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/Job opportunities/PhD researcher in Auralization for Extended Reality Applications

PhD researcher in Auralization for Extended Reality Applications

PhD - Gent | More than two weeks ago

The PhD will be oriented towards the development of the auralization engine, starting with the implementation of state-of-the-art algorithms such as wave field synthesis (WFS), higher order ambisonics (HOA) and graphical beam tracking for AR.

IDLab, Gent University, imec, Belgium

IDLab is a core research group of imec, a world-leading research and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technologies, with research activities at Ghent University. IDLab performs fundamental and applied research on data science and internet technology, and is, with over 300 researchers, one of the larger research groups at imec. Our major research areas are machine learning and data mining; semantic intelligence; multimedia processing; distributed intelligence for IoT; cloud and big data infrastructures; wireless and fixed networking; electromagnetics, RF and high-speed circuits and systems.
The activities of the PhD position are embedded in this stimulating environment and include data-efficient machine learning (or surrogate modeling), active learning, Bayesian optimization, etc. with applications in computer aided design (CAD; design optimization and the design and analysis of computer experiments), automatic machine learning (AutoML), etc.

What will you do 

MusiXR is an interdisciplinary research project aimed at developing and studying realistic musical concert experiences in extended reality (XR, encompassing virtual, augmented, and mixed reality). The project focuses on improving the simulation of room acoustics in XR musical environments (cf. ‘auralization’), in combination with obtaining a better understanding of the behaviour, cognition, and emotion of users (musicians and listeners) engaged in such XR music concert experiences.
The PhD will be oriented towards the development of the auralization engine, starting with the implementation of state-of-the-art algorithms such as wave field synthesis (WFS), higher order ambisonics (HOA) and graphical beam tracking for AR. This state-of-the-art implementation will be used to simulate different music concert scenarios in order to study the feeling of ‘presence’ (this work will be carried out by another PhD student embedded in the humanities department). The feedback/quantification of presence should, in a second stage, be fed back to the auralization engine to improve user immersion.
The research will be conducted in the Art and Science Interaction Lab (ASIL) at Ghent University ( The ASIL is a lively interdisciplinary research facility, equipped with, amongst others, an 88-speaker 3D setup (IOSONO), an advanced motion capture system, EEG/fNIRS systems, movement and physiological sensors, and wireless VR technologies.  

The project is supervised by Prof. Pieter-Jan Maes and dr. ir. Bart Moens (both from IPEM, UGent), and Prof. Nilesh Madhu (from IDLab, UGent).

What we do for you

  • A collaborative, full-time (interdisciplinary) PhD scholarship for 4 years (coupled to a yearly positive evaluation) at Ghent University.
  • A pleasant work climate and collegial atmosphere in the center of Ghent (De Krook), in an international and interdisciplinary research team (IPEM and IDLab).
  • Support by experienced (international) researchers.
  • Competitive remuneration.

Further, all Ghent University staff members enjoy a number of benefits, such as a wide range of training and education opportunities, 35 days of holiday leave (on an annual basis for a full-time job) supplemented by annual fixed bridge days, a bicycle allowance and eco vouchers. 

Who you are

Required qualifications:

  • An academic Master’s degree or equivalent (at the time of starting the PhD), in any of the following branches of engineering: Electrical/Computer, Acoustics, Signal Processing, Communications, Artificial Intelligence.
  • A good knowledge of digital signal processing.
  • Fluency in high-level programming languages (C/C++) and some experience with Python and/or Matlab.
  • Excellent communication skills and proficiency in written and oral English.

Welcome (but not essential):

  • Experience in C# and Unity.  
  • rior experience with audio reproduction and/or GPU programming (a big plus).
  • Interest in music.

Soft skills: 

  • A problem-solving attitude and the ability to take initiative and work independently to deliver high-quality research is essential for a successful completion of the project. 
  • Since this is an interdisciplinary project, we also expect the candidates to be capable of critical self-reflection, demonstrate an eagerness to learn, and be a team-player.


Applications are welcome until January 15, 2021. The application package should contain a CV (and overview of the study results), an application/motivation letter, and copy of the obtained degree(s) (in the case of those who have already obtained their degrees, or expected date of graduation in the case of those finishing their masters).  
The application package may be mailed to Nilesh Madhu ( and/or Bart Moens (
We are relatively flexible on the starting date, but we expect the successful candidate to start no later than April 2021 (of course, this is subject to the existing COVID-19 situation at the time).

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