KU Leuven

Professor in Mechanical Engineering, Optimal Control of Intelligent Interconnected Mechatronic Systems

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KU Leuven is an autonomous university. It was founded in 1425. It was born of and has grown within the Catholic tradition.

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(ref. ZAP-2021-113)

KU Leuven has a full-time professor vacancy in the area of Mechanical Engineering and is looking for internationally orientated candidates with an excellent interdisciplinary research record within the field of optimal control of intelligent interconnected mechatronic systems. Targeted applications include, amongst others, Industry 4.0, autonomous systems, mobile robots, and production processes. The candidate should also possess excellent educational competences in Engineering curricula. As a successful applicant you will be appointed in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Faculty of Engineering Technology of KU Leuven. The vacant position is located at Bruges Campus and the research activities will be embedded in the co-located Mechatronics Group (M-Group). Research activities of the M-Group (https://iiw.kuleuven.be/brugge/m-group) focus on the design, development and validation of dependable interconnected mechatronic systems, with dependability being defined as the ability of a system to provide its services in a way that can defensibly be trusted. The M-Group has professors from the Departments of Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Computer Science, and operates in a truly interdisciplinary environment. Current research lines include dependability assurance of mission- and safety-critical systems, fault-tolerant and fail-operational hardware and software, software testing, distributed embedded sensors and sensor networks, marine and hydrogen energy systems and electromagnetic compatibility. The research group can build upon solid research infrastructure, an extensive both national and international network, and connections with companies and non-profit organisations in Belgium and abroad. At the Bruges Campus, the M-Group recently invested in two major innovation labs, respectively “The Industry 4.0 Machine as Cyber-Physical System” and “The Ultimate Factory”. The M-Group is involved in a large number of regional, national and international research projects and it is strongly connected to the technology transfer services of the university. This is realized in cooperation with Flemish as well as European and worldwide research institutes for technology transfer. As one of the 10 most innovative universities in the world, KU Leuven has been very successful in the creation of spin-off companies, illustrating the socio-economic relevance of its research. Many of these spin-off companies are technology leaders within their domain, and their products and services are renowned internationally.

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You develop a research programme at an international level in the area of optimal control of interconnected intelligent mechatronic systems, strongly focussed on applications within Industry 4.0, autonomous systems, systems of systems, mobile robots, and production processes. The optimal control can focus on, amongst others, overall performance, dependability, safety assurance and robustness. It is important that you hereby exploit the full capabilities of the innovation labs “The Industry 4.0 Machine as Cyber-Physical System” and “The Ultimate Factory”.

As an expert in your domain, you strengthen existing research lines and provide complementary expertise. You are prepared to align your research with ongoing research programmes at the M-Group, Bruges Campus.

You engage in targeted scientific research, resulting in PhDs and publications that meet international standards and lead to broad international recognition.

You support or initiate a network of companies through the valorisation of research results and by delivering industrial services, aimed at strengthening industrial innovation.

As part of your research programme, you develop international partnerships, within the academic world as well as with industrial partners.

You are able to acquire competitive funding, both project-based government funding as well as industrial funding. 

You strive for excellence and thus contribute to the continued development of the M-Group and the faculty.

You devote attention to the valorisation tracks and technology transfer and application of the results of your research in industry, government, and society.


You provide high-quality education for both bachelor and master students in the field of mechatronics and mechanical engineering, with a clear commitment to the quality of the programme as a whole. You engage students in courses given to freshman years as well as in advanced years.

You contribute to the faculty’s and the university’s pedagogical project through the supervision of student projects (for example bachelor’s and master’s theses) and by acting as a promotor of PhD students.

You develop your teaching in accordance with KU Leuven’s views on activating and researched-based education and make use of the possibilities for educational professionalisation offered by the faculty and the university.


You are prepared to provide scientific, social and internal services.

You are willing to perform applied research projects in collaboration with industry and government and to establish a network of industrial partners.

You are actively involved in promoting the Faculty of Engineering Technology to future students and participate in information and public relations activities of the faculty.


You have a PhD in Mechanical Engineering, or a similarly qualified degree, and have a strong interest in the research field of optimal control for mechatronic applications within industry, healthcare, logistics, ….

Industrial experience or an extended network in the relevant industrial sector is an important advantage. A strong record with collaborations with industry is a plus.

You have a strong (applied) research profile. The quality of your research is evidenced by publications in leading international journals, books and proceedings of international conferences. Successful project applications and valorisation in cooperation with industry is a benefit. International experience is an important advantage.

You have demonstrable qualities related to academic education. Teaching experience is an advantage.

You possess organisational skills and have a cooperative attitude. You also possess leadership capacities within a university context.

Proficiency in English is required. However, KU Leuven provides courses in academic English if such appears necessary.

The official administrative language used at KU Leuven is Dutch. If you do not speak Dutch (or do not speak it well) at the start of your employment, KU Leuven will provide language training to enable you to take part in meetings and to acquire the level of Dutch that is required for tenure. 

Before teaching courses in Dutch or English, you will be given the opportunity to learn Dutch resp. English to the required standard.


We offer a full-time employment as professor in an intellectually challenging environment.

KU Leuven is a research-intensive, internationally oriented university that carries out both fundamental and applied scientific research. Our university is highly focused on interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research and strives for international excellence. In this regard, the university actively works together with research partners in Belgium and abroad and provides its students with an academic education that is based on high-quality scientific research. Recently, KU Leuven has been selected as one of the 10 most innovative universities in the world. 

At the campus you can have the innovation labs at your disposal concerning the Ultimate Factory and the Ultimate machine, which have been recently installed at our brand new campus.  To facilitate scientific onboarding and accelerate research in the first phase, a starting grant of 100.000 Euro is offered to new professors without substantial other funding, appointed for at least 50%.

You will work and teach at the KU Leuven Bruges Campus, a young and dynamic environment within a historic city with a seaport and modern industrial activities. Bruges has a 70 minutes rail connection to Brussels, capital of the European Union, and about three hours to Paris, London and Amsterdam. 

Depending on your record and qualifications, you will be appointed to or tenured in one of the grades of the senior academic staff: assistant professor, associate professor, professor or full professor. In principle, junior researchers are appointed as assistant professor on the tenure track for a period of 5 years. At the end of this period and a positive evaluation, they are permanently appointed (or tenured) as associate professor.

KU Leuven welcomes foreign professors and their family and provides practical support with regard to immigration & administration, housing, childcare, learning Dutch, partner career coaching, …


For more information on the contents of the job, please contact:

* Prof. Dr. Ir. David Moens, vice-chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering (david.moens@kuleuven.be, tel. +32 16 37 28 79) or

* Prof. Dr. Ir. Pieter Rauwoens, chair of Campus Bruges (pieter.rauwoens@kuleuven.be, tel. +32 50 66 48 33)

If you have problems submitting your application online, please send an email to solliciteren@kuleuven.be.

Add to your application following documents in English (more information is available on the KU Leuven job site):

- your biosketch in which you indicate your added value as an academic for research, education and service to society of your past career and of your future activities (maximum 2 pages);

- a file on your five most important publications or realisations;

- an extensive cv including a full publication list;

- your research plan with focus on the development of your research line and research team in relation with the colleague-researchers of the entity of employment (maximum 4 pages);

- your vision on academic education and its organisation (maximum 2 pages);

- your contribution to society by outreach and public communication on science and technology, internal representation in boards and councils and service activities directly in relation to your developed expertise (maximum 1 page);

- your vision on leadership (maximum 1 page).

KU Leuven places great importance on research integrity and ethical conduct and will therefore ask you to sign an integrity statement upon appointment.

You can apply for this job no later than January 25, 2022 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 diversiteit.HR@kuleuven.be.

Job details

Professor in Mechanical Engineering, Optimal Control of Intelligent Interconnected Mechatronic Systems
Oude Markt 13 Leuven, Belgium
Application deadline
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