VACANCY - Full-time junior AI researcher (PhD scholarship)

(17-06-2024) The interdisciplinary research group imec-mict-UGent is looking for a full-time researcher at junior level to start in September 2024 as part of a project-based research team that studies the interaction between humans and AI agents.

With the advent of new VR/XR technology, we foresee an increasing number of social interactions with AI-animated avatars. Interactive animation with avatars requires both verbal and non-verbal communication. Compared to the limitations of hardware humanoid robots, avatars' body and facial expressions can be rendered in much more detail. While Large Language Models offer a mature technology to autonomously generate verbal responses, research into AI-driven communication via non-verbal communication cues is still in its infancy.

In order to research and develop the underlying control algorithms, there is a need for a good understanding of the non-verbal communication signals that we as humans intuitively experience. In addition, XR technology also offers more possibilities for measuring these signals that can then be used to develop, train and test new algorithms.


Job description

Within imec-mict-UGent, you will have the opportunity to strengthen a dynamic team of researchers. You will be responsible for the execution of various experimental research setups in the context of your PhD. This project is carried out in close collaboration with research group IDLab-UGent and led by Prof. Pieter Simoens. On a larger scale, this project is situated within the framework of the Flemish AI Research Program, which allows the candidate to interact with fellow researchers throughout Flanders.

Your main tasks include:

  • Research on objective measurement methods and the use of AI for recognizing non-verbal interactions in XR
  • Research and prototyping of experimental setups of non-verbal communication in XR in consultation with our team of developers and co-researchers.
  • Writing high-quality publications, focusing on top journals and international conferences.
  • You will be given a varied range of tasks in a stimulating, creative working and learning environment.


  • Master of Electronics-ICT Engineering or Master of Computer Science
  • Experience with AI algorithms and data analysis
  • Experience with Python, C#Unity(AR/VR) is a strong plus
  • You are able to independently follow up on a research project and make adjustments in consultation.
  • You have good writing and presentation skills
  • You have a critical attitude and are always looking for challenges.
  • You are able to combine and validate academic and practical knowledge.
  • You are flexible and like to take initiative!


  • An exciting work environment (base in De Krook - Ghent)
  • A young and dynamic interdisciplinary team
  • A varied and challenging job
  • A position in which you can further develop your creative and social skills.
  • The selected candidate will be offered a 4 year scholarships, with an interim evaluation after the first year (1+3 years). The scholarship is determined by the salary scales of the university. In addition, PhD scholars can count on a number of benefits, such as a wide range of education and training opportunities, extra vacation days, bicycle allowance, and more.



If you are interested, please e-mail the following as soon as possible and no later than July 14, 2024 at 11:59 PM

  • Application letter
  • Extensive CV + study results and publication list (if any)
  • One or more (max. 3) references to English texts (preferably academic)


More information

For more information regarding this vacancy, please contact  Prof. Jelle Saldien ( and Prof. Klaas Bombeke (