KU Leuven

Junior Professor in Synergistic Processing of Multisensory Data for Audio-Visual Understanding

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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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In the Science, Engineering and Technology Group of KU Leuven, Faculty of Engineering Science, Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT), research group PSI (Processing of Speech and Images), there is a full-time tenure-track academic vacancy in the field of synergistic processing of multisensory data for audio-visual understanding. We are looking for internationally oriented candidates with an excellent research record and with educational competencies in the field of the vacancy. The successful applicant will be appointed in the ESAT-PSI research group, which conducts fundamental and application-oriented research into image and speech processing. The last decade has seen a paradigm shift towards data-driven modeling and automatic pattern recognition through machine learning based on large amounts of data. ESAT-PSI is in the fortunate position to have both speech and image processing expertise as well as machine learning capabilities within the same research group. This multi-disciplinary configuration is quite exceptional, even internationally. ESAT-PSI wants to leverage this strength in full by defining a specific professorship at the interface of spoken language understanding, computer vision and machine learning.
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For a long time, the semantic level at which speech interpretation was operating could not be matched by vision. Deep learning has brought about a major change in that situation. Images can now be understood semantically to a degree not achievable until recently. Deep learning models for speech, text and image processing are trained on massive amounts of data. While they are useful in many applications and show impressive results in many benchmarks, they fall short in human-like understanding and reasoning. This failure can be attributed to their monomodal learning paradigms. Since humans learn their internal representations from multisensory data, including audition, vision, touch and smell, it is not surprising that monomodal models cannot exhibit human-like reasoning and intelligence.
Hence, we want to strengthen our research by investigating multimodal models for audio-visual understanding in which at least speech and vision are combined, the two dominant information sources in human communication and intelligence development. This line of research will generate impact in various applications such as human-machine interaction, including self-driving vehicles and robots, augmented reality, and semantic audio-visual document retrieval. To address these challenges, we are looking for a promising candidate with a background in spoken language recognition and understanding, reaching out to the image processing expertise at ESAT-PSI to build the next generation of multimodal models trained from the massive amounts of audio-visual data.
  • You will build a research group at international level with a methodological focus on multimodal models for audio-visual understanding. 
  • You conduct your research in synergy with other researchers of ESAT-PSI and the Department: you bring in and further develop complementary expertise. 
  • You will supervise PhD students in electrical engineering science, attract competitive research funding and publish internationally in renowned journals and conferences in the stated research domain. 
  • You strive for excellence in your research, develop international collaborations within the field of the appointment and thus contribute to strengthening the scientific reputation of the department.


  • You ensure high-quality education in the bachelor and/or master programs of the Faculty of Engineering or other Faculties in basic or advanced courses related to the field of the research, with a clear commitment to the quality of the program as a whole. 
  • You also contribute to the pedagogical project of the Faculty and the University by supervising bachelor, master and doctoral students.
  • You develop your teachings in accordance with KU Leuven s vision on activating and researched-based education and make use of the possibilities for the educational professionalization offered by the Faculty and the University.


In addition to research and education-related tasks, you are expected to take on administrative, organizational or promotional tasks within the research division, Department and Faculty, as well as tasks of more general scientific and societal service.


  • You have a PhD in (Electrical) Engineering where the subject of your doctoral thesis relates to the research field.
  • You have a strong profile with extensive research experience at postgraduate level in the field of this vacancy. The quality of your research is apparent from publications in leading international journals and conferences, from proven interdisciplinary and international collaborations and from acquired national and international research funding.
  • You have demonstrable qualities related to academic education. Teaching experience is an advantage.
  • You possess organizational skills and have a cooperative attitude. You also possess leadership capacities within a university context.
  • A good command of English is required. KU Leuven provides courses in academic English.
The official language used at KU Leuven is Dutch. If you do not speak Dutch (or do not speak it well) at the start of employment, KU Leuven will provide language training to enable you to take part in meetings.
Before teaching courses in Dutch or English, you will be given the opportunity to learn Dutch, respectively English, to the required standard.


  • We are offering full-time employment 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 inter- and multidisciplinary focused and strives for international excellence. In this regard, we actively work together with research partners in Belgium and abroad, and we provide our students with an academic education that is based on high-quality scientific research.
  • You will work in Heverlee near Leuven, a historic, dynamic and lively city located in the heart of Belgium, within 20 minutes from Brussels, the capital of the European Union, and less than two hours from Paris, London and Amsterdam. 
  • You will be appointed as tenure-track assistant professor. Tenure and promotion to associate professor can be obtained after 5 years, after positive evaluation and after having acquired the B2 language attestation in Dutch.
  • KU Leuven is well set to welcome foreign professors and their family and provides practical support with regard to immigration & administration, housing, childcare, learning Dutch, partner career coaching, &  
  • To facilitate scientific onboarding and accelerate research in the first phase a starting grant of 110.000 euro is offered to new professors without substantial other funding, appointed for at least 50%."


For more information on the contents of the function, please contact:
" Prof. dr. ir. Georges Gielen, chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT), tel. +32-16-324076, e-mail: georges.gielen@kuleuven.be
" Prof. dr. ir. Frederik Maes, head of the research group ESAT-PSI, tel. +32-16-349025, e-mail: frederik.maes@kuleuven.be
You can submit your application only through our online application system. If you have problems submitting your application online, please send a message to solliciteren@kuleuven.be.
Add to your application the following documents (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 realizations;
" an extensive cv including a full publication list and if applicable a portfolio of your architectural projects;
" 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 5 pages);
" your vision on academic education and its organization (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 is committed to creating a diverse environment and is therefore an equal opportunity employer. It explicitly encourages candidates from groups that are currently underrepresented at the university to submit their applications.
KU Leuven places great importance on research integrity and ethical conduct and will therefore ask you to sign an integrity statement upon appointment.

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

Junior Professor in Synergistic Processing of Multisensory Data for Audio-Visual Understanding
Oude Markt 13 Leuven, Belgium
Application deadline
2023-09-29 23:59
Job type
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About the employer

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

Visit the employer page