Ghent University is a top 100 university worldwide and one of the major universities in Belgium, with more than 44000 students and 15000 staff members. At the department of Electromechanical, Systems and Metal Engineering, we have an open vacancy for a PhD researcher in the mechatronics research group at the campus Kortrijk. The research in our group focuses on modelling, control and optimization of the electromechanical and control aspects of industrial machines, with an emphasis on using Industry 4.0 technologies such as machine vision, AI or digital twins. A digital twin is one of the key Industry 4.0 technologies. It can be defined as a virtual replica of a physical system updated with actual sensing information and simulated in synchronism with its physical counterpart. Digital twins can provide deep insight in the behavior and condition of machines. The creation of a digital twin involves properly determining its requirements, creating high fidelity simulation models, coupling with rich sensor data streams from the physical machine and time-critical execution on an edge or cloud platform.

As digital twins are a new and promising concept in mechatronics, we have opened a vacancy for a strategic and challenging PhD position with the topic ‘Digital Twins for Mechatronic Applications based on CAD, AI and Vision’ under the supervision of Prof. Jeroen De Kooning and Prof. Kurt Stockman. In this PhD, it is our intention to start from a CAD model of an industrial application, and upgrade it to a digital twin by combining a motion simulation with vision data. Open research questions are how to construct the application architecture to realize this digital twin, how to integrate software modules for parameter identification and (vision) data processing, how to distribute the computational load between real-time and non-real-time processes, and how to use the digital twin to realize an added value to the human. In the past years, the research group in Kortrijk has built up critical expertise and laboratory infrastructure to support this PhD.

You will work in the mechatronics research group at the campus Kortrijk. The initial contract duration will be one year. The contract can be extended to a full 4 year PhD research period under the condition of a positive evaluation. You are expected to publish your research in scientific journals and to present your results on international conferences. Ghent University offers an attractive salary with additional benefits, a positive and inspiring working environment and numerous training possibilities.

Job profile

You have a master degree in engineering, preferably in electromechanical, electrical, automation or control engineering. You are motivated, creative and have a passion for research. You have an affinity with both experimental research and simulation software. You must be sufficiently fluent in writing and speaking in English. You will work in a positive and international environment where a constructive collaboration with other researchers is expected. We expect you to be a team-player and a good communicator.

How to apply

Send your CV and motivation letter to including ‘Digital Twin PhD’ in the subject of your e-mail. Please include contact details of two referees. If you pass the pre-selection, you will receive further instructions on the selection process and will be invited for a job interview, possibly via Teams.

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