PhD position – Automated insect recognition combining novel sensing technologies with artificial intelligence for smart ecosystem monitoring

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven


July 17, 2022


PhD position – Automated insect recognition combining novel sensing

technologies with artificial intelligence for smart ecosystem monitoring

(ref. BAP-2022-418)

Last modification : Thursday, June 16, 2022

The MeBioS group performs groundbreaking research on innovative sensor technologies and the associated data analysis methods to understand and control the quality of biological products and processes. Within the Biophotonics group of MeBioS, sensor research focusses on optical systems in different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, including Vis/NIR spectroscopy, THz spectroscopy and imaging, hyperspectral imaging, thermography and smart cameras. The associated data research involves the optimal design of experiments, chemometrics, process monitoring and control, as well as artificial intelligence and deep learning.

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Recent studies show that worldwide about 15% ofcrops are lost due to pest insects. Besides agriculture, the rapididentification of harmful insects is also of great importance for preventingthe spread of human diseases such as malaria and zika. A sensor system thatallows for the rapid identification of flying insects is currently lacking, andidentification of insects is mainly based on counting insects on specializedtraps. This procedure is subjective and time consuming. As a result, it is onlyperformed on a weekly basis, and at a limited number of locations. Therefore, arapid system for insect detection would be highly valuable.

In the MeBioS division basic research has beenperformed towards the development of sensing technologies for insectrecognition. We mainly focus on image analysis and analysing wingbeatsignatures with a focus on pest insects in the fruit and vegetable productionsector. To this end, we collaborate with multiple partners in Flanders andbeyond to bring together all required expertise. We have alreadyproven that under laboratory conditions similar species can bedistinguished. We now want to performresearch into (1) more advanced set-ups that could potentially further improve classificationresults; (2) robust systems, both from a hardware as from a software point ofview, that allow to measure accurately in-field, (3) data analytics thatcombine information from multiple sources and (4) lay the basis for a sensornetwork that is remotely accessible.


Toperform this research, the MeBioS Biophotonics group is looking for a highlymotivated PhD candidate with an interest in technology and biology. Do you holda master in (bioscience) engineering, computer science, data science orphysics? Do you have a creative, critical, analytical and innovative mindset? Areyou eager to combine scientific knowledge and challenges with hands-onexperience in designing an automated trap – hardware as well as software? Doyou have excellent oral and written communication skills in English? Then youmay be the perfect candidate to join our team. Experience in one or more of following fields is a clear plus: image analysis, optics, time- frequencyanalysis, deep learning, programming in Matlab or Python (e.g. PyTorch or Tensorflow), experience with Linux.

  • We offer a full-time PhD position for 1 year. After positive evaluation, the contract can be extended to 4 years.
  • Excellent guidance by our young, dynamic and multidisciplinary team.
  • State of the art research infrastructure.
  • A challenging job in a young, dynamic environment.
  • High level scientific training at a top-ranked university.
  • Being part of a world-class research group.
  • Remuneration according to the KU Leuven salary scales (https: // www.
  • Interested?

    For more information please contact Dr. ir. Bart De Ketelaere, tel.: +32 16 32 85 93, mail: or Prof. dr. ir. Wouter Saeys, tel.: +32 16 32 85 27, mail:

    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

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