Your job alert was successfully created.
KU Leuven
KU Leuven
KU Leuven is an autonomous university. It was founded in 1425. It was born of and has grown within the Catholic tradition.
Visit employer page
Published: 3 months ago
Application deadline: Nov 30
Location: Leuven, Belgium
Please mention that you found this job on Academic Positions when applying.


(ref. BAP-2018-539)

You will be embedded in the MECO (Motion Estimation Control and Optimization) research team of the KU Leuven Department Mechanical Engineering. The MECO team focusses on the identification, analysis and control of mechatronic systems such as autonomous guided vehicles, robots, and machine tools. It combines theoretical innovations with experimental validations on lab-scale as well as industrial setups. The theoretical research benefits from the team’s expertise on numerical optimization, while MECO’s practical knowhow and industrial collaboration are supported by its participation in Flanders Make - a strategic research center for the manufacturing industry.

Website unit


You will develop cutting-edge optimization algorithms tailored to MPC of mechatronic systems such as robots, electric cars, and CNC production machines.The successful application of MPC to these system hinges upon an effective problem formulation combined with an efficient and robust optimization algorithm. To meet these requirements you will combine and extend recent developments within the MECO research team on spline-based motion planning and numerical optimal control. MECO’s current optimal motion planning research exploits the properties of B-splines to transform the problem into a small-scale nonlinear programming problem (check out to get a flavor). Under the hood, CasADi ( is used as symbolic optimization framework and algorithmic differentiation tool. Through theoretical and methodological innovations you will extend these initial results to general and efficient spline-based MPC approaches, and you will build effective tools for applications such as motion planning for automated guided vehicles on top of these approaches. In addition, efficient numerical implementations of the algorithms in C/C++ are envisaged as well as experimental validations on mechatronic systems.


Ideal candidates hold a Master’s degree in engineering, computer science, or applied mathematics. Successful candidates have typically ranked at or near the top of their classes, have a solid background in optimization and/or control, relevant computer programming skills (Python or Matlab, C++), and enthusiasm for scientific research. Team player mentality, independence, and problem solving attitude are expected, and proficiency in English is a requirement.

Applicants whose mother tongue is neither Dutch nor English must present an official language test report. The acceptable tests are TOEFL, IELTS, and Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) or Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE). Required minimum scores are:

  • TOEFL:600 (paper-based test), 100 (internet-based test);
  • IELTS:7 (only Academic IELTS test accepted);
  • CAE/CPE: gade B or A.

A fully funded PhD position in an international context for four years at the KULeuven: a top European university and a hub for interdisciplinary research in the fields of systems, control and optimization. You will be embedded in the MECO research team of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. The doctoral candidate will work in world-class facilities with highly qualified experts, and will benefit from the training scheme developed based on the expertise of academic and industrial partners. A start date in the course of 2018 or the first semester of 2019 is to be agreed upon.


Please use the online application tool to submit your application and include:
[1]  an academic CV with photo,
[2]  a Pdf of your diplomas and transcript of course work and grades,
[3]  statement of research interests and career goals (max. 2 pages), 
[4]  sample of technical writing (publication or thesis),
[5]  contact details of at least two referees,
[6]  proof of English language proficiency test results.

Deadline:November 30, 2018!

For more information, send an e-mail to Subject of your email should be: “MPC PhD application".

You can apply for this job no later than November 30, 2018 via the online application tool

KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at

Continue reading


KU Leuven
KU Leuven
Location: Leuven, Belgium | Closing on Dec 16
Innovation Manager in the Field of Imaging Technologies
(ref. OZK-2018-101) The lndustrial Research Fund (lOF) of KU Leuven forms a bridge between strategic basic research, technological innovations and industrial collaborations. Based on cooperations with KU Leuven research groups, the University Hospital and different...
KU Leuven
KU Leuven
Location: Leuven, Belgium | Closing on Dec 15
Environmental and Economic Evaluation of Innovative Battery Technologies
(ref. BAP-2018-673) A circular economy requires cross-sector cooperation and optimization in order to extend product life times and reduce environmental impact generated during the production, lifetime and disposal. This complexity calls for holistic approaches that take into...
KU Leuven
KU Leuven
Location: Leuven, Belgium | Closing on Dec 15
Artificial Intelligence for Robotic Disassembly of Electric Car Batteries
(ref. BAP-2018-665) As KU Leuven research group on Life Cycle Engineering of the Department of Mechanical Engineering we have acquired significant experience in de- and remanufacturing of Waste of Electric and Electronic Equipment (WEEE): the dismantling of products into...
KU Leuven
KU Leuven
Location: Leuven, Belgium | Closing on Jan 15
Post-doctoral Researcher - Intra-neuronal Energy Channeling in Central Nervous System Repair
(ref. BAP-2018-672) The Neural Circuit Development and Regeneration Research Group (NCDR), located in the Biology Department at KU Leuven (Belgium) has a strong interest in defining cellular/molecular mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration, neuroinflammation and regeneration...


Belgium has a long history of innovation in science and technology, making it a great place to work and study. Here are some practical things to know before you move to help you quickly settle in.

By Academic Positions
Posted May 25, 2018 at 08:00am

Make sure you’re ready to impress the interviewer with these answers to common interview questions.

By Academic Positions
Posted Nov 09, 2018 at 08:00am

Here’s a breakdown of the most common American job titles and their associated average annual salaries.

By Academic Positions
Posted Nov 13, 2018 at 08:00am