KU Leuven

Junior Professor in Mechanical Engineering: Digitisation for Smart Operations and Maintenance of Machines

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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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(ref. ZAP-2021-112)

KU Leuven has a fixed-term (5 year) junior professor vacancy in the field of Mechanical Engineering at Campus Bruges (95% appointment as professor) and is looking for internationally orientated candidates with an excellent education and research record in the field of design, monitoring and management of mechatronic systems. More specifically, this vacancy focuses on the opportunities offered by the Industry 4.0 context at the machine level, with a specific focus on digitisation and the availability of new data streams, both experimental and model-based, as well as their processing via digital twins. The candidate will be the driving force behind the new advanced master's program Smart Operations and Maintenance in Industry and therefore, in addition to a strong research file, also possess excellent teaching competences. The successful candidate will be appointed in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Faculty of Engineering Technology of the Science, Engineering and Technology Group at KU Leuven, and will be located at Campus Bruges. The research activities will be embedded in the Mechatronics Research Group (M-Group, https://iiw.kuleuven.be/brugge/m-group) located there. Research activities of the M-Group focus on the design, development and validation of dependable interconnected mechatronic systems. The M-Group consists of professors from the Departments of Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and operates in a truly interdisciplinary environment. Within the Department of Mechanical Engineering, the research is linked to the activities of the Mecha(tro)nic System Dynamics (LMSD) research division (https://www.mech.kuleuven.be/lmsd). With its activities, the LMSD division aims to create added value during each phase of the life cycle of mechanical and mechatronic systems, by understanding, monitoring and controlling their dynamic behaviour. Core concepts here are Model-Based System Engineering (MBSE) and Digital Twins. The M-group as well as the LMSD division build upon solid research infrastructure, an extensive regional, national and international network, and connections with companies and non-profit organisations in Belgium and abroad.

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You will develop a research programme at an international level in the field of machine design, monitoring and management focussing on the individual components of a machine fleet or production line.  You will focus in particular on advanced digitisation concepts within industry 4.0. Focus lines are data- and model-based digital twins and their application in the monitoring of the operational behaviour of machines, as well as the use of the obtained insights in optimised management and maintenance of machines. Another core theme is the retrofitting/upgrading of traditional mechanical installations, to enable their integration in the industry 4.0 digital environment. You work with an application-oriented mindset and gear your research programme to the scientific state-of-the-art in this field on the one hand and the needs of the industry on the other. You use both experimental and modelling techniques in the development of your research activities, and focus on the synergy and/or integration of experimental and numerical data streams for dynamic machine-oriented applications. It is important that you make full use of the possibilities of the innovation labs "The Industry 4.0 Machine as Cyber-Physical System" and "The Ultimate Factory" (https://iiw.kuleuven.be/brugge/m-group/laboratories). Also the existing LMSD infrastructure related to Digital Twins can support the research (https://www.mech.kuleuven.be/en/mod/research/virtual-sensing).

As an expert in your field, you will strengthen existing research lines both within the M-Group at Bruges Campus and within the Mecha(tro)nic System Dynamics (LMSD) research division of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. You work in close collaboration with and as a core member of both entities and strive for maximum complementarity within both environments when developing your research programme.

You engage in targeted scientific research, resulting in PhD’s and publications that meet international standards and lead to broad international recognition, and support the development of a network of (international) academic as well as industrial organisations, a.o. through the valorisation of research results and by delivering industrial services, aimed at strengthening industrial innovation.


The candidate will be the driving force behind the new advanced master's program Smart Operations and Maintenance in Industry that KU Leuven is developing together with UGent and will be taught for the first time in 2023-2024. In addition to the general coordination of the study program (KU Leuven is the coordinating university), the candidate will also actively contribute to teaching basic and in-depth optional courses on the topics of Digital Twin, Smart Factory Design, Monitoring & Prognostics and Operations & Maintenance. The candidate also contributes to the educational program by maintaining contacts with the industrial field involved as well as by setting up and supervising master's theses.

In addition, the candidate also supports education in the bachelor's and master's programs in Engineering Technology in the fields of mechanical engineering, machine design and mechatronics.

You develop your teaching in accordance with KU Leuven’s views on activating and researched-based education and make use of the possibilities for educational professionalisation offered by the faculty and the university.


You are prepared to provide scientific, social and internal services in function of the needs and personal interests.

You are willing to perform applied research projects in collaboration with industry and government and to establish a network of industrial partners.

You are actively involved in promoting the Faculty of Engineering Technology to future students and participate in information and public relations activities of the faculty.


You have a PhD in Mechanical Engineering, or a similarly qualified degree, and have teaching and research experience in a field related to design, monitoring and management of machines in an industry 4.0 context.

You have the ambition to be the principal coordinator of the advanced master's program Smart Operations and Maintenance in Industry and to contribute to the valorisation of research within industry and society.

Industrial experience, an extensive network in the relevant industrial sector and/or a strong track record of collaborations with industry as well as teaching experience in relevant topics are a plus.

You have a combined teaching and research profile. The quality of your research is evidenced by publications in leading international journals, books and proceedings of international conferences. You have demonstrable qualities related to academic education. International experience is an important advantage.

You possess organisational skills and have a cooperative attitude. You also possess leadership capacities within a university context.

Proficiency in English is required. However, KU Leuven provides courses in academic English if such appears necessary.

The official administrative language used at KU Leuven is Dutch. If you do not speak Dutch (or do not speak it well) at the start of your 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 resp. English to the required standard.


We offer a fixed-term (5 year) part-time employment at the assistant professor level 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 focused on interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research and strives for international excellence. In this regard, the university actively works together with research partners in Belgium and abroad and provides its students with an academic education that is based on high-quality scientific research. Recently, KU Leuven has been selected as one of the 10 most innovative universities in the world.

You will become a member of the M-Goup on Bruges Campus and the Department of Mechanical Engineering, division LMSD, both inspiring and dynamic environments with strong international reputations.  To facilitate scientific onboarding and accelerate research in the first phase, a starting grant of 100.000 Euro is offered to new professors without substantial other funding.

You will work and teach at the KU Leuven Bruges Campus, a young and dynamic environment within a historic city with a seaport and modern industrial activities. Because of its location, Bruges Campus offers very direct access to train connections to Leuven (approx. 1.5 hours). Brussels, capital of the European Union (50 min), and Paris, London and Amsterdam (approx. 3 hours) are also easily accessible.

KU Leuven welcomes foreign professors and their family and provides practical support with regard to immigration & administration, housing, childcare, learning Dutch, partner career coaching, …


For more information on the contents of the job, please contact:

* Prof. Dr. Ir. David Moens, vice-chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering (david.moens@kuleuven.be, tel. +32 16 37 28 79) or

* Prof. Dr. Ir. Pieter Rauwoens, chair of Bruges Campus (pieter.rauwoens@kuleuven.be, tel. +32 50 66 48 33)

If you have problems submitting your application online, please send an email to solliciteren@kuleuven.be.

Add to your application following documents in English (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 realisations;

- an extensive cv including a full publication list;

- 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 4 pages);

- your vision on academic education and its organisation (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 places great importance on research integrity and ethical conduct and will therefore ask you to sign an integrity statement upon appointment.

You can apply for this job no later than February 22, 2022 via the online application tool

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 Mechanical Engineering: Digitisation for Smart Operations and Maintenance of Machines
Oude Markt 13 Leuven, Belgium
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