PhD Position in Risk-Based EMC for Safer Autonomous Systems
Catholic University of Leuven

The research group M-Group (Mechatronics Group) of KU Leuven, and more specifically the hardware dependability lab, aims at increasing the resilience of Electrical/Electronic/Programmable Electronic (E/E/PE) systems in mechatronic applications. The M-Group research group is a multidisciplinary team of hardware and software engineers and doctoral researchers, with research fields in the dependable and sustainable performance of systems where automation, electronics, signal processing and ICT play a role. The research group currently consists of 5 professors, 3 postdoctoral researchers and over 20 research assistants or PhD students and is based at the brand-new KU Leuven Bruges Campus. Here, the research team can make use of state-of-the-art research equipment and infrastructure to perform tests on embedded software, embedded systems or on communication devices. Furthermore, the available infrastructure allows the PhD students and research assistants to design and develop robust and dependable design techniques for hardware or software. The research group has be successful in acquiring prestigious funding such as H2020, Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions and national funding (FWO, imec.ICON,...). For years, the research group maintains a close collaboration with other research groups inside and outside from KU Leuven (imec.Distrinet, Fraunhofer,...).


In this vacancy the PhD student will investigate and develop dedicated hardware hardening techniques to develop autonomous systems which are inherently resilient for Electromagnetic Interference (EMI). The aim is to develop systems which are inherently resilient to EMI and can continue to work in a safe manner. More concretely, the focus will be on the so-called "PCB Shelter Technique". The research on the PCB Shelter Technique aims at hardening critical components by obtaining overall shielding effectiveness of >80 dB up to at least 40 GHz. The technique will combine waveguide-under-cutoff techniques to cover the critical components with a Board Level Shield on a Printed Circuit Board (PCB) with the use of high-spec PCB-level filters for all PCB traces that need to go in and out of the board level shield. This work compliments and continues on previous and ongoing PhD projects in the research group.

For this vacancy, we are looking for an enthusiastic employee with ambitions to pursue a PhD in this topic who shows a dynamic and pro-active attitude towards research and industry.  

Overall project description:

Autonomous systems (autonomous mobile robots, cars, drones, off-road vehicles, etc.) can bring tremendous advancement for people and businesses. A crucial concern for such systems is safety. While most studies today focus on reliable sensors and perception, and actuators and control, this new project ‘SAFETEE’ aims for a vertical, in-depth study of a full-stack computing platform. In SAFETEE, we will study with 5 PhD students and one PostDoc:

  • a systematic approach for gathering safety requirements;
  • a decision making approach for autonomous systems (the ‘brain’) that verifiably guarantees safe decision making;
  • a safe and secure reactive processing platform and middleware with formally verified scheduling mechanisms and latency guarantees;
  • error recovery algorithms e.g. in case of bit flips; (this vacancy)
  • approaches for enhanced reliable hardware under harsh environmental conditions, with a specific focus in electromagnetic interference.
This unique combination of interacting aspects of a safety-aware platform is highly innovative and appealing to both research and industry. A real case study with autonomous mobile robots will act as a driving force for this research.


For this vacancy, we are looking for an enthusiastic employee with ambitions to pursue a PhD in this topic who shows a dynamic and pro-active attitude towards research and industry.  

  • You have a Master Degree in Engineering, preferably Electronics, Electrical Engineering or Mechatronics
  • You have a large interest in high-tech electronics, electromagnetics and various autonomous systems. Experience in or knowledge on electromagnetic compatibility a plus.
  • You show pro-active attitude into communication with other research partners or industry
  • You have good communication skills
  • You have a critical mindset and are able to analyse research results in a comprehensive way
  • You can work autonomous and independent with regular updates of your progress to your supervisors


  • The ability to work in a state-of-the-art topic in a brand new campus at Bruges with state-of-the-art equipment and laboratories
  • A young and dynamic work environment where human contacts and professionalism are very important.  KU Leuven is one of the world's most innovative universities.
  • Building up a network of industrial partners and consultancy companies in the sector.
  • A position for 1 year, funding is available to extend further after positive evaluation
  • Opportunity to start PhD research in the Faculty of Engineering Technology at KU Leuven, to obtain a PhD after a successful trajectory
  • Other working conditions can be found at


For more information please contact Prof. dr. ir. Davy Pissoort, tel.: +32 50 66 48 49, mail: or Dr. Dries Vanoost, tel.: +32 50 66 48 88, mail:

You can apply for this job no later than September 30, 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: Brugge
  • Apply before: September 30, 2020
  • Tags: Industriële Ingenieurswetenschappen

If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Computeroxy


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