PhD Position in Microphones and Algorithms for Non-invasive Human Cardio-respiratory Monitoring

Catholic University of Leuven


The Advanced Integrated Sensing lab (ADVISE, is a research group in Engineering Technology at KU Leuven Campus Geel. The primary focus of ADVISE is on porting new sensing systems and technologies to specific applications. The group may rely on a broad experience in both software (real-time processing, analysis and classification of large multimodal signals) and hardware (design and testing of both PCB and integrated circuit implementations). ADVISE has a staff of 4 professors, 2 post-docs and over 20 PhD students. ADVISE is organized in two sub-groups. The first sub-group focusses on integrated circuits that can be enrolled in extreme circumstances and the second sub-group on automating the interpretation of time-series data (such as acoustic signals).


We are hiring a PhD candidate to participate in the “Plug ’n Patch” personalized VLAIO ICON project that targets an innovative design methodology for medical patches that include customized sensors such as a skin coupled microphone (stethoscope). Innovative comfortable wearable sensors that provide high-quality data are required to monitor persons over a long-time span (e.g. weeks) in order to provide personalized health care. The candidate will focus on initial design and characterization of sensors appropriate for continuous recording of lung and heart sounds from the skin surface. Moreover, the candidate will design appropriate signal processing algorithms to preprocess the data and apply machine learning algorithms to automatically interpret the preprocessed signals. The candidate will do the latter in close collaboration with other researchers that design the machine learning algorithms. Ultimately, a solution is targeted that supports clinicians in improving the prognosis and disease monitoring of persons with cardio-pulmonary diseases. The research will be supported by doctors and biomedical scientists from the Mobile Health Unit (a structural collaboration on mHealth research between UHasselt, Ziekenhuis Oost-Limburg Genk and Jessa Hospital Hasselt) and the companies that are involved in the project. The PhD candidate will be supervised by both prof. Valentijn De Smedt and prof. Peter Karsmakers. 


If you recognize yourself in the story below, then you have the profile that fits the project and the research group.
  • I have a master degree in engineering (technology), physics or mathematics and performed above average in comparison to my peers.
  • I’m proficient in written and spoken English.
  • You are highly interested in the development of medical applications. 
  • You are eager to, in collaboration with persons without an engineering background, to understand the clinical relevance and medical background of the project.
  • During my courses or prior professional activities, I have gathered some basic experience with sensors, electronic design, signal processing, and/or I have a profound interest in these topics.      
  • As a PhD researcher I perform research in a structured and scientifically sound manner. I read technical papers, understand the nuances between different theories and implement and improve methodologies myself. 
  • Based on interactions and discussions with my supervisors and my team colleagues, I set up and update a plan of approach for the upcoming 1 to 3 months to work towards my research goals. I work with a sufficient degree of independence to follow my plan and achieve the goals. I indicate timely when deviations of the plan are required, if goals cannot be met or if I want to discuss intermediate results or issues.
  • In frequent reporting, varying between weekly to monthly, I show the results that I have obtained, and I give a well-founded interpretation of those results. I iterate on my work and my approach based on the feedback of my supervisors which steer the direction of my research.
  • I value being part of a large research community and I am eager to learn how academic research can be linked to industrial innovation roadmaps.
  • During my PhD I want to grow towards following up the project that I am involved in and representing the research group on project meetings or conferences. I see those events as an occasion to disseminate my work to an audience of international experts and research colleagues, and to learn on the larger context of my research and the research project.


  • A remuneration package competitive with industry standards in Belgium, a country with a high quality of life and excellent health care system.
  • A chance to pursue a PhD in Engineering and in Health and Life Sciences, typically a 4 year trajectory, in a stimulating and ambitious research environment.  
  • Ample opportunity to develop yourself in both a scientific or an industrial direction, besides opportunities provided by the research group, further doctoral training for PhD candidates is provided in the framework of the Leuven Arenberg Doctoral School (, known for its strong focus on both future scientists and scientifically trained professionals who will valorise their doctoral expertise and competences in a non-academic context. More information on the training opportunities can be found on the following link: 


To apply for this position, please follow the application tool and enclose:
1.full CV – mandatory
2.motivation letter – mandatory
3.full list of credits and grades of both BSc and MSc degrees (as well as their transcription to English if possible) – mandatory (when you haven’t finished your degree yet, just provide us with the partial list of already available credits and grades)
4.proof of English proficiency (TOEFL, IELTS, …) - if available
5.two reference letters - if available English version of MSc, or of a recent publication or assignment - if available

For more information please contact Prof. dr. ir. Valentijn De Smedt, tel.: +32 14 72 13 10, mail: or Prof. dr. ing. Peter Karsmakers, tel.: +32 14 72 13 58, mail:

You can apply for this job no later than July 20, 2020 via the
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
  • Employment percentage: Voltijds
  • Location: Geel
  • Apply before: July 20, 2020
  • Tags: Industriële Ingenieurswetenschappen

In your application, please refer to