-to-OSB performance, based on distributed optimization and concepts from game theory. In addition, the aim is to integrate such distributed procedures with distributed signal processing (vectoring) based systems, where system (computational) cost and system performance are optimized together.

Profile
We are particularly seeking candidates with a Master-of-Science degree in electrical, computer science or mathematical engineering, in physics or in mathematics, and with strong interests in optimization, signal processing, statistics, numerical computations, and algebra. The ability to become acquainted with new methods within short time and good familiarity with scientific tools like MATLAB programming are appreciated. The chosen candidate will be an enthusiastic person and initiator with good communication skills and a good knowledge of English.
The successful applicant will join a well-equipped and experienced research group where new and exciting research questions are tackled in challenging domains. He or she will have access to different interdisciplinary facilities; participate in all research-focused activities such as lab-meetings, in-house seminars, invited seminars and lectures and international meetings.


Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-09-23

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.esat.kuleuven.be/scd/

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

Remarks: Eligibility requirements
Candidates are expected to have good mathematical skills and to have a solid background in numerical linear algebra, optimization and statistics. Master degrees in either one of the following disciplines: electrical engineering, mathematics, physics and bioengineering are welcomed. Familiarity with computer programming languages (e.g., MATLAB, C/C++) is desirable. A strong interest in application-oriented work; multi- and interdisciplinary approach, interpersonal team aptitude and strong English written and communication skills are recommended.

Salary and Conditions
The salary will be assigned according to the Belgian university salary system.

Promotor
Prof. Marc Moonen (URL: http://www.esat.kuleuven.be/scd/person.php?view=0&persid=2).


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Numerical tensor decomposition techniques for brain connectivity networks
Promotor: Sabine Van Huffel

Description: The current project investigates the design of numerical tensor decompositions with a primary focus on problems in brain connectivity networks.

Brain connectivity is a term describing the interaction of regions of the brain, e.g. when responding to a stimulus or performing a metal or motor task. Most of these interactions are dynamic in the sense that they change over time. Changes in one region, e.g. evoked in response to epileptic spikes or motor actions or cognitive processes, etc. are driving changes at another. To uncover these brain connectivity networks and their dynamics in time, appropriate mathematical frameworks such as tensors are needed which enable to reveal the complex spatiotemporally changing interactions between different brain regions.

This PhD project focuses to tensors and formulates the problems to be solved into this methodology, given multimodal measurement recordings. In particular, the PhD seeks to design and develop numerically robust algorithms for 3 tensor problem classes:
- Optimizing the tensor decomposition. Once the data are structured into tensor(s) of appropriate dimension, we must solve the following problems. How to optimally decompose these tensor(s) so that the relevant information is captured into meaningful lower rank subtensors? This implies to compute optimal lower rank approximations, in particular to find the most appropriate
- Constrained Tensor Decomposition: optimizing the selection of subtensors. We need appropriate criteria to decide which subtensors need to be kept and which ones need to be removed such as noise and artefacts. Hereto, we need to impose extra constraints to the tensor decomposition problem such as orthogonality, nonnegativity, etc..
- Generalized Tensor Decomposition. For multimodal recordings arranged in separate tensors of possibly different dimensions, we need to decompose simultaneously each tensor in low rank subtensors such that certain components in one or two modes (eventually after a transformation) have maximal covariation in the shared dimension.

The research is done in a multidisciplinary environment in strong collaboration with the division of neurology and radiology in the University Hospitals K.U.Leuven.

Profile
We are particularly seeking candidates with a Master-of-Science degree in biomedical, electrical, computer science or mathematical engineering, in bioengineering or in mathematics, and with strong interests in optimization, signal processing, statistics, numerical computations, and biomedical applications. The ability to become acquainted with new methods within short time and good familiarity with scientific tools like MATLAB programming and statistical analysis are appreciated. The chosen candidate will be an enthusiastic person and initiator with good communication skills and a good knowledge of English.
The successful applicant will join a well-equipped and experienced research group where new and exciting research questions are tackled in challenging domains. He or she will have access to different interdisciplinary facilities; participate in all research-focused activities such as lab-meetings, in-house seminars, invited seminars and lectures and international meetings.


Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-09-23

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.esat.kuleuven.be/scd/

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

Remarks: Eligibility requirements
Candidates are expected to have good mathematical skills and to have a solid background in numerical linear algebra, optimization and statistics. Master degrees in either one of the following disciplines: electrical engineering, mathematics, physics and bioengineering are welcomed. Familiarity with computer programming languages (e.g., MATLAB, C/C++) is desirable. A strong interest in application-oriented work; multi- and interdisciplinary approach, interpersonal team aptitude and strong English written and communication skills are recommended.

Salary and Conditions
The salary will be assigned according to the Belgian university salary system.

Promotor
The PhD work will be supervised by Prof. Sabine Van Huffel (http://www.esat.kuleuven.be/scd/person.php?view=0&persid=17)
and Prof. Lieven De Lathauwer (http://homes.esat.kuleuven.be/~delathau/home.html).


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Robust moving horizon estimation (MHE) and model predictive control (MPC)
Promotor: Bart De Moor

Description: We seek one outstanding graduate student for a research project on robust moving horizon estimation (MHE) and model predictive control (MPC).

The project has three main objectives: (a) development of MHE algorithms with guaranteed robust stability and performance in the presence of model uncertainties, (b) development of MHE algorithms for the simultaneous estimation of states and unknown inputs with guaranteed robust stability and performance, (c) development of MPC algorithms that consider the interaction with MHE explicitly.

MHE methods have been developed to overcome the limitations of the widely used Kalman filter, being (i) its inability to incorporate constraints on state and disturbance variables and (ii) the assumptions of Gaussian disturbances and a linear model. Over the last years the research of MHE has resulted in important theoretical advances with proofs of stability and optimality. For a successful application disturbances. In addition, we will investigate connection of robust estimation with the control problem. More specifically, we opt to investigate the combination of MHE and MPC because both methods allow The PhD student will benefit from the vast expertise on MPC and MHE that is already present in the research group with several PhD students and post-docs working on either one of these topics. /' However, new and challenging research directions, mentioned above, are raised in this project. The interested applicants are expected to have good mathematical skills and a strong background in modern control theory, signal processing and optimization. Particularly relevant areas of interest include observer design and model predictive control. In addition, familiarity with computer programming languages (Matlab, C/C++) is desirable. A Master's degree in engineering, physics, or systems and control is required. A strong interest in application driven interdisciplinary work, cooperation skills and knowledge of English are prerequisites.


Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-09-23

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.esat.kuleuven.be/scd/

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

Remarks: Profile and Eligibility requirements
The ideal candidate will have a Ph.D. in bioinformatics or a related field with expertise in high-throughput data analysis. A strong publication record, solid communication skills in English, demonstrated ability to interact with biomedical researchers, creative and independent thinking, ability to coach a small team and contribute to the acquisition of funding, and a cooperative mindset are important assets. The salary will be set according to the Belgian university salary system.

Salary and Conditions
The salary will be assigned according to the Belgian university salary system.

Promotor
The PhD work will be supervised by Prof. Bart De Moor


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Data assimilation for climate and air quality prediction and nowcasting
Promotor: Bart De Moor

Description: Aim of the project is to develop and apply data assimilation techniques such as Extended Kalman filter variants with rank reduction (RRSQRT-KF) or the Ensemble Kalman filter to large-scale climate and air quality models. Typically the models are in the order of 1 million states, which makes storage and computation of covariance matrices problematic, and calls for suitable approximations.

This research is part of a multidisciplinary project with partners from university and research institutions active in climate and air quality modelling, who will provide models and data. The methods for data assimilation and forecasting will be compared and applied in close collaboration with our partners.

The interested applicants are expected to have good mathematical skills and a strong background in stochastic processes, signal processing and modern control theory. Particularly relevant areas of interest include observer design and data assimilation.

In addition, familiarity with computer programming languages (Matlab, C/C++) is desirable. A Master's degree in engineering, physics, or systems and control is required. A strong interest in application driven interdisciplinary work, cooperation skills and knowledge of English are prerequisites.


Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-09-23

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.esat.kuleuven.be/scd/

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

Remarks: Profile and Eligibility requirements
The ideal candidate will have a Ph.D. in bioinformatics or a related field with expertise in high-throughput data analysis. A strong publication record, solid communication skills in English, demonstrated ability to interact with biomedical researchers, creative and independent thinking, ability to coach a small team and contribute to the acquisition of funding, and a cooperative mindset are important assets. The salary will be set according to the Belgian university salary system.

Salary and Conditions
The salary will be assigned according to the Belgian university salary system.

Promotor
The PhD work will be supervised by Prof. Bart De Moor


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Statistical and machine learning driven algorithms for chemo-informatics
Promotor: Bart De Moor

Description: We seek a multi-skilled exceptional graduate student for an interdisciplinary research project aimed at creating novel statistical and machine learning driven algorithms for chemo-informatics. 'We strive for developing and applying machine learning methods such as Support Vector Machines (SVM) as well as k-Means Clustering and Self Organizing Maps while optimizing evolutionary/genetic algorithms for improving in-silico drug discovery. Furthermore, principal components analysis and partial least squares will be used for creating models using characteristic properties crucial in drug discovery, such as LogP. Ideally the methods and models will help us screen database as large as a million or more compounds in a matter of seconds, leading to improved therapeutic compounds.
This research is part of a multidisciplinary project with partners from university and research institutions active in developing statistical and machine learning methods, as well as industry collaborators that will ensure access to compounds as a well as proof of method testing in the wet-lab. The computational methods described above will be compared and applied in close cooperation with our partners.
The interested applicants are expected to have good mathematical skills and a strong background in creating statistical models, machine learning, and algorithmic design/implementation. Particularly relevant areas of interest include hierarchical modeling, binary kernel discrimination methods, as well as those highlighted above.
In addition, familiarity with computer and mathematical programming languages (R, Python, Java) is desirable. A Master's degree in engineering, physics, or systems and control is required. A strong interest in application driven interdisciplinary work, cooperation skills and knowledge of English are prerequisites.


Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-09-23

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.esat.kuleuven.be/scd/

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

Remarks: Profile and Eligibility requirements
The ideal candidate will have a Ph.D. in bioinformatics or a related field with expertise in high-throughput data analysis. A strong publication record, solid communication skills in English, demonstrated ability to interact with biomedical researchers, creative and independent thinking, ability to coach a small team and contribute to the acquisition of funding, and a cooperative mindset are important assets. The salary will be set according to the Belgian university salary system.

Salary and Conditions
The salary will be assigned according to the Belgian university salary system.

Promotor
The PhD work will be supervised by Prof. Bart De Moor


Apply to Click here to apply to this project

Imaging mass spectrometry and bioinformatics
Promotor: Bart De Moor

Description: Since the completion of the human genome-sequencing project it has become clear that a focus on genes alone will be insufficient to achieve a full understanding of the biochemical pathways that make up life. The direct study of proteins and peptides in cells, fluids, and tissues, respectively known as proteomics and peptidomics, provides us with a means of further closing the gap between the observed phenotype or disease and the biology and biochemistry underlying it. This research position is focused on the developing field of proteomics and more specifically on the expanding capabilities of imaging mass spectrometry.
We seek an outstanding graduate student for a PhO research project on the development of algorithms for clinically oriented imaging mass spectrometry in proteomics.
Goals of the project entail development of algorithms for the :
- Tissue biomarker discovery in diseased tissue
- Imaging mass spectrometry-adjusted preprocessing
- Registration of ion/mass images to other imaging modalities such as microscopy and NMR.
- Supervised and unsupervised decomposition of imaging mass spectrometry data (e.g. PCA, SVO, ... )
The project will have a strong computational backbone but will require the PhO student to look beyond basic data analysis and obtain a multidisciplinary insight into proteomics across both the wet-lab and the computational analysis.
The PhD student will be supported by our proven track record in proteomics and imaging mass spectrometry and can benefit from a vast amount of machine learning expertise available within the group through other PhD students and postdocs working on related topics.
The focus will be primarily on clinical research through a strong link with the university hospital of Gasthuisberg in Leuven and the numerous ongoing collaborations of our bioinformatics group with the K.U.Leuven's faculty of medicine.
Instrumental and technology expertise will be available to the student via our collaboration with the Lab for Protein Phosphorylation and Proteomics of professor Etienne Waelkens and the Interfaculty Centre for Proteomics and Metabolomics, ProMeta, of which our research group is a founding member (http://www.prometa.kuleuven.be).


Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-09-23

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.esat.kuleuven.be/scd/

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

Remarks: Profile and Eligibility requirements
- Strong background in computer science or mathematical engineering (master's degree level). However, we will consider motivated candidates with other pertinent backgrounds as well.
- Broad interest and willingness to explore also other disciplines in biology, biochemistry, and medicine.
- Prior experience with imaging technologies (e.g. microscopy, NMR, PET, ... ) or very large data sets is a plus.
- Prior knowledge of machine learning, artificial intelligence, bioinformatics, or signal processing is a plus.
- Prior knowledge of mass spectrometry and related techniques (e.g. chromatography) is a plus but not a requirement. We will provide you with a sound introduction to these techniques and hands-on access is available if necessary.

Salary and Conditions
The salary will be assigned according to the Belgian university salary system.

Promotor
The PhD work will be supervised by Prof. Bart De Moor


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Bioinformatics and Proteomics
Promotor: Bart De Moor

Description: Since the completion of the human genome-sequencing project it has become clear that a focus on genes alone will be insufficient to achieve a full understanding of the biochemical pathways that make up life. The direct study of proteins and peptides in cells, fluids, and tissues, respectively known as proteomics and peptidomics, provides us with a means of further closing the gap between the observed phenotype or disease and the biology and biochemistry underlying it. This research position is focused on the developing field of proteomics and the technologies that enable it, such as mass spectrometry.
We seek an outstanding graduate student for a PhD research project on the differential analysis of clinical proteomics data and the development of algorithms for database-based and de novo protein identification.

Goals of the project entail development of algorithms for the
- Deepening of current proteomics data preprocessing methods
- Supervised and unsupervised differential analysis of mass spectrometry data (e.g. clustering, classification, ... )
- Incorporation of chromatography information into the currently available methods
- Exploiting biomarker information to achieve better identification of differentially expressed proteins and peptides in disease.
The project will have a strong computational backbone but will require the PhD student to look beyond basic data analysis and obtain a multidisciplinary insight into proteomics across both the wet-lab and the computational analysis.
The PhD student will be supported by our proven track record in genomics and proteomics and can benefit from a vast amount of machine learning expertise available within the group through other PhD students and postdocs working on related topics.
The focus will be primarily on clinical research through a strong link with the university hospital of Gasthuisberg in Leuven and the numerous ongoing collaborations of our bioinformatics group with the K.U.Leuven's faculty of medicine.
Further instrumental and technology expertise will be available to the student via the Interfaculty Centre for Proteomics and Metabolomics, ProMeta, of which our research group is a founding member (http://www.prometa.kuleuven.be).


Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-09-23

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.esat.kuleuven.be/scd/

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

Remarks: Profile and Eligibility requirements
- The drive and motivation for excellent application-driven interdisciplinary work
- Strong background in computer science or mathematical engineering (master's degree level). However, we will consider motivated candidates with other pertinent backgrounds as well.
- Broad interest and willingness to explore also other disciplines in biology, biochemistry, and medicine.
- Good programming skills (e.g. MATLAB, Java, C/C++, Perl, Python, …)
- Knowledge of English
- Cooperation skills
- Prior knowledge of machine learning, artificial intelligence, bioinformatics, or signal processing is a plus.
- Prior knowledge of mass spectrometry and related techniques (e.g. chromatography) is a plus but not a requirement. We will provide you with a sound introduction to these techniques and hands-on access is available if necessary.

Salary and Conditions
The salary will be assigned according to the Belgian university salary system.

Promotor
The PhD work will be supervised by Prof. Bart De Moor


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Development of algorithms for the detection of post-translational modifications in large proteomic data sets generated by various mass spectrometry based methods
Promotor: Bart De Moor

Description: Since the completion of the human genome-sequencing project it has become clear that a focus on genes alone will be insufficient to achieve a full understanding of the biochemical pathways that make up life. The direct study of proteins and peptides in cells, fluids, and tissues, respectively known as proteomics and peptidomics, provides us with a means of further closing the gap between the observed phenotype or disease and the biology and biochemistry underlying it. This research position is focused on the developing field of proteomics and more specifically on detection of post-translational modifications such as phosphorylation via mass spectrometry. Such modifications influence a large part of all proteins in the human body and are of prime importance to many functional activities.

Description
We seek an outstanding graduate student for a PhD research project on the development of algorithms for the detection of post-translational modifications in large proteomic data sets generated by various mass spectrometry based methods.

Goals of the project entail development of algorithms for the:
- Detection of phosphorylation in mass spectrometry data.
- Extension of detection to other PTMs such as glycosylation and acylation.
- Differential detection of PTMs between wild type and disease.
The project will have a strong computational backbone but will require the PhD student to look beyond basic data analysis and obtain a multidisciplinary insight into proteomics across both the wet-lab and the computational analysis.
The PhD student will be supported by our proven track record in proteomics and post-translational modifications and can benefit from a vast amount of machine learning expertise available within the group through other PhD students and postdocs working on related topics.

The focus will be primarily on clinical research through a strong link with the university hospital of Gasthuisberg in Leuven and the numerous ongoing collaborations of our bioinformatics group with the K.U.Leuven's faculty of medicine.

Instrumental and technology expertise will be available to the student via our collaboration with the Lab for Protein Phosphorylation and Proteomics of professor Etienne Waelkens and the Interfaculty Centre for Proteomics and Metabolomics, ProMeta, of which our research group is a founding member (http://www.prometa.kuleuven.be).


Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-09-23

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.esat.kuleuven.be/scd/

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

Remarks: Requirements
- The drive and motivation for excellent application-driven interdisciplinary work.
- Strong background in computer science or mathematical engineering (master's degree level). However, we will consider motivated candidates with other pertinent backgrounds as well.
- Broad interest and willingness to explore also other disciplines in biology, biochemistry, and medicine.
- Good programming skills (e.g. MATLAB, Java, C/C++, Perl, Python,…)
- Knowledge of English
- Cooperative skills
- Prior experience with post-translational modifications is a plus.
- Prior knowledge of machine learning, artificial intelligence, bioinformatics, or signal processing is a plus.
- Prior knowledge of mass spectrometry and related techniques (e.g. chromatography) is a plus but not a requirement. We will provide you with a sound introduction to these techniques and hands-on access is available if necessary.


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Datamining of intensive care unit (ICU) data
Promotor: Bart De Moor

Description: We seek one outstanding graduate student for a research project on datamining of intensive care unit (ICU) data. The ICU is the most critical part of a hospital as patients die of their "critical" illness without the appropriate treatment, either pharmacological or mechanical. The ICU is a very data-rich environment nowadays. Monitors as well as therapeutic devices generate a "tsunami" of data on a continuous basis. Blood samples for laboratory analysis are drawn several times a day, and microbiology sampling occurs several times a week. Doctors and nurses write progress notes several times a day. Drug prescription and delivery is changed and charted more than once daily. Recently our University Hospital Gasthuisberg has implemented a Patient Database Management System (PDMS) which is a brand-new computer infrastructure that automatically collects all types of patient data (e.g., administered drugs, calories, etc.).

Though lots of information is included in the database, it is an important issue how to extract information critical for clinical use. Machine learning algorithms are able to extract relevant patterns, structures and trends from existing data in order to make useful predictions for new data. Particularly data mining scenarios involving large databases and where the domain is poorly understood (and therefore difficult to model by humans) are of great interest in this research project. The challenges include handling large amounts of data, integrating data from different sources and incorporating expert knowledge into the analysis.

The PhD student will benefit from the vast expertise on datamining, machine learning and modeling that is already present in the research group with several PhD students and post-docs working on either one of these topics. Furthermore, the PhD student gets the opportunity to closely collaborate with the world-renowned ICU division of the University Hospital of Leuven.


Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-09-23

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.esat.kuleuven.be/scd/

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

Remarks: Profile and Eligibility requirements
The interested applicants are expected to have good mathematical skills and a strong background in machine learning techniques, datamining and modeling. Interest in biomedical research is an advantage. Further, the applicants should be familiar with computer programming languages (e.g., Matlab) and database management systems (e.g., MySQL). A Master's degree in engineering, physics, or systems and control is favorable. A strong interest in application driven interdisciplinary work, cooperation skills (both with engineers, technicians and clinicians) and knowledge of English are prerequisites.
Salary and Conditions
The salary will be assigned according to the Belgian university salary system. The Ph.D. student appointment is for the duration of four years.
Promotor
The PhD work will be supervised by Prof. Bart De Moor


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Polynomial equations
Promotor: Bart De Moor

Description: We seek one outstanding graduate student for a research program on numerical linear algebra and system identification. The project investigates the role of linear algebra techniques in solving sets of polynomial equations with a primary focus on problems in systems theory and system identification.

Many problems encountered in science and engineering (e.g., system identification) require the solution of a set of polynomial equations. This is an old problem, which still receives a lot of research attention - all the more because of the vast number of potential applications and the applicability of numerical algorithms. In the last decades, several crucial links between systems theory and identification, linear algebra and solving sets of polynomial equations have been revealed; It is only little known that behind the scenes, linear algebra plays a crucial role. This perspective is especially interesting as it shows that many non-linear problems can be recast into linear problems (e.g., eigenvalue problems), thereby avoiding typical difficulties (e.g., many sub-optimal local solutions), at the cost of an increasing computational complexity.

In this research program, we will develop a framework for solving sets of polynomial equations, using linear algebra techniques, with a main focus on the application to system identification problems. The research program has three main objectives:

(a) Revealing and exploring vital links between sets of multivariate polynomial equations, linear algebra, and systems theory and identification;
(b) Development of robust and efficient algorithms and software to solve systems of polynomial equations; and
(c) Application of developed techniques to real-world problems.

The PhD student will benefit from the vast experience in applying linear algebra techniques to a broad range of applications and research problems that is present in the supporting research group with several PhD students, post-docs and professors. New and exciting research questions are posed in challenging domain which increasingly receives research attention.


Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-09-23

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.esat.kuleuven.be/scd/

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

Remarks: Profile and Eligibility requirements
Interested applicants are expected to have good mathematical skills and a strong background in system theory and identification, linear algebra and optimization. A Master's degree in engineering, mathematics, physics, or systems and control is required. Familiarity with computer programming languages (e.g., MATLAB, C/C++) is desirable. A strong interest in application-driven interdisciplinary work, cooperation skills and knowledge of English are prerequisites.

Salary and Conditions
The salary will be assigned according to the Belgian university salary system.

Promotor
The PhD work will be supervised by Prof. Bart De Moor


Apply to Click here to apply to this project

Large scale and incremental data mining techniques on industrial process databases
Promotor: Bart De Moor

Description: Industrial processes: data, data, data

In the last decades, information technology has penetrated the automation market. This evolution has enabled the collection of large heterogeneous data sets with a rich information content. The amount of available data is astronomic and still continuously growing. Regarding process measurements for instance, up to 10000 variables are logged per plant at typical sample frequencies in the order of 1 Hertz. This results in up to 1 Terabyte process data per plant per year (10000 vars x 3600 s x 24 h x 365 days x 4 bytes / measurement). However, up recently these data resided in proprietary databases, giving rise to so-called information islands. Recently, there has been a growing interest in the automated integration of these data islands at different levels of the information hierarchy, making real data-to-knowledge transformation feasible. On one hand, functionality for integrating different data sources is added as a standard feature of new generation automation systems. On the other hand, there is an active requirement to translate factory for information into key performance indicators (KPIs) for continuous plant-wide process monitoring and improvement. The underlying economic challenges that drive further data exploitation efforts are related to increasing energy and feedstock prices, increasing safety regulations, emission reduction guidelines and legislation and the capturing of knowledge and experience upon personnel retirement.

Large scale and incremental techniques

In a context of the increasing importance of data mining in the process industry, this proposal proposal studies the design of large-scale techniques that are suitable for analysis of large data bases. In particular, we look into the scalability of multivariate statistical techniques for fault detection, fault isolation and fault classification. In their simplest form, these techniques monitor correlations between process measurements and detect (report, analyze) deviations from normality. In a linear static framework, principal component analysis, partial least squares and discriminant analysis are often applied, but more sophisticated techniques are available. Rather than only considering fault detection and identification performance, we focus on possibilities with respect to data compression / summarization, algorithm scalability and incremental model adjustments. One of the goals is the significant extension of the available expertise at ESAT-SCD regarding (incremental) algorithms for the singular value decomposition.


Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-09-23

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.esat.kuleuven.be/scd/

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

Remarks: Profile and Eligibility requirements
Interested applicants are expected to have good mathematical skills and a strong background in system theory and identification, linear algebra and optimization. A Master's degree in engineering, mathematics, physics, or systems and control is required. Familiarity with computer programming languages (e.g., MATLAB, C/C++) is desirable. A strong interest in application-driven interdisciplinary work, cooperation skills and knowledge of English are prerequisites.

Salary and Conditions
The salary will be assigned according to the Belgian university salary system.

Promotor
The PhD work will be supervised by Prof. Bart De Moor


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Large-scale algorithms for clustering time series
Promotor: Bart De Moor

Description: Today an ever increasing amount of variables are being measured and stored on a regular time basis (e.g. data from sensors monitoring a bridge, the monitoring of substances in the air, the daily evolution of share prices, etc). This creates databases consisting of a very large number of very long time series. A typical first step in the analysis of such large databases is a cluster analysis of the time series objects. Compared to the clustering of large databases of static data an additional challenge arises in this case due to the nature and the size of the objects (the time series).

In this PhD the challenge is to derive algorithms for time series clustering that can handle very large amounts of data in a reasonable amount of time through an appropriate clustering approach and distance calculation. The case where the time series are constantly growing, which needs a recursive approach, should also be tackled. The algorithms should also be equipped with tools for change detection. For that purpose a probabilistic framework should be developed that allows to decide whether one of the time series or the clusters has significantly changed, which could indicate for instance that the physical system that underlies the time series has been damaged.


Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-09-23

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.esat.kuleuven.be/scd/

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

Remarks: Profile and Eligibility requirements
Interested applicants are expected to have good mathematical skills and a strong background in system theory and identification, linear algebra and optimization. A Master's degree in engineering, mathematics, physics, or systems and control is required. Familiarity with computer programming languages (e.g., MATLAB, C/C++) is desirable. A strong interest in application-driven interdisciplinary work, cooperation skills and knowledge of English are prerequisites.

Salary and Conditions
The salary will be assigned according to the Belgian university salary system.

Promotor
The PhD work will be supervised by Prof. Bart De Moor


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Realization theory : extensions and applications
Promotor: Bart De Moor

Description: Realization theory was developed to solve the realization problem for linear time invariant model. In the realization problem the impulse response of the system is given and the goal is to find the parameters of the model. For several other models classes, the realization problem has only been studied partially. The study of the realization problem for these models classes forms the first objective if this thesis. Second, several engineering applications can be translated into a realization problem. The investigation of these applications forms a second objective of this thesis.

One example of a model class of models for which the realization problem has only been studied partially are hidden Markov models. Hidden Markov models (HMM), stochastic models for finite valued processes, have been introduced in literature in 1957 and have been used in several application (computational biology, speech recognition). In the realization problem, output string probabilities are given and the goal is to build a model. This problem is a hard one because of several nonnegativity constraints on the model parameters. Recently solutions were proposed to the two relaxed versions of the realization problem: the quasi-realization problem and the approximate realization problem. The quasi realization problem solves the realization problem without nonnegativity constraints on the system matrices. It can be shown that the obtained models is, unless that is does not fullfill the nonnegativity constraints, is of use in several estimation problems. The approximate realization problem solves the realization problem with the nonnegativity constraints in an appoximate way. However, still much work remains to be done. It should be interesting to have confidence bounds on the model parameters. The proposed algorithms can be extended for use in large-scale applications. The methods can be modified such that prior knowledge on the model parameters can be taken into account.

One engineering application that can be solved using realization theory is the reconstruction of polygons from the measurements of their "moments". Suppose an unknown polygonal object of which measurements of their so-called moments are given and the goal is to retrieve the shape (number of vertices and angle between the vertices) of the underlying polygon. It can be shown that this problem can be solved using realization theory. However, the problem has not been studied in full detail: What if the underlying object is not a polygon but of another shape? Does realization give then the "best approximating polygon"? If so, can this be proven? What if there is noise on the measurements of the moments? What if the unkown object is non-convex? Can the approach be extended to 3D?

The realization problem for many more model classes can be further explored (bilinear systems, multiscale systems, ...) and many more engineering applications can be considered (direction of arrival problems, image compression, ...)


Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-09-23

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.esat.kuleuven.be/scd/

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

Remarks: Profile and Eligibility requirements
Interested applicants are expected to have good mathematical skills and a strong background in system theory and identification, linear algebra and optimization. A Master's degree in engineering, mathematics, physics, or systems and control is required. Familiarity with computer programming languages (e.g., MATLAB, C/C++) is desirable. A strong interest in application-driven interdisciplinary work, cooperation skills and knowledge of English are prerequisites.

Salary and Conditions
The salary will be assigned according to the Belgian university salary system.

Promotor
The PhD work will be supervised by Prof. Bart De Moor


Apply to Click here to apply to this project

Developing algorithms to model your genome and its relation to disease
Promotor: Bart De Moor

Description: More and more investigators probe the genome of patients and look for deviating patterns in the sequence of A,G,C or T. Apparently, not 99.9% but 99.5% of our genomes are identical. This means that on average approximately 12000000 bases are different between two individuals. One can imagine that these differences can have many consequences in the chance of developing diseases such as diabetes or cancer (besides many other effects). Next, after diagnosis of disease they can influence each individual's response to therapy.
This has motivated researchers to probe for these differences called Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms or SNP and look for their association with diseases. However no algorithms have been developed which deal with this data and its potential to predict disease, diagnosis, prognosis or response to therapy.
The challenge here is to deal with the nature of this data. Often more than 500k of these SNPs are profiled in a single study whereas the number of data points is limited. The largest study so far contains 14000 individuals. The goal in this research project is to investigate the use of machine learning methods to deal with this data and investigate its potential to predict disease or disease outcome of an individual. As a starting point two main frameworks for modeling data, kernel methods and Bayesian methods, can be used.
Due to the high dimensionality of the problem (half million features vs. 14000 data points), feature selection will be immensely important. Therefore, integration of prior knowledge from publicly available data sources can be taken into account to facilitate model building.


Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-09-23

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.esat.kuleuven.be/scd/

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

Remarks: Profile and Eligibility requirements
Interested applicants are expected to have good mathematical skills and a strong background in system theory and identification, linear algebra and optimization. A Master's degree in engineering, mathematics, physics, or systems and control is required. Familiarity with computer programming languages (e.g., MATLAB, C/C++) is desirable. A strong interest in application-driven interdisciplinary work, cooperation skills and knowledge of English are prerequisites.

Salary and Conditions
The salary will be assigned according to the Belgian university salary system.

Promotor
The PhD work will be supervised by Prof. Bart De Moor


Apply to Click here to apply to this project

Algorithms, Machine Learning techniques and database for in silico drug mining
Promotor: Bart De Moor

Description: Structure activity relationship (SAR) or its quantitative equivalent QSAR, allows for the mining of large chemical databases such as Aldrich, National Cancer Institute, ChemBridge, ChemDiv, Ryan, MerckXIII, FDA, and others, to be mined in significantly less time, than previous methods. The advantages of these computational methods is that they combine algorithmic and statistical knowledge to create tools that are able to filter a database for drug like compounds bearing chemical characteristics of interest to the user. These methods allow for immensely rapid prediction of primary targets, potential off-target effects, in addition to selectivity among target families. Along with SAR/QSAR, many computational and statistical methods are being developed or improved, to make drug discovery for diseases, faster and efficient; with less false positive or false negatives.

Recently, a growing number of algorithms have been developed, especially around the issue of finding common subgraphs that appear with a user specified minimum frequency (Bogert et al., 2004). These algorithms have become very useful when applied to the problem of drug discovery. Algorithms such as MolFea, FSG, MoSS/MoFa, gSpan, CloseGraph, FFSM, and Gaston, transfers methods initially created for frequent item set mining for the purpose of drug mining/discovery. Work being done in the lab of Prof. Luc DeRaedt in the area of FSG, would make him a potentially relevant co-promotor.

Other algorithms recently developed for the purposes of chemical drug mining use the principles of inductive logic programming in varying ways, in order to arrive at a solution in a computationally expedient manner.

Apart from techniques using subgraphs, other methods use genetic algorithms (GA) to attend to the task of drug mining. GAs take a Darwinian approach to find the best fit for a given model. GAs are stochastic optimization methods and give a powerful way to perform directed random searches in a large problem space such as can be found in drug databases.

An important issue lies in feature selection, in which we try to find out which properties are relevant for the binding of a molecule to a certain target. Due to noise, a lot of features seem to be important but are not really significant –false positives. From the opposite point of view, some features do not seem to be that relevant but in fact they are quite important parameters to estimate the fitting of a molecule in a target false negatives. Here in lies a big need for innovative algorithms that are able to distinguish between relevant and non-relevant features. When we have found those features, we will be able to cluster molecules together based on only those important features. Genetic algorithms, support vector machines, forward stepping and backward elimination may play a key role in this.

Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-09-23

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.esat.kuleuven.be/scd/

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

Remarks: Profile and Eligibility requirements
Interested applicants are expected to have good mathematical skills and a strong background in system theory and identification, linear algebra and optimization. A Master's degree in engineering, mathematics, physics, or systems and control is required. Familiarity with computer programming languages (e.g., MATLAB, C/C++) is desirable. A strong interest in application-driven interdisciplinary work, cooperation skills and knowledge of English are prerequisites.

Salary and Conditions
The salary will be assigned according to the Belgian university salary system.

Promotor
The PhD work will be supervised by Prof. Bart De Moor


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Algorithms for large-scale text and web mining
Promotor: Bart De Moor

Description: The overwhelming amount of information available on the World Wide Web leads to tremendous opportunities that can have an enormous impact on our society. Although the continuous rise of computing power provides obvious benefits, research on scalable, intelligent algorithms is vital to keep on top of this huge amount of data and turn it into valuable knowledge.

The topic of this PhD proposal is situated in the application, development and validation of advanced and scalable algorithms for text mining and network analysis, information retrieval, ranking, clustering, classification and other machine learning techniques, bibliometrics, and the analysis of time series.

The research will be conducted in collaboration with Attentio (http://www.attentio.com), an international company located in Brussels. To improve online market intelligence, Attentio is continuously monitoring and analysing online news press and social media such as consumer review sites, blogs and discussion forums. Attentio aids customers to execute successful market campaigns, launch new products, gain consumer insight, maintain brand reputation and detect bursting events and emerging new trends.

The immense scale of the involved data mining problems necessitates efficient algorithms, possibly to be executed in parallel by independent machines of the KULeuven supercomputer.

An example challenge is a dynamic analysis of the evolving text data sources and networks, offering promising opportunities to detect and analyze new emerging trends and hot topics. A hopeful path to follow is the application of multilinear (tensor) algebra, which provides a very interesting framework for dimensionality reduction, data integration, community structure detection, and for the incorporation of a time dimension for dynamic analyses.

Another possible inquiry to pursue is the use of semi-supervised and active learning techniques. Construction of training sets for supervised learning by annotating data is a difficult and time-consuming task in a lot of applications, especially in very large databases. Semi-supervised or active learning can select the most 'valuable' non-annotated examples, most useful for improvement of a model, to present them for human annotation.

With regard to intelligent text analysis, another possible challenge is multilingual sentiment tracking, also called opinion mining, which tries to determine the opinion, attitudes and sentiments expressed in text passages, i.e., what people write on persons, products, institutions, etc. If time allows, the application of advanced natural language processing and machine summarization techniques might be considered as well.

In conclusion, there are ample opportunities to carry out doctoral research in this area, in accordance with the specific interests of the candidate.


Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-09-23

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.esat.kuleuven.be/scd/

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

Remarks: Profile and Eligibility requirements
Interested applicants are expected to have good mathematical skills and a strong background in system theory and identification, linear algebra and optimization. A Master's degree in engineering, mathematics, physics, or systems and control is required. Familiarity with computer programming languages (e.g., MATLAB, C/C++) is desirable. A strong interest in application-driven interdisciplinary work, cooperation skills and knowledge of English are prerequisites.
Salary and Conditions
The salary will be assigned according to the Belgian university salary system. The Ph.D. student appointment is for the duration of four years.
Promotor
The PhD work will be supervised by Prof. Bart De Moor


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Gene motif detection : towards tissue-specific network regulation
Promotor: Bart De Moor

Description: Recent investigations indicated that many genes are differentially expressed by a tissue-specific length of the 3' untranslated region (3'UTR) of messenger RNA. The 3'UTR plays a role in post-transcriptional regulation of mRNA, influencing life-span, translation and transport of the transcript; processes which are mediated by RNA-binding proteins and microRNAs.
Via motif detection algorithms, differentially used 3'UTR sequences need to be tissue-specifically screened for statistically overrepresented microRNA and protein binding sites. MotifSampler (based on Gibbs sampling) has already been developed at ESAT, but will likely need to be extended and optimized. A complicating issue is that the exact 3' end of transcripts are unknown in many cases (especially for different tissues) and currently only a fuzzy border can be defined based on microarray data. Future use of deep sequencing technology will yield massive amounts of new data by which exact borders can be defined. Once borders are known, novel algorithms will need to be developed to search for alternative polyadenylation signals which cause this tissue-specific regulation of UTR length.
Finally, tissue-specific regulatory networks can then be identified, based upon an integration of several data sources, including sequence motifs in alternatively expressed 3'UTR, microRNA expression profiles and microarray mRNA expression data.
This is an innovative project crossing the borders of (bio-)informatics, molecular cell biology and genetics. One possible outcome of this project is that the information can be used in new clinical research for connections between human disease and erroneous choice in the alternative termination of transcription.


Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-09-23

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.esat.kuleuven.be/scd/

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

Remarks: Profile and Eligibility requirements
Interested applicants are expected to have good mathematical skills and a strong background in system theory and identification, linear algebra and optimization. A Master's degree in engineering, mathematics, physics, or systems and control is required. Familiarity with computer programming languages (e.g., MATLAB, C/C++) is desirable. A strong interest in application-driven interdisciplinary work, cooperation skills and knowledge of English are prerequisites.

Salary and Conditions
The salary will be assigned according to the Belgian university salary system.

Promotor
The PhD work will be supervised by Prof. Bart De Moor


Apply to Click here to apply to this project

Kernel-based algorithms for biomedical decision support
Promotor: Bart De Moor

Description: In a clinical environment, clinicians use their experience, information on patient history, ultrasound measurements and/or laboratory analyses in their choice of for example a specific treatment for cancer. On the other hand, there have been a lot of studies using microarray chips to measure the transcriptome (i.e. expression of messenger RNA). Although the suspiciousness of clinicians, microarray data have been used to develop gene signatures for prognosis, prediction of therapy response or prediction of metastasis of which the first ones are now being validated in clinical trials. High-throughput data sources however contain a lot of noise which can lead to many false positives and false negatives among the identified biomarkers. And the transcriptome is not able to explain the complete molecular biology because a gene can result in many proteins due to alternative splicing and processes which occur after translation. This confirms that knowledge about molecular biology should be gathered within the different layers of the genome. This is now possible through the enormous explosion in available high-throughput data sources such as proteomics, SNP and exon arrays. The hypothesis that data from different levels in the genome contain partly independent and complementary information makes the fusion of various types of genome-wide data an increasingly important topic in bioinformatics and requires accurate classification algorithms because the available, rather simple statistical methods are not useable on high-dimensional data.
Kernel methods applicable to complex structured data are ideally suitable for the integration of heterogeneous data sources. This PhD will concentrate on defining the optimal strategy for combining different data sets using supervised machine learning methods among which (least squares) support vector machines. Other possible issues that can be tackled are the development of a computationally efficient algorithm for the optimization of the parameters (model parameters, number of features for each data set separately, the weight of each data set depending on the relevance of this data set). Secondly, selection of a subset of relevant features has become a necessity with the increase in dimensionality of the data sets. Where univariate feature selection methods are computationally simple by evaluating the relevance of each feature individually but ignore feature interactions, multivariate methods try to capture these correlations between the features but this makes them slower with a higher risk on overfitting. Finally, many genes, proteins and metabolites belong to the same pathway or biological function which makes them redundant in expression. This causes the ranking of features to be highly unstable and to depend on the data set used. Instead of ranking features based on their expression, it is possible to summarize genes/proteins/metabolites in pathway scores. Further investigation is required to determine the best way for performing pathway analysis.
There exists an intensive cooperation between the bioinformatics subdivision of ESAT and the university hospital Gasthuisberg in Leuven. This has already led to data sets of (colo)rectal, breast, ovarian and liver cancer on which the algorithms can be evaluated.


Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-09-23

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.esat.kuleuven.be/scd/

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

Remarks: Profile and Eligibility requirements
Interested applicants are expected to have good mathematical skills and a strong background in system theory and identification, linear algebra and optimization. A Master's degree in engineering, mathematics, physics, or systems and control is required. Familiarity with computer programming languages (e.g., MATLAB, C/C++) is desirable. A strong interest in application-driven interdisciplinary work, cooperation skills and knowledge of English are prerequisites.

Salary and Conditions
The salary will be assigned according to the Belgian university salary system.

Promotor
The PhD work will be supervised by Prof. Bart De Moor


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Integrative modeling in systems biology using statistical relational models
Promotor: Bart De Moor

Description: With the advent of high-throughput 'omics data such as genomics, proteomics and metabolomics data, an increased need emerged for modeling methods that incorporate the relational structure that is present in the data. Statistical relational models (SRMs) are a recently developed class of probabilistic models that provide an answer to the need for integrative models in Systems Biology by introducing relational data mining in the domain of probabilistic modeling. Several successful applications of SRMs have been reported in the past years in a variety of domains such as hypertext classification, collaborative filtering, ecosystem analysis and genomics.

While general learning strategies are applicable to SRMs, custom algorithms and specific heuristics are often developed in practice for each particular problem setting in order to make the learning process computationally tractable. The assumptions that are made in that process, can have strong effects on the convergence properties of the algorithm and therefore also on the quality of the inferred solution.

This PhD will provide a sound theoretic basis and a practical implementation of an integrative model for cellular signaling, including transcriptional regulation as well as protein and metabolite interactions. Extensions towards active learning will be investigated and applied in close collaboration with biologists to guide laboratory experiments.


Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-09-23

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.esat.kuleuven.be/scd/

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

Remarks: Profile and Eligibility requirements
Interested applicants are expected to have good mathematical skills and a strong background in system theory and identification, linear algebra and optimization. A Master's degree in engineering, mathematics, physics, or systems and control is required. Familiarity with computer programming languages (e.g., MATLAB, C/C++) is desirable. A strong interest in application-driven interdisciplinary work, cooperation skills and knowledge of English are prerequisites.

Salary and Conditions
The salary will be assigned according to the Belgian university salary system.

Promotor
The PhD work will be supervised by Prof. Bart De Moor


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Adaptive clustering algorithm by kernels integration
Promotor: Bart De Moor

Description: Clustering deals with the discovery of homogeneous groups of data according to a certain similarity measure. In bioinformatics, clustering analysis has become a standard part of gene expression analysis. In recent years, the idea of combining heterogeneous sources of information to endow Clustering algorithm with the capability to retrieve similar or complementary information about the underlying partitions of the same set of objects has started to attract interest. However, not all the data sources are equally informative with respect to the problem of interest. It is, therefore, reasonable to expect the clustering algorithm to distinguish between informative and uninformative data sources and be adaptively biased towards the informative ones. In other words, the adaptivity is the robustness towards the uninformative data sources. In this case, a weighted data integration model where weights are to whom correspondence should be addressed adaptively assigned to different data sources sounds more flexible and reasonable than a uniformly weighted integration method. Many studies have focused on adaptively integrating data sources in a supervised learning context. An important approach of adaptive clustering algorithm can be obtained by integrating multiple similarity matrices. The method is based on the convex integration of kernel matrices, in the spirit of the kernel based data fusion framework for machine learning (Lanckriet et al.,2004a, De Bie et al., 2007) which however did not deal with clustering. The approach to combine different data sources in the form of similarity data for unsupervised learning such as clustering, however, is still an unresolved and ongoing problem. Early this year, we have proposed a prototype algorithm together with a sample application in bioinformatics studies. However, more experiments and more detailed analysis of results could be performed to fully exploit its potential in the context of integration of genomic data.

Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-09-23

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.esat.kuleuven.be/scd/

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

Remarks: Profile and Eligibility requirements
Interested applicants are expected to have good mathematical skills and a strong background in system theory and identification, linear algebra and optimization. A Master's degree in engineering, mathematics, physics, or systems and control is required. Familiarity with computer programming languages (e.g., MATLAB, C/C++) is desirable. A strong interest in application-driven interdisciplinary work, cooperation skills and knowledge of English are prerequisites.

Salary and Conditions
The salary will be assigned according to the Belgian university salary system.

Promotor
The PhD work will be supervised by Prof. Bart De Moor


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Flood prevention with model predictive control (MPC)
Promotor: Bart De Moor

Description: During heavy rainfalls the Demer caused a lot of flooding in its basin. Therefore the local water administrators provided the Demer with hydraulical structures and reservoirs in order to minimize flooding. Though these actions have significantly decreased the amount of flooding in the basin, there were still significant floodings like the one in 1998. Simulations have shown that some of the floodings could have been avoided if the hydraulical structures would have been controlled in a different way. Therefore the purpose of this PhD is to implement a nonlinear MPC controller that takes the rain prediction into account in order to minimize flooding or avoid it completely. Currently there has been implemented a nonlinear MPC and tested to a conceptual model of the Demer. The purpose of this PhD is to extend the current nonlinear MPC to a more detailed finite-element model of the Demer. The detailed model is implemented in a commercial software package that is accessible through matlab. The switch to the more detailed model will be more challenging with respect to computation time as the number of state variables will increase significantly. Therefore the first goal of the thesis will be to investigate if the current nonlinear MPC is capable of handling this big system and if not to implement a new nonlinear MPC that works more efficiently by changing the current algorithm used or by introducing several decoupled MPC controllers interacting with each other. In a next step uncertainties with respect to the rain predictions will be tackled. In this step an uncertainty description of the rain predictions will be determined based on historical data. This uncertainty description will than be used to implement a robust MPC. This robust MPC can afterwards be extended in order to deal with model uncertainties and also to deal with uncertainties in the state estimator. In another step the purpose is to use MPC as a design tool. The complex finite-element model allows the user to extend the current Demer model with gates and reservoirs that can be placed wherever the user wants. Combined with MPC this could be used to determine if some extra gates or reservoirs could further decrease the flooding and where the extra gates and reservoirs should be placed.

Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-09-23

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.esat.kuleuven.be/scd/

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

Remarks: Profile and Eligibility requirements
Interested applicants are expected to have good mathematical skills and a strong background in system theory and identification, linear algebra and optimization. A Master's degree in engineering, mathematics, physics, or systems and control is required. Familiarity with computer programming languages (e.g., MATLAB, C/C++) is desirable. A strong interest in application-driven interdisciplinary work, cooperation skills and knowledge of English are prerequisites.

Salary and Conditions
The salary will be assigned according to the Belgian university salary system.

Promotor
The PhD work will be supervised by Prof. Bart De Moor


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Algorithms for Mining ICU Patient Records
Promotor: Bart De Moor

Description: Framework.
In the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Gasthuisberg University Hospital, there is a growing database that contains the physiological and medical evolution of the patients during their stay at ICU, as well as full information about the treatments they received, food and drugs being administered, etc. A joint research project has recently started between SCD/SISTA and Gasthuisberg/ICU in order to perform datamining on the dataset with the goal of extracting knowledge that can be later used for medical predictive purposes.

Description.
This PhD thesis proposal is about the development of datamining methodologies for mining ICU medical records. The dataset is highly irregular: the length of stay in the ICU is different for every patient; as well as their treatments, the reason of admission, etc. For each patient, there are approximately 1750 numerical variables plus other 1200 categorical variables that can be measured at any given time; in our current sample of 500 patients, only 400 numerical variables and 350 categorical variables have been used. These 750 variables, moreover, are sampled on different time intervals, some of them several times an hour, while some others just once a day. Our current dataset contains 4Gb of data, and it is only a working sample. The full dataset is estimated to be 25Gb, and growing.

Several medical questions to be answered by a datamining analysis of the dataset require the use of all of these variables together. However. current datamining techniques, rooted mostly in statistics, system identification and/or machine learning, can not cope with such irregular dataset. System identification techniques require certain assumptions on the time sampling, stationarity of signals, and many others, which are certainly violated in the context of this dataset. Machine learning techniques, on the other hand, can handle irregular data in the context of static modeling, such as classification problems, clustering or nonlinear regressions, but the incorporation of dynamics poses other constraints on the data.

Objectives.
Develop algorithms for mining and extracting information from a very large, and highly irregular, dataset. These methods should overcome the limitations of current techniques. The algorithms should be able to identify dynamics, provide support for predictive analysis, with the long term objective of being able to anticipate medical critical events and model the evolution of the patients during their stay at ICU. A particularly challenging task is to incorporate medical prior knowledge into the algorithms, as much as possible, in order to obtain robust performances over different time scales, patient groups and specific modeling tasks.


Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-09-23

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.esat.kuleuven.be/scd/

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

Remarks: Profile and Eligibility requirements
Interested applicants are expected to have good mathematical skills and a strong background in system theory and identification, linear algebra and optimization. A Master's degree in engineering, mathematics, physics, or systems and control is required. Familiarity with computer programming languages (e.g., MATLAB, C/C++) is desirable. A strong interest in application-driven interdisciplinary work, cooperation skills and knowledge of English are prerequisites.

Salary and Conditions
The salary will be assigned according to the Belgian university salary system.

Promotor
The PhD work will be supervised by Prof. Bart De Moor


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Algorithms for Hidden Markov Models to discover copy number variations (CNVs) in Cancer
Promotor: Bart De Moor

Description: Status A hidden Markov model (HMM) is a stochastic model in which the system's hidden state transitions follow a Markov process and the observed output is a stochastic function of that state. Several algorithms exist to identify the HMM given a sequence of observations, with the most famous one the Baum-Welch algorithm. Once a HMM is available, we can use the model to make further predictions. A typical example is the Viterbi algorithm to predict the path of hidden state transitions in a sequence of observations. HMMs and their related algorithms have found their way to many practical applications. An example coming from biological sequence analysis is the use of HMMs to discover copy number variations (CNVs) in the altered genome of cancer cells [1]. CNVs refer to the differences in the number of copies of a particular gene present in the genome. The advent of such genomic applications challenges the mentioned algorithms to deliver fast results for ever larger data sets in contexts where prior knowledge on the topology of the HMM is vague. Very recently, new efficient realization, identification and filtering algorithms were developed for HMMs, inspired by techniques coming from linear system theory [2]. The big advantage of these algorithms is their efficiency: the methods are based on linear algebraic operations instead of optimization. The disadvantage is that the algorithms do not allow (yet) to incorporate prior knowledge of the model (as is the case with the optimization based methods).
Innovation This PhD project focuses on the extension of recent realization, identification and filtering algorithms for HMMs that scale up nicely for noisy data, for instance when confronted with observed sequences of whole genome measurements. The core of these algorithms consists of nonnegative matrix factorizations as well as modifications to these factorizations. In a first phase, new efficient implementations of these nonnegative matrix factorization techniques are developed that are suitable for large scale applications. Moreover, the nonnegative matrix approximation of a given matrix with a product of inner dimension r can be split up into r small subproblems, such that a parallelized factorization on a cluster belongs to the possibilities. A second, very important research topic is to adapt the methods of [2] such that they allow to deal with prior knowledge of the model (for instance if the structure of the underlying Markov chain is known in advance). Finally, the newly developed algorithms will be confronted with real genomic data and compete with the state of the art to discover CNVs in the altered genome of cancer cells.


Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-09-23

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.esat.kuleuven.be/scd/

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

Remarks: Profile and Eligibility requirements
Interested applicants are expected to have good mathematical skills and a strong background in system theory and identification, linear algebra and optimization. A Master's degree in engineering, mathematics, physics, or systems and control is required. Familiarity with computer programming languages (e.g., MATLAB, C/C++) is desirable. A strong interest in application-driven interdisciplinary work, cooperation skills and knowledge of English are prerequisites.

Salary and Conditions
The salary will be assigned according to the Belgian university salary system.

Promotor
The PhD work will be supervised by Prof. Bart De Moor


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Derivation of POD models for control systems using closed-loop information
Promotor: Bart De Moor

Description: Proper orthogonal decomposition (POD) is a well-known technique used for deriving reduced order models of high-dimensional systems. Usually, these high dimensional systems are obtained in the discretization of the Partial Differential Equations (PDEs) that model many processes. Typically the POD models are obtained from open-loop experiments. These reduced order models are used to carry out fast simulations and, to design control systems. In the case of control design, these models might not capture properly the system dynamics that would be excited by the controller. Such situation could lead to controlled system to behave in an unpredicted manner.
Therefore, it is necessary to design identification experiments that guarantee the excitation of the same "modes" that the control system will excite. The closed-loop behavior has to be taken into account in the derivation of the POD models. The main purpose of this thesis is to tackle this problem when we desire to apply predictive control strategies to systems modeled by PDEs.


Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-09-23

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.esat.kuleuven.be/scd/

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

Remarks: Profile and Eligibility requirements
Interested applicants are expected to have good mathematical skills and a strong background in system theory and identification, linear algebra and optimization. A Master's degree in engineering, mathematics, physics, or systems and control is required. Familiarity with computer programming languages (e.g., MATLAB, C/C++) is desirable. A strong interest in application-driven interdisciplinary work, cooperation skills and knowledge of English are prerequisites.

Salary and Conditions
The salary will be assigned according to the Belgian university salary system.

Promotor
The PhD work will be supervised by Prof. Bart De Moor


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New challenges in online state/parameter estimation and data assimilation
Promotor: Bart De Moor

Description: Online estimation can be used as a flexible data assimilation technique which reconciles observational data over time with the model response. By combining information of the physical behavior of the system with the information contained in the measurements, these techniques can provide a more accurate estimate of the state of process and its expected evolution over time. Recent research efforts have lead to the development of efficient algorithms for state/parameter estimation. These advances create a whole spectrum of opportunities that were previously thought computationally infeasible.

One emerging field of applications concerns fast systems, i.e. operating a sampling rate of 100 Hz or more. Applications are in mechanical engineering, aerospace, system biology, …

On the other side of the spectrum are large-scale systems, i.e. with system orders of 10 000 to a million or higher. Here applications arise in process industry, and in forecasting and nowcasting of weather, oceans, climatology and ecosystems, …

Together with the expanding number of new applications comes a need for efficient algorithms and a well-developed theory (e.g. concerning stability, estimation accuracy). Thus challenges are not only in new applications but also there remain theoretical challenges as well as algorithmic challenges.

Our research group is developing some of the computationally fastest numerical state/parameter estimation schemes available world-wide, combining a solid expertise of optimization and simultaneous parameter estimation methods. The goal of this PhD thesis will be to further push to limits of performance for state/parameter estimation and provide tools and expertise to practitioners in industry and academia


Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-09-23

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.esat.kuleuven.be/scd/

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

Remarks: Profile and Eligibility requirements
Interested applicants are expected to have good mathematical skills and a strong background in system theory and identification, linear algebra and optimization. A Master's degree in engineering, mathematics, physics, or systems and control is required. Familiarity with computer programming languages (e.g., MATLAB, C/C++) is desirable. A strong interest in application-driven interdisciplinary work, cooperation skills and knowledge of English are prerequisites.

Salary and Conditions
The salary will be assigned according to the Belgian university salary system.

Promotor
The PhD work will be supervised by Prof. Bart De Moor


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Analysis of post-translational modifications and the development of algorithms for database-based and de novo identification of PTMs
Promotor: Bart De Moor

Description: Usually, the identity of a protein or peptide is sought after it has been determined that the compound shows a certain activity, or is expressed differentially in a certain paradigm. However, this difference is often not caused by the identified protein or peptide itself, but by its modulated activity or spatial conformation due to a co- or post-translational modification (PTM). This concerns the covalent addition of a modifying group to one or more amino acids. PTMs can determine the activity, localisation, turnover, and interaction with other molecules. The enormous importance of PTMs to biological function is still underestimated, partly because the tools for studying PTMs are not always available. In this project the applicant will work on the development of analytical and computional methods for the detection and identification of PTMs
Description
We seek an outstanding graduate student for a PhD research project on the analysis of post-translational modifications and the development of algorithms for database-based and de novo identification of PTM's.

Goals of the project are:
- Development of new analytical methods for the detection of post translational modifications (PTM)
- Development algorithms for detection of post-translational modifications in proteins
- Supervised and unsupervised identification of proteins and their modifications in mass spectrometry data (e.g. clustering, classification, pattern detection…)
- Devopment of new de-novo sequencing approaches

The project will have a strong computational backbone but will also require extensive wet lab activity and is a project between Department of Electrical Engineering, Division ESAT-SCD, Bioinformatics group and the Interfaculty Centre for Proteomics and Metabolomics, ProMeta.

The applicant will be supported by our proven track record in genomics and proteomics and can benefit from a vast amount of machine learning expertise available within the group through other PhD students and postdocs working on related topics.

Further instrumental and technology expertise will be available to the student via the Interfaculty Centre for Proteomics and Metabolomics, ProMeta, (http://www.prometa.kuleuven.be).


Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-09-23

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.esat.kuleuven.be/scd/

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

Remarks: Requirements
- The drive and motivation for excellent application-driven interdisciplinary work.
- Strong background in computer science or mathematical engineering (master's degree level). However, we will consider motivated candidates with other pertinent backgrounds as well.
- Broad interest and willingness to explore also other disciplines in biology, biochemistry, and medicine.
- Good programming skills (e.g. MATLAB, Java, C/C++, Perl, Python,…)
- Knowledge of HTML en website maintenance
- Experience with databases and SQL
- Some insight into network administration (e.g. IP, MAC-addresses,...)
- Knowledge of English
- Cooperative skills
- Prior knowledge of machine learning, artificial intelligence, bioinformatics, or signal processing is a plus.
- Prior knowledge in the basics of biology is a plus
- Prior knowledge of mass spectrometry and related techniques (e.g. chromatography) is a plus but.

Salary and Conditions
The salary will be assigned according to the Belgian university salary system.

Promotor
The PhD work will be supervised by Prof. Bart De Moor


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Exploiting plant structure for fault detection and isolation in industrial processes
Promotor: Bart De Moor

Description: Context
Many process industrial companies are looking for alarm management solutions to meet safety guideline, decrease operator-alarm load and increase operator responsiveness during plant upsets. Typically, alarm management includes a rationalization phase for base alarm load reduction and a conditional or state-based alarming phase that is primarily aimed at peak alarm load reduction. Recently, there has been a growing interest in a third alarm management phase, sometimes referred to as smultivariate 'intelligent' alarming to enable predictive alarming or early warning (illustrated in figure 1) and root cause detection. Such multivariate alarming techniques for fault detection and fault isolation (FDI) may also be used for predictive maintenance modeling in the context of asset management improvement programs. Popular techniques for fault detection and isolation (cause identification) model the interaction of measurements in a plant by describing their static or dynamic relations, and exploit the redundancy in the resulting models for detecting inconsistencies. One class of algorithms found its origin in the theory on SPC or statistical process control (including PCA, PLS and their dynamic counterparts DPCA, DPLS, CVA). Another class of algorithms exploits state space models for FDI based on observer theory or parity relations. Other classes of algorithms exist, such as qualitative model based approaches (signed directed graph (SDG), Fault Trees, Qualitative Simulation (QSIM), and Qualitative Process Theory (QPT)). However, in practice most currently implemented strategies for data-driven large scale fault detection are based on the first and sometimes the second class of algorithms.

Project and approach
The SPC based and state space model based approaches above usually do not explicitly exploit plant structure information, which is often available in the form of piping and instrumentation diagrams or P&IDs. Nevertheless, it has been acknowledged that by embedding plant structure in this modeling process, performance should be significantly improved. The recent introduction of XML-based data format standards for plant structure representation may enable the (semi-)automated use of such plant structure information. This project aims at the study of techniques for the exploitation of plant topology information in combination with well-known FDI techniques, with an (initial) focus on continuous processes. It includes the following steps:
- Literature review
- Study of suitability of the CAEX data standard for the representation of plant structure information. A case study of a continuous process (for instance a polypropylene production facility) will be used in this phase.
- Study and development of techniques for static and dynamic fault detection, with special interest for techniques that exploit plant structure. Development of integrated, robust and large scale techniques for fault detection and isolation using plant structure information.
- Application of the developed techniques on case studies.

The focus is on the applicability of the developed approaches, but further details of the project plan may depend on the skills and interests of the applicant.



Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-09-23

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.esat.kuleuven.be/scd/

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

Remarks: Applicants
Applicants preferably have a background in computer science and / or automation. They are familiar with systems theory, have at least basic programming skills (Matlab, Java, or equivalent) and are especially interested in a PhD project that involves both industrial and academic partners. Applicants are either native Dutch speakers or they have the ability to speak English.

Salary and Conditions
The salary will be assigned according to the Belgian university salary system.

Promotor
The PhD work will be supervised by Prof. Bart De Moor


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Data assimilation for climate and air quality
Promotor: Bart De Moor

Description: On line estimation can be used as a flexible data assimilation technique which reconciles observational data over time with the model response. By combining information of the physical behavior of the system with the information contained in the measurements, these techniques can provide a more accurate estimate of the state of the process and its expected evolution over time. Recent research efforts have lead to the development of efficient algorithms for state/parameter estimation. These advances create a whole spectrum of opportunities that were previously thought computationally infeasible.

On the other hand we have large scale systems, i.e. systems with orders of thousand to millions of states. Here applications arise in process industry, forecasting and nowcasting of weather, oceans, climatology, ecosystems, …. , etc.

Hence, with the expanding number of new applications come a need for efficient algorithms and a well developed theory (e.g. concerning stability, observability, sampling). Thus challenges are not only in new applications but also theoretical as well as numerical.

The aim of the project is to develop and apply data assimilation techniques based on the Kalman filtering and Moving Horizon Estimation (MHE) for Climate and Air Quality. This research is part of a multidisciplinary project with partners from university and research institutions active in climate and air quality modelling, who will provide models and data. The methods for data assimilation and forecasting will be compared and applied in close collaboration with our partners.


Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-09-23

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.esat.kuleuven.be/scd/

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

Remarks: Profile and Eligibility Requirements
The interested applicants are expected to have good mathematical skills and a strong background in stochastic processes, optimization, signal processing and modern control theory. Particular areas of interest include observer design and data assimilation. In addition, familiarity with computer programming languages (Matlab, C/C++, Fortran) is desirable. A Master's degree in engineering, physics, or systems and control is required. A strong interest in application driven interdisciplinary work as well as cooperation skills and knowledge of English are prerequisites.

Salary and Conditions
The salary will be assigned according to the Belgian university salary system.

Promotor
The Ph.D. Work will be supervised by Prof. Bart De Moor.


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Tensor methods for network analysis
Promotor: Lieven De Lathauwer

Description: The current project will contribute to the mathematical foundations of network analysis. In particular, the Ph.D. student will develop methods for network analysis that are based on higher-order tensor decompositions and simultaneous matrix decompositions. Higher-order tensors are the higher-order equivalent of vectors (order 1) and matrices (order 2). Intuitively, they can be imagined as multi-way arrays of numbers. We believe that higher-order tensors, just like vectors and matrices, will play an important role in network analysis. Higher-order tensors are natural representations of multi-layer networks, semantic graphs, hyperlink data, and social networks considered over different time frames, to give but a few examples. The integration of different sources of information leads to sets of matrices, which can be analyzed by means of tensor-type techniques.
The Ph.D. work will consist of the study of higher-order tensor decompositions and simultaneous matrix decompositions, and their application to network problems. For the computation of the decompositions, fast and reliable numerical algorithms will be developed. Network data are often nonnegative and sparse. Constraints like these will be incorporated in the network models.
The research is carried out in a multidisciplinary environment. The Ph.D. work will be supervised by Prof. Lieven De Lathauwer (URL: http://homes.esat.kuleuven.be/~delathau/home.html).


Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-09-23

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.esat.kuleuven.be/scd/

Research group: Science, Engineering and Technology Group Campus Kortrijk

Remarks: Profile
We are particularly seeking candidates with a Master-of-Science degree in electrical, computer science or mathematical engineering, in physics or in mathematics, and with strong interests in optimization, signal processing, statistics, numerical computations, and algebra. The ability to become acquainted with new methods within short time and good familiarity with scientific tools like MATLAB programming are appreciated. The chosen candidate will be an enthusiastic person and initiator with good communication skills and a good knowledge of English.
The successful applicant will join a well-equipped and experienced research group where new and exciting research questions are tackled in challenging domains. He or she will have access to different interdisciplinary facilities; participate in all research-focused activities such as lab-meetings, in-house seminars, invited seminars and lectures and international meetings.

Salary and Conditions
The salary will be assigned according to the Belgian university salary system.

Promotor
The Ph.D. Work will be supervised by Prof. Lieven De Lathauwer


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Feature selection for genomic data fusion
Promotor: Yves Moreau

Description: Identifying genes causing disease is a major challenge of molecular biology and genetics. Because of the amount and complexity of genomic data available to biologists, we have developed methods to integrate multiple types of heterogeneous data to speed up the identification of promising candidates for further validation in the lab. Integration of multiple types of heterogeneous data is currently one of the challenging frontiers in machine learning. We have developed a major platform for candidate gene prioritization called Endeavour (Aerts et al., 2006) and have established its effectiveness in tackling biological problems. More recently, we have developed improved machine learning strategies using both kernel methods (De Bie et al., 2007) and network graph analysis (Lage et al., 2007). We are currently developing a fully integrated strategy for data integration that directly combines gene networks and kernel methods.

A major direction for boosting the performance of current data integration methods is the use of feature selection and attribute weighting methods. Because biological data sets often contain thousands to millions of features, detecting relationships between biological entities is often impaired by the noise from irrelevant variables. Moreover, tackling different biological questions often implies focusing on a different subset of attributes. Hence, feature selection methods offer a simple strategy for semantic contextualization in data fusion.

The goal of the Ph.D. will be both to develop the mathematical foundation of these strategies and prove their effectiveness for genomic data fusion. The complex IT infrastructure for genomic data fusion is already available and the methods developed during the Ph.D. will be directly integrated into it to improve its performance. In this way, the results of the Ph.D. will be quickly available to the biological community.

- De Bie et al. Kernel-based data fusion for gene prioritization. Bioinformatics. 2007.
- Lage et al. A human phenome-interactome network of protein complexes implicated in genetic disorders. Nature Biotechnology. 2007.
- Aerts et al. Gene prioritization through genomic data fusion. Nature Biotechnology. 2006


Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-09-24

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.esat.kuleuven.be/scd/

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

Remarks: Profile and Eligibility requirements
The ideal candidate will have a Ph.D. in bioinformatics or a related field with expertise in high-throughput data analysis. A strong publication record, solid communication skills in English, demonstrated ability to interact with biomedical researchers, creative and independent thinking, ability to coach a small team and contribute to the acquisition of funding, and a cooperative mindset are important assets. The salary will be set according to the Belgian university salary system.

Salary and Conditions
The salary will be assigned according to the Belgian university salary system.

Promotor
The PhD work will be supervised by Prof. Yves Moreau


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Network analysis of drug responses
Promotor: Yves Moreau

Description: Recently and because of the amount and complexity of genomic data available to biologists, we have developed methods to integrate multiple types of heterogeneous data to speed up the identification of promising candidate disease-causing genes. Integration of multiple types of heterogeneous data is currently one of the challenging frontiers in machine learning. We have developed a major platform for candidate gene prioritization called Endeavour (Aerts et al., 2006) and have established its effectiveness in tackling biological problems. More recently, we have developed improved machine learning strategies using both kernel methods (De Bie et al., 2007) and network graph analysis (Lage et al., 2007). We are currently developing a fully integrated strategy for data integration that directly combines gene networks and kernel methods.

A major direction for extension of this framework is the analysis of drug responses on such integrative networks and kernels. When a biological sample is treated with a drug, the biological response can be monitored by expression microarrays that measure the activity of all human genes. Such data can be visualized and analyzed as patterns on a gene network. Such analyses can be used to understand the mode of action of a drug (i.e., how a drug produces its desired effect) and its side effects (i.e., undesired effects), to repurpose drugs (i.e., discover that a drug used for a certain pathology can also be used for another one), and to study synergetic effects of drug combinations.

The goal of the Ph.D. will be both to develop the mathematical foundation of these strategies and prove their effectiveness for understanding drug responses. The complex IT infrastructure for genomic data fusion is already available and the methods developed during the Ph.D. extend the current infrastructure. In this way, the results of the Ph.D. will be quickly available to the biological community. Specific applications will be targeted in close collaborations with molecular biologists of the SymBioSys center.

- De Bie et al. Kernel-based data fusion for gene prioritization. Bioinformatics. 2007.
- Lage et al. A human phenome-interactome network of protein complexes implicated in genetic disorders. Nature Biotechnology. 2007.
- Aerts et al. Gene prioritization through genomic data fusion. Nature Biotechnology. 2006


Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-09-24

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.esat.kuleuven.be/scd/

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

Remarks: Profile and Eligibility requirements
The ideal candidate will have a Ph.D. in bioinformatics or a related field with expertise in high-throughput data analysis. A strong publication record, solid communication skills in English, demonstrated ability to interact with biomedical researchers, creative and independent thinking, ability to coach a small team and contribute to the acquisition of funding, and a cooperative mindset are important assets. The salary will be set according to the Belgian university salary system.

Salary and Conditions
The salary will be assigned according to the Belgian university salary system.

Promotor
The PhD work will be supervised by Prof. Yves Moreau


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Cross-species genomic data fusion
Promotor: Yves Moreau

Description: Identifying genes causing disease is a major challenge of molecular biology and genetics. Because of the amount and complexity of genomic data available to biologists, we have developed methods to integrate multiple types of heterogeneous data to speed up the identification of promising candidates for further validation in the lab. Integration of multiple types of heterogeneous data is currently one of the challenging frontiers in machine learning. We have developed a major platform for candidate gene prioritization called Endeavour (Aerts et al., 2006) and have established its effectiveness in tackling biological problems. More recently, we have developed improved machine learning strategies using both kernel methods (De Bie et al., 2007) and network graph analysis (Lage et al., 2007). We are currently developing a fully integrated strategy for data integration that directly combines gene networks and kernel methods.
A major direction for boosting the performance of current data integration methods is to combine data from multiple species (human, mouse, fly, zebrafish, yeast, etc.). Indeed, while we search for causes of human diseases, much of the experimental data is rather available in model organisms because these experiments are easier to carry out. A large amount of the information from other species can be carried over to human biology and can boost the identification of disease genes. At the same time critical differences between human and other species must be detected (this would allow to answer particularly challenging questions ranging from the fundamental "what makes humans different from great apes?" to the practical "why does a cancer treatment work in mouse and not in human?").
The goal of the Ph.D. will be both to develop the mathematical foundation of these strategies and prove their effectiveness for genomic data fusion. The complex IT infrastructure for genomic data fusion is already available and the methods developed during the Ph.D. will be directly integrated into it to improve its performance. In this way, the results of the Ph.D. will be quickly available to the biological community.
• De Bie et al. Kernel-based data fusion for gene prioritization. Bioinformatics. 2007.
• Lage et al. A human phenome-interactome network of protein complexes implicated in genetic disorders. Nature Biotechnology. 2007.
• Aerts et al. Gene prioritization through genomic data fusion. Nature Biotechnology. 2006


Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-09-24

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.esat.kuleuven.be/scd/

Research group: Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT)

Remarks: Profile and Eligibility requirements
The ideal candidate will have a Ph.D. in bioinformatics or a related field with expertise in high-throughput data analysis. A strong publication record, solid communication skills in English, demonstrated ability to interact with biomedical researchers, creative and independent thinking, ability to coach a small team and contribute to the acquisition of funding, and a cooperative mindset are important assets. The salary will be set according to the Belgian university salary system.

Salary and Conditions
The salary will be assigned according to the Belgian university salary system.

Promotor
The PhD work will be supervised by Prof. Yves Moreau


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Piezoelectric nanomotors
Promotor: Dominiek Reynaerts

Description: This proposal is situated in the field of precision mechanics, more specifically in the development of highly accurate positioning
devices. The micro and precision research group developed a novel piezoelectric drive that is unique compared to the state of the art due
to its combined properties. The drive combines high speed positioning over a large stroke with nanometer resolution. The proposed PhD will further develop this motor into an industrially applicable drive. Topics of study are advanced control and adaptive control to enhance the robustness of the drive

Key words: piezomotor, ultra-precise positioning

Latest Application date: 2009-09-24

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Source of Funding: iof

Duration of the Project : 1 years

Research group: Department of Mechanical Engineering

Remarks: further funding will be available

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Atomic-layer deposition of functional oxides on novel substrates for advanced microelectronic devices
Promotor: Stefan De Gendt

Description: In the past, microelectronics was dominated largely by silicon as semiconductor material. Microprocessors, memory chips, and Flash memory sticks are all based on electronic devices made out of silicon. While the improvement of Si-based de-vices ("scaling") is still ongoing, it has been recognized that this process may come to an end in a few years. To further improve the performance, Si has to be replaced by other materials. In the nearer future, semiconductors, such as In-GaAs or Ge may be introduced into devices; further out, materials like graphene or semiconductor nanowires may become highly interesting.

To obtain a working nanoelectronic device, not only semiconductor structures but also insulating (dielectric) or metallic thin films are required. Typically, these films are deposited on top of a semiconducting substrate and later patterned into the device. The method of choice for such depositions will most likely be atomic-layer deposition (ALD), since it offers a high degree of control over the deposition process and especially operates at low temperature, which is required for depositions on novel substrates such as InGaAs or graphene.

The purpose of this thesis would be the study of novel, innovative, and advanced deposition processes for functional dielectric oxides on these novel substrates. Because the interface between the dielectric and the semiconductor is of great importance for the performance of the device, a special focus will be on the char-acterization of this interface. Since the ALD precursor chemistry may influence the interface properties, it will be important to link process and interface proper-ties. Because of the small length scales involved, an in-depth physical characterization of interfaces may require the use of novel and advanced characterization techniques. One focus of this work may thus be the assessment and application of such characterization techniques to the systems under study. Ultimately, the goal will be to relate deposition conditions to interface properties and to optimize the deposition process giving best interface properties. The work will be done in close connection with the process and integration engineers, so that the results of process and interface characterization can be used to better understand device properties.

The student will be involved in developing the deposition processes for func-tional dielectric oxides on novel substrates. She/he will carry out depositions on in-house ALD tools and characterize the films using techniques available at IMEC. She/he will closely work together with integration engineers at IMEC to corre-late the characterization results to device properties. She/he will also study in detail the physical properties of interfaces between dielectrics and semiconduc-tors using techniques available at IMEC and develop or assess new techniques for interface characterization in collaboration with external partners (e.g. at syn-chrotrons).


Key words: Atomic Layer deposition high mobility semiconductors

Latest Application date: 2009-09-26

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Research group: Department of Chemistry

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Vortex matter in two-component superconductors
Promotor: Victor Moshchalkov and Jacques Tempere

Description: This research will be carried out in the framework of the FWO and METHUSALEM NANO Programmes.
Vortex matter in two-component (two-gap) superconductors will be investigated experimentally, by carrying out low temperature local imaging of vortices with scanning Hall-probe microscope, STM and MFM and theoretically by modelling vortex behaviour in these systems in the framework of the two-component Ginzburg-Landau theory. As grown and nanostructured type-1.5 superconductors (MgB2) and also bilayer structures made from two different superconducting materials will be mostly used in this research.

Key words: superconductivity, vortex matter, two-component superconductivity

Latest Application date: 2009-07-26

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Source of Funding: FWO and METHUSALEM Programme

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.kuleuven.be/inpac/

Research group: Department of Physics and Astronomy

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Magnetic deflection experiments of small clusters: metal alloys, doped semiconductors and oxides
Promotor: Peter Lievens

Description: In this experimental project fundamental aspects of magnetism will be addressed, in particular of ferromagnetism, antiferromagnetism, and the Kondo-effect. The aim is to investigate the onset of magnetism in ultrasmall binary clusters. More specifically the influence of size and composition on the magnetic structure will be studied by measuring cluster magnetic moments in the gas phase. This will require the implementation of magnetic beam deflection in the cluster beam setup, in combination with mass spectrometry, laser ionization, and position sensitive detection.


Key words: Magnetism, cluster beams, mass spectrometry

Latest Application date: 2009-09-26

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://fys.kuleuven.be/vsm/class/

Research group: Department of Physics and Astronomy

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Experimental work in nuclear physics and solid-state physics with nuclear methods
Promotor: Mark Huyse

Description: This position is related to a FLOF-fellowship and is open for a starting Ph.D. student within the Institute for Nuclear and Radiation Physics. The aim is to conduct fundamental research related to currently running projects in the field of nuclear physics. The experimental work in the field of nuclear physics is strongly embedded in several European collaborations which make use of accelerated beams at ISOLDE, CERN (Genève, CH), GSI (Darmstadt, D), GANIL (Caen, France), LISOL (Louvain-la-Neuve, B) and ILL (Grenoble, France).

Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-07-16

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship or salary

Source of Funding: K.U. Leuven FLOF or K.U. Leuven AAP

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.fys.kuleuven.be/iks

Research group: Department of Physics and Astronomy

Remarks: The candidates are expected to be Dutch speaking.

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Position related to the project 'Magnetic spin structures at the nanometer scale'
Promotor: Kristiaan Temst, André Vantomme

Description: The aim is to perform fundamental research in preparation of a PhD degree in the domain of nuclear solid-state physics at the nanometer scale. In this project the influence of magnetic ordering in thin films and nanostructures on the electronic transport and the coupling between films with different magnetic properties is studied. Physical vapour deposition and ion beam techniques in the IMBL laboratory will be used for sample preparation, while magnetoresistance and hyperfine interactions will be used for the study of the magnetic properties. Additional experiments are forseen in synchrotron and neutron beam facilities (ESRF and ILL, Grenoble)

Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-07-16

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship or salary

Source of Funding: K.U. Leuven FLOF or K.U. Leuven AAP

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.fys.kuleuven.be/iks

Research group: Department of Physics and Astronomy

Remarks: The candidates are expected to be Dutch speaking.

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Surface deposited nanoclusters as tailored binding sites for biomolecules
Promotor: Margriet Van Bael

Description: The experimental work in this project is situated at the border between physics at the nanometer scale and molecular biophysics. The aim is to investigate the interaction between inorganic clusters and biomolecules, more specifically the application of inorganic clusters or nanoparticles as tailored binding sites for the immobilization of proteins and other biomolecules on surfaces. Controlling and optimizing the organization of clusters and nanoparticles on a surface is an important aspect of this research. One of the specific objectives is the oriented immobilization of proteins for the study of protein morphology and protein reactions in view of possible biotechnological applications.

Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-07-16

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship or salary

Source of Funding: K.U. Leuven FLOF or K.U. Leuven AAP

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://www.fys.kuleuven.be/vsm/

Research group: Department of Physics and Astronomy

Remarks: The candidates are expected to be Dutch speaking.

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Structural/functional investigations of ionotropic receptors in living cell membranes by means of multidimensional microscopy
Promotor: Carmen Bartic

Description: The main goal of this doctoral work is to investigate the distribution/structure and function of ionotropic receptors (e.g. AMPA) in the membrane of normal and aged cells (with modified lipidic structure) by a combination of biophysical techniques including AFM, STM and optical microscopy. Ionotropic receptors also referred as ligand-gated ion channels are a group of transmembrane ion channels involved in neurotransmission in the nervous system. The structure and function of these proteins are strongly dependent on the lipidic composition of the membrane, which changes during the ageing process. This doctoral work will focus on the development of techniques allowing characterizing the receptors at nanoscale in their native environment. Combinations of different techniques would allow observing different parameters simultaneously (e.g. conformational changes and ion current through an ion channel). The biological model systems to be employed in this work will be developed in strong collaboration with several research teams from the Biomedical Sciences Group.

Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-07-16

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship or salary

Source of Funding: K.U. Leuven FLOF or K.U. Leuven AAP

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Research group: Department of Physics and Astronomy

Remarks: The candidates are expected to be Dutch speaking.

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Electric field induced metal-insulator transitions in correlated electron systems
Promotor: Jean-Pierre Locquet

Description: Changes in the electrical resistance are at the basis of most electronic devices. There are many phenomena that lead to variations in the resistance such as changes in the crystal structure, modifications of the composition, oxygen migration etc. However, many of these phenomena are due to local filamentary variations and do not correspond to a "true" thermodynamic phase transition.
In this project, the focus is on oxides displaying purely electronic phase transitions between an insulating and a metallic state and the goal is to demonstrate whether this transition can be induced through the application of an electric field at temperature above room temperature.


Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-07-16

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship or salary

Source of Funding: K.U. Leuven FLOF or K.U. Leuven AAP

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Research group: Department of Physics and Astronomy

Remarks: The candidates are expected to be Dutch speaking.

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Spectroscopy of electron quantum states in semiconducting nanoclusters and nanostructures
Promotor: Andre Stesmans

Description: A main part of the work will deal with the study of electron states of semiconductor nanoparticles embedded in optically transparent dielectrics, enjoying much interest for photonics (photo-sensitive or photo-emitting systems) as well as charge storage memory application
Main experimental techniques applied are internal photo-emission (IPE), based on the over-barrier photo-electric effect, and inelastic electron tunneling spectroscopy (IETS), both powerful techniques for the electrical characterization of interfaces and nanostructures. The basic principle of IETS lies in the detection of inelastic processes encountered by tunneling electrons, injected from a metal/insulator or semiconductor/insulator interface, typically measured at few Kelvins. This technique is sensitive to the vibration modes of bonds present at/near the interface, as well as to interface defects; it can be also applied to other materials and interfaces of interests for nano-electronic devices, like e.g., magnetic semiconductors and magnetic oxides used in magnetic tunnel junctions (spintronics), as well as to organic compounds (C nanotubes, graphene,…) for post-nano CMOS technologies.
The combination of IEP and IETS with other analytical techniques available in the group, like electron spin resonance and admittance spectroscopy, should enable to identify the atomic origin of the various electron states present at these nano-entities, thus contributing to their fundamental understanding.

The work is carried out within the section Semiconductor Physics, Dept. Physics, under close guidance and support of a research team in intense international collaboration and wide ranging contacts with state-of-the-art device manufacture. There is ample possibility for international exchange.

For a well limited part, the interested candidate will also contribute to the physics educational program of the university through supervising student projects and/or taking up teaching duties. Knowledge of Dutch (average level) is advised.


Key words: electron states, embedded nanoparticles, interface nature, photo-emission, photonics, memory, clusters, semiconductors

Latest Application date: 2009-07-16

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship or salary

Source of Funding: K.U. Leuven FLOF or K.U. Leuven AAP

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://fys.kuleuven.be/hf/hf.htm

Research group: Department of Physics and Astronomy

Remarks: This project will be conducted in close collaboration with IMEC, and University of Minnesota, USA. More detailed information can be obtained from andre.stesmans@fys.kuleuven.be; Valeri.Afanasiev@fys.kuleuven.be; michel.houssa@fys.kuleuven.be

The candidates are expected to be Dutch speaking

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Finite-Element Time-Domain Simulation for the Maxwell Wave Equation
Promotor: Herbert De Gersem

Description: The development of future mobile communication systems aims at power-amplifier, antenna combination with a higher efficiency. Such devices are designed on the basis of CAD packages in combination with circuit and field simulation tools. The higher integration of power amplifier and antenna requires further developments on the simulation side. It is intended to add a finite-element (FE) time-domain (TD) method as an alternative to existing method-of-moment (MoM) techniques and finite-difference (FD) time-domain (TD) approaches. FE techniques are beneficial for discretizing complicated geometries as occurring in highly integrated systems, but may become either computationally expensive or inaccurate, when combined with time integration. In this part of the project, FETD methods reported in literature will be studied, improved and prepared for application in the field of highly integrated communication devices.

Key words: electromagnetic field simulation, mobile communication systems

Latest Application date: 2009-12-27

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship or salary

Source of Funding: IWT

Duration of the Project : 3 years

Research group: Subfaculty of Sciences Campus Kortrijk

Remarks: From the project candidate, a good knowledge of electrical engineering, programming skills, an interest in numerical simulation, team-working capabilities and a goal oriented attitude are expected.

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Astronomy at high spatial resolution
Promotor: Christoffel Waelkens

Description: Technological advances have substantially increased the angular resolution with which details on the sky can be studied. These developments are in particular important for the study of the environments of stars, and so are relevant for different research topics at the Institute for Astronomy, such as: 1. the evolution of planet-forming disks surrounding young stars; 2. the ejection of stellar outer layers during final evolutionary stages; 3. mass loss and mass transfer from components of binary stars. The candidate will be involved in projects using the Very Large Telescope Interferometer at the European Southern Observatory as well as other interferometers.

Key words: stellar evolution; circumstellar media; interferometry

Latest Application date: 2009-07-16

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship or salary

Source of Funding: K.U. Leuven FLOF or K.U. Leuven AAP

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://ster.kuleuven.be/

Research group: Department of Physics and Astronomy

Remarks: The candidates are expected to be Dutch speaking.

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Thermodynamic aspects of vermicular cast iron
Promotor: Bart Blanpain

Description: Vermicular cast iron, also known as compacted graphite cast iron, contains blunted graphite flakes and therefore its properties are intermediate between those of gray cast iron which is characterized by a flake graphite structure and ductile or nodular cast iron which is characterized by a spherulitic graphite structure. Vermicular cast iron is of interest for applications which call for tensile strengths approaching those of ductile irons combined with good casting properties and thermal conductivity normally associated with gray cast irons. Such combinations of properties are useful in such applications as ingot molds, engine blocks, and the like.
The graphite morphology depends on the presence of dissolved oxygen and sulfur and therefore elements such as magnesium or rare earth metals need to be added in carefully controlled amounts. The current practice is mostly empirical in nature. A consistent thermodynamic description of the relevant chemical equilibria would be very helpful to be able to control the casting process.
The aim of this doctoral research is to develop the thermodynamic framework for compacted graphite cast irons based on literature data and experimental work and to extend the relevant thermodynamic databases.


Key words: Thermodynamics, cast iron, modelling, high temperature experimentation

Latest Application date: 2009-09-30

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Source of Funding: Baekeland fellowship (funding available for first year during which an application is made for a Bae

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Research group: Department of Metallurgy and Materials Engineering (MTM)

Remarks: This project will be run in the Centre for High Temperature Processes, Metallurgy and Refractory Materials (http://www.mtm.kuleuven.be/Research/centre/index.html) and in the Thermodynamics in Materials Engineering Group. There will also be plenty of opportunity to interact with industry.


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Process window enhancement for laser cutting by advanced melt removal mechanisms
Promotor: Joost Duflou

Description: Background:
Large constructions, like open sea support structures for wind turbines, require the processing of ever thicker steel plates. Today high tech cutting capabilities, as offered by high power laser systems, are limited by the material behavior of thick plates under cutting conditions. Indeed, fine grained steels are typically cut with O2 as an assist gas, which induces extra energy into the process by means of the exothermic oxidation reaction between gas and material. This reaction needs to be controlled by means of the gas supply pressure, which limits the expulsion force that can be exerted on the cutting front. For thicker plates the capillary forces tend to exceed the expulsion forces. Conclusion is that the O2 supported laser cutting as used today is characterized by a poorly configured process design with insufficient degrees of freedom to effectively shift the process boundaries.

Research Objectives:
The process - material interaction can in our opinion be improved by process redesign measures that affect the melt pool force balance. Innovative ideas have been formulated for this purpose (confidential due to IP protection considerations) and will be investigated in the proposed research. Ideally this process redesign will allow shifting the process limits to considerably thicker plates (targets are plates of 30 mm and more).
This research will cover an experimental exploration of the proposed process redesign concepts and should lead to a profound understanding of the effects caused to the cutting front melt pool.

Available means: extensive experience with conventional, CO2 laser based sheet metal cutting and experimental manufacturing process development, support by a team of process engineers and material scientists investigating the material-process interaction in different laser based manufacturing processes, in-process optical monitoring system with IR camera, financial means to invest in an experimental setup, industrial partners contributing to the development of experimental systems, well-equipped metrology laboratory, extensive materials laboratory facilities.

Profile: Motivated PhD candidate holding a master in engineering degree, with strong affinity for experimental work on a CAD/CAM/CNC platform, solid capabilities for experimental design, data analysis and model extraction, and a strong interest in laser applications.

Contact: Prof. Joost Duflou, Joost.Duflou@mech.kuleuven.be, ++32/16/322845
Prof. Jean-Pierre Kruth, Jean-Pierre.Kruth@mech.kuleuven.be


Key words:

Latest Application date: 2009-12-24

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Source of Funding: GOA project

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Research group: Department of Mechanical Engineering

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Robust and Computational Statistics
Promotor: Mia Hubert

Description: We are looking for a Ph.D. student who will do research in robust and computational statistics. Promoters of this project are Peter Rousseeuw and Mia Hubert.

Key words: Robust statistics

Latest Application date: 2009-07-31

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Source of Funding: Department of Mathematics

Duration of the Project : 4 years

Link: http://wis.kuleuven.be/stat/robust

Research group: Department of Mathematics

Remarks: This position also requires teaching duties (up to 4 hours weekly). The candidate is expected to learn Dutch within two years. The position starts December 1, 2009 (or later). An earlier starting date is negotiable. The contract is for two years with a possible extension for another two years.

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Genesis of electrical and magnetic properties in condensed matter: towards multifunctionality by tailoring size and structure
Promotor: Lievens, Temst, Van Bael, Vandervorst, Van Haesendonck, Vantomme, Locquet, Seo

Description: Recent years have witnessed exciting new developments related to multifunctional thin-film structures with interrelated multiple functionalities. A first class of materials are multiferroics, where an intimate coupling between electrical polarization and magnetization can be established in one single material. Apart from single-phase thin-film multiferroics, heterostructures are intensively investigated, where different materials with nanometer dimensions are brought together, resulting in multifunctionality through coupling at the interfaces. The project aims at the genesis of specific electrical and magnetic properties, i.e., the exploration and improved understanding of their emergence, modification, coexistence, or mutual influence. Two complementary approaches will be used to obtain the multifunctional systems. In the first approach, films with a new nanoscale structure are obtained either by the assembly of clusters, by ion beam synthesis, or by physical vapor deposition through masks with nanosize holes. This way, nanometer size entities with lattice structure and composition that are unstable in bulk can be included. The second approach relies on known multifunctional systems, where the multifunctionality will be tuned by reducing size or by introducing specific defect structures, in particular by ion irradiation.

This position is related to a Concerted Research Action project (Promoters: Peter Lievens, Kristiaan Temst, Margriet Van Bael, Wilfried Vandervorst, Chris Van Haesendonck, André Vantomme, Jean-Pierre Locquet, Maria Seo


Key words: multifunctionality, oxides, multiferroics

Latest Application date: 2009-10-06

Financing: available

Type of Position: scholarship

Source of Funding: secured

Duration of the Project : four years

Research group: Department of Physics and Astronomy

Apply to Click here to apply to this project

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