Last application date: open until the vacancy is filled
Department: TW06 – Department of Electronics and Information Systems
Contract: Limited duration
Degree: Master of Science in Computer Science Engineering, Master of Science in Mathematics, Master of Science in Informatics, Master of Science in Computer Science, or similar
Occupancy rate: 100%
Vacancy type: PhD scholarship

Job description

For centuries data about our history and heritage has been kept secure by institutions such as museums, archives, and libraries. Today this data is very often kept in its original, fragile physical form e.g., books, paintings, herbariums, old tapes, newspapers, etc. If you want to join our team in opening up this data and to proving its relevance today, this job description might be for you!

For this position we are looking for a motivated candidate for a PhD student position (1 year + 3 more years after positive evaluation) in the areas of applied AI, Computer Vision, and FAIR data.

The research group of prof. Steven Verstockt and prof. Dieter De Witte focuses on conducting Applied AI projects. Various domains are covered but currently heritage, media and sports are the focus, within a team of 10 researchers. The applicant will work on 1-2 funded projects at the same time. The projects are a collaboration with companies and government agencies. The PhD student will translate the innovative work in scientific output (presentations, research papers) which should lead to a PhD.

The work of the group can be explored on our team page: S-Team, more specifically the following projects are of interest:

  • DATA-KBR-BE: a search engine (text & images) was built to search old, scanned newspaper archives at KBR.
  • UGESCO: a geo app was developed together with RouteYou to generate trips through heritage POIs fitting a certain theme (e.g., the ‘Swiss’ route through Ghent).
  • FAME: a face recognition search engine to detect famous people in the media archives of Meemoo.
  • DiSSCo: a FAIR research infrastructure to digitally explore biocollections such as botanical collections (plants).

The research group is embedded in IDLab (Internet & Data Lab), a computer science engineering research group consisting of over 400 researchers of different nationalities. The group is located on the technology campus in Zwijnaarde. IDLab is part of Ghent University, one of the major universities in Belgium, ranked in the top 100 of both academic rankings.

The main project is the HENSOR project, which is a long-term collaboration with RMFAB (Royal Museums of Fine Arts Brussels), funded by Belspo. Here, the goal of the project is to help with the digital transformation of the museum to have (i) semi-automatic enrichment of the artworks using computer vision and AI and (ii) publish the generated data as FAIR data. Typical examples of enrichment include pose estimation, scene analysis, object detection and recognition, etc.

As an applied AI group developing demonstrators is a raison d’être. An example is the Altar Piece demonstrator which enriches the painting with the actual botanical information.

During this PhD project the researcher will also build a social network both locally in the Flemish data community and the federal research institutions (KBR, KIK, RMAH, etc.) as well as internationally by presenting in scientific conferences.

You will be part of a team of PhD students responsible for supervising the PC labs of our courses.

Job profile

Job profile


  • A master’s degree with a strong focus on ICT (e.g., Master of Science in Computer Science Engineering, Master of Science in Informatics, Master of Science in Computer Science, or similar).
  • Python experience
  • Demonstrable expertise in at least one of the topics relevant for this role: AI, FAIR, Computer Vision

Recommended skills:

  • Experience with Web technologies.
  • An initial experience with relevant Deep Learning libraries is a strong plus.
  • Knowledge of cloud-based AI services.
  • Semantic Web technologies.


  • An outstanding result for your master thesis is a plus.
  • Scientific publications or presentations are a plus as well.
  • Knowledge/experience with topics that are currently being researched by our team: GANs, pose estimation, IIIF framework, interactive learning, image segmentation, reasoning, and taxonomies for art collections, mapping technologies, etc.


  • You are a team player with good networking and reporting skills.
  • Decent (scientific) presentation skills.
  • You can communicate with peers and supervise master students.
  • You have a hands-on / can-do attitude.
  • Your English reading/writing/speaking are up to par with the scientific community. If not you are willing to work on this as a requirement of your Y1-evaluation.
  • You will be encouraged to improve your speaking skills in Dutch (non-native speakers).
  • You are eager to learn both at the scientific level and at the technological level. Having a ‘growth mindset’ is more useful than being the perfect match from day one.

    Note that this list of skills is a wish list from our side, it is used to rank candidates in a transparent way. If you think you are a suitable candidate don’t hesitate to apply!

What we offer

  • A 100% PhD Scholarship (1+3, coupled with a positive evaluation after Y1).
  • Full-time employment has 36 days of holiday leave.
  • A pleasant work climate and collegial atmosphere in an international and interdisciplinary research team.
  • Weekly (at least) contact with your colleagues and supervisors to share your knowledge, discuss the problems you might have, and collaborate on a solution.
  • Optional social activities are typically organized by the team members and supported by the lab.
  • You will be allowed to travel abroad (conferences) to communicate your scientific breakthroughs.
  • A huge training offering (Doctoral Schools) that supports you during your PhD and prepares you for your future career.
  • Bicycle allowance, benefits regarding public transport.
  • Webpage with Ugent benefits (Dutch).
  • We offer valuable and unique datasets for you to make them more accessible and more valuable.
  • Above all we offer you a job that will make your profile very much in demand from future employers.

How to apply

For all your questions regarding the job or the procedure feel free to reach out to Dieter De Witte at:

  • Send your CV and cover letter to Dieter De Witte.
  • Send us a GitHub handle and a reference repo to review your technical skills, alternatively a zip file is also accepted.
  • An overview of the study results for the most relevant courses and final mark of the master’s degree.
  • Your email caption is: “Application: ”
  • Provide 3 references (contact details are sufficient)
  • Deadline: we will review applications on a rolling basis, with a monthly batch, meaning we will review the applications before December 1, January 1, etc. This will continue until we find a valid candidate.

A limited number of applicants will be invited for a job interview (live or video call)

Everybody is welcome to apply: Ghent University maintains an equal opportunities and diversity policy, so we encourage applications from qualified individuals from all backgrounds. Want to have a better understanding of the team, have a look at the staff page of IDLab.

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