Belgium: 4 PhD positions in sound engineering as part of MSCA training network 'SOUNDS'

4 PhD research positions are available in the KU Leuven Electrical Engineering Department (ESAT), in the frame of the H2020 MSCA European Training Network “Service-Oriented Ubiquitous Network-Driven Sound (SOUNDS)” under the supervision of Prof. Toon van Waterschoot and Prof. Marc Moonen.

The PhD students will be fully embedded in the SOUNDS research and training network, and will carry out applied research in the interdisciplinary field of signal processing, room acoustics, auditory perception, communication networks and machine learning.

The research will be executed in an international team of audio signal processing researchers at the Stadius Centre for Dynamical Systems, Signal Processing and Data Analytics of KU Leuven, and will involve several research visits to internationally renowned research labs in Europe. Initially a three-year MSCA Fellowship is offered, however it is anticipated that the position will be extended to a total of four years, which is the standard duration of a PhD research project at KU Leuven.

The following four PhD research topics are vacant:

(1) Active sound field and noise control in wireless acoustic transducer networks

(2) Distributed integrated acoustic echo and noise cancellation in smart home voice communication

(3) Estimation of nonstationary spatial noise maps for acoustic signal enhancement and detection

(4) Shared acoustic awareness and algorithm self-configuration in a cooperative audio signal processing context


  • A high-level and exciting international research environment.
  • A strong involvement in a European research project with high international visibility.
  • A PhD title from one of Europe's top universities (after approximately 4 years of successful research).
  • A thorough scientific education in the frame of a doctoral training program.
  • A competitive salary or tax-free PhD grant.
  • The possibility to participate in local as well as international courses, workshops and conferences.
  • The possibility to perform research visits to internationally renowned research labs in Europe.
  • A prestigious three-year MSCA Fellowship with the possibility of extension for a fourth year.

Eligibility criteria

  • Candidates must hold a Master degree in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, or Engineering Acoustics (or equivalent), have a solid mathematical background (e.g. in matrix algebra) and have taken specialized courses in at least one of the following disciplines: digital signal processing, acoustics, audio signal processing. Candidates who are in the final phase of their Master program are equally encouraged to apply, and should mention their expected graduation date.
  • Research experience (e.g. through Master thesis work or research internships) in acoustic signal processing is considered a strong asset.
  • Experience with scientific computing in Matlab, Python, or Julia is required.
  • Excellent proficiency in the English language is required, as well as good communication skills, both oral and written.
  • Candidates must satisfy the eligibility conditions for MSCA Early Stage Researchers, i.e., they must have obtained their Master degree in the past 4 years and must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Belgium for more than 12 months in the past 3 years.

Selection process

For more information please contact Prof. dr. ir. Toon van Waterschoot, tel.: +32 16 32 17 88, mail: toon.vanwaterschoot@esat.kuleuven.be. Prospective candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible, since interviews may already be organized before the application deadline. Please submit:

(1) a motivation letter with a statement of skills and research interests (max. 1 page), also specifying the candidate's preference for one of the four vacant PhD research topics

(2) a curriculum vitae, including transcripts and possibly GRE/TOEFL results

(3) the names and contact information of 1-2 references

You can apply for this job no later than 31/08/2020 via the online application tool



The SOUNDS European Training Network (ETN) revolves around a new and promising paradigm coined as Service- Oriented, Ubiquitous, Network-Driven Sound. Inspired by the ubiquity of mobile and wearable devices capable of capturing, processing, and reproducing sound, the SOUNDS ETN aims to bring audio technology to a new level by exploiting network-enabled cooperation between devices. We envision the next generation of audio devices to be capable of providing enhanced hearing assistance, creating immersive audio experience, enabling advanced voice control and much more, by seamlessly exchanging signals and parameter settings, and spatially analyzing and reproducing sound jointly with other nearby audio devices and infrastructure. Moreover, such functionality should be self-organizing, flexible, and scalable, requiring minimal user interaction for adapting to changes in the environment or network. It is anticipated that this paradigm will eventually result in an entirely new way of designing and using audio technology, by considering audio as a service enabled through shared infrastructure, rather than as a device-specific functionality limited by the capabilities and constraints of a single user device.