PhD student to perform research in the field of computer vision and machine learning

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  • Published date: March 5, 2021
    • 9000 Gent, Belgium

Doctoral fellow Employment category Doctoral fellow
Contract Limited duration
Degree MSc in computer science, applied mathematics, (bioscience) engineering
Vacancy Type Research staff
The KERMIT research group of the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering at Ghent University has a vacancy for a PhD student to perform research in the field of computer vision and machine learning. The research group is part of the Department of Data analysis and Mathematical Modelling and has a broad expertise in the theory and methods of machine learning, image processing & computer vision and mathematical modeling in the field of bioscience engineering (
We are searching for a candidate with a background in computer science, applied mathematics or (bioscience) engineering. The candidate will perform academic research in preparation of a doctoral dissertation. The subject will deal with the development of computer vision methods for the analysis of biological populations, with an initial focus on the development of methods for the analysis of the social behavior of farm animals. In most studies on animal behavior, time-consuming, manual scoring of behavior remains the default approach. In this research project, we aim to develop novel computer vision methods that can automate this process. We will approach this problem from two different angles: (1) from the point of view of applied computer vision (development of object detectors, pose estimation procedures etc. where deep learning methods will be the primary tools); and (2) from a more theoretical data-processing point of view where we focus on the development of algorithms that can infer social structures from the processed image data such as herd hierarchies (the focus here will be on the development and analysis of algorithms that can infer these social structures and cope with the noise that is inherent to video-derived features).
You will need to write down the results in scientific articles and a PhD thesis. Additionally, you will assist in teaching activities of the courses in statistics or the preparation of research proposals (max. 20%). The exact start date of the position is negotiable, preferably as soon as possible but no later than 01/08/2021.
• We offer a position for 1 year. In case of positive annual evaluations, the position can be extended up to a maximum of 4 years.
• An exciting research environment, working on the intersection between theory and application in the multi-disciplinary research environment of the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering at Ghent University.
• A Ph.D. title in Bioscience Engineering (after approximately 4 years of successful research).
• The possibility to participate in international conferences and collaborations.
Profile of the candidate
• You have a relevant academic master's degree computer science, applied mathematics, (bioscience) engineering, or a closely related field) with excellent grades (“distinction” on average). Candidates that will graduate soon (before the ultimate starting date 01/08/2021) are also encouraged to apply.
• You are interested in the theory of computer vision and data analysis, as well as practical applications. Background or experience in computational statistics and spatial(-temporal) modelling is an asset but not necessary.
• You have some background in scientific programming. You at least have a working knowledge of a dominant language for scientific programming (Python, R, Julia, etc.)
• Prior knowledge on image processing and/or machine learning is encouraged but not necessary.
• Image processing libraries such as OpenCV and deep learning frameworks will be used extensively. Experience with these libraries is encouraged but not necessary.
• You take initiative in searching for new research ideas.
• You are not afraid to be critical about your own work.
• You are interested in obtaining a PhD degree in Bioscience Engineering.
• Highly motivated, hardworking, flexible, able to face complex issues and you have an appropriate problem-solving attitude.
• Able to take on responsibilities, work independently but also as part of an interdisciplinary research team.
• You have mastered the English language, both in writing skills and oral presentations.
• Strong communication and interpersonal skills.
Apply by e-mail to before the application deadline (see above). We do not accept late applications or applications that are not complete. Your application must include the following documents:
• Professional resume (CV) named as: CV_”family name”
• Motivation letter named as: MotivationLetter_”Family name”
• Diploma and transcripts of records (BSc and MSc) named as: Transcripts_”family name”
• Full contact details (Name, address, telephone & email) of at least 1 professional referee.

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Ruth Van den Driessche
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