Vacancy: PhD researcher in natural language processing & machine learning



We offer the opportunity to do full-time research in an international environment (with over 17 nationalities at IDLab, part of imec and Ghent University), a friendly working environment, and with a competitive salary at Ghent University. The successful candidate will gain excellent data scientist skills, with the direct support and supervision from experienced researchers, and access to extensive computing facilities.


As an applicant for the offered position, you must have obtained a master’s degree in computer science or a closely related area, before joining the PhD program at Ghent University.

In addition, a successful candidate should have:

  • Strong mathematics skills.
  • Proven programming experience (e.g., Python, R, Java; experience with big data platforms is a plus).
  • Knowledge of and a special interest in modern machine learning methods, and data analytics (experience with libraries such as Tensorflow or pytorch is a plus).
  • A background in Natural Language Processing is a strong plus.
  • Strong analytical skills to interpret obtained results.
  • The ability to plan and execute tasks largely independently, committing to deadlines.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English (experience in publishing at international conferences/journals is a plus).

About imec

Imec is a world-leading research and innovation hub in nano-electronics and digital technologies. The combination of our widely acclaimed leadership in microchip technology and profound software and ICT expertise is what makes us unique. By leveraging our world-class infrastructure and local and global ecosystem of partners across a multitude of industries, we create groundbreaking innovation in application domains such as healthcare, smart cities and mobility, logistics and manufacturing, and energy.

As a trusted partner for companies, start-ups and universities we bring together close to 3,500 brilliant minds from over 70 nationalities. Imec is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium and also has distributed R&D groups at a number of Flemish universities, in the Netherlands, Taiwan, USA, China, and offices in India and Japan. All of these particular traits make imec to be a top-class employer. To strengthen this position as a leading player in our field, we are looking for passionate talents that make the difference.

About IDLab at Ghent University

IDLab is a core research group of imec with research activities embedded in Ghent University and University of Antwerp. IDLab performs applied research and development of high speed and densely deployed wireless Internet technologies and data science. IDLab’s research areas cover machine learning and data mining; semantic intelligence; distributed intelligence for IoT; cloud and big data infrastructures; multimedia coding and delivery; wireless and fixed networking; electromagnetics, RF and high-speed circuits and systems. The IDLab team as a whole counts about 300 members (40 professors, 50 postdocs, 200 researchers, 15 support staff).

Your role in our team

You will join the “text to knowledge” team in IDLab at Ghent University, which applies machine learning and data mining techniques to try and make sense of information embedded in natural text documents (or collections thereof). As a PhD candidate, you will perform research using and developing techniques for mining information from textual data. We currently have research tracks in textual information extraction (with applications such as relation extraction, sentiment mining, event detection, etc.), mostly in media data, but also in the medical domain (e.g., combining free-text diagnoses with structured observation parameters for medical forecasting).

While grounded in fundamental academic research, as a PhD candidate you will also participate in collaborative research with industrial and/or academic partners in Flanders and/or on a wider geographic scale (e.g., EU H2020 projects), in the framework of new/ongoing projects. These include major (Flemish) media companies and upcoming big data oriented companies. Further, you will publish your research results at major international conferences and in journal papers, as part of meeting the requirements for your PhD. The exact scope of the PhD will be defined together with the supervisors.


Applications should be sent to Chris Develder ( and Thomas Demeester (, with subject: “Application: PhD in NLP and machine learning”.

Applications should include (1) an academic/professional resume, (2) a personal motivation letter, and (3) transcripts of study results, and (4) at least two reference contacts. After a first screening, selected candidates will be invited for an interview (also possible via Skype) as a first contact in a multi-stage selection process.

  • Application deadline: August 30, 2018 or until position has been filled
  • Type of contract: Full-time
  • Employment: Temporary (4 years), with yearly progress evaluation
  • Starting date: Fall/Winter 2018/2019
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