PhD AI-empowered steerable and collaborative surgical robots

at KU Leuven
Published December 26, 2022
Location Leuven, Belgium
Category Deep Learning  
Job Type Scholarship  


The Robot Assisted Surgery (RAS) group is a growing (>20 PhD's and >4 postdocs), dynamic, multi-disciplinary research group focusing on surgical robotics, medical devices, haptics, virtual and augmented reality. The group has links with micro-precision manufacturing, mechanical design, robotics, smart instrumentation and biomedical research groups in the department of mechanical engineering. Over the years (RAS was founded in 2001 by Prof. H. Van Brussel), the group has collected a unique research infrastructure. The group maintains tight and multiple collaborations with UZ Leuven, the largest (university) hospital in Belgium, which is located at 10 minutes ride (bicycle) of the department. The group's purpose is to develop innovative solutions addressing surgical needs and to verify and validate these developments in realistic settings. We are highly involved in national and international collaborations both as partner and as coordinator of EU-funded projects.
As surgical demands in precision and limited invasiveness grow in importance, the capabilities of today's surgical robots and their operators are being challenged. Advances in robotic hardware further introduces additional challenges in controlling these devices.
The PhD project searches to develop and include modern capabilities of Machine and Deep learning to produce a new generation of AI-empowered robots that are optimized to work in a collaborative fashion with expert physicians. Research applications in spine linked to the FAROS project are envisioned, but contributions are expected to reach beyond this clinical discipline.
  • Candidates must hold an engineering diploma (such as biomedical engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering) that gives access to the KU Leuven Arenberg Doctoral School PhD program (MSc degree obtained “cum laude” or equivalent)
  • Candidates must be fluent in English.
  • We are seeking a highly motivated and result-oriented candidate with a strong background in smart instrument design,signal processing, robotics and/or control.
  • Experience in signal processing, data fusion, deep learning, electronics, mechanical design, programming of C++,python, MATLAB or ROS is considered advantageous
  • Experience in machine learning, deep learning is a bonus.
  • The candidate must have good problem solving skills, should be ambitious but should above all be a team player !
The Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Universityof Leuven (KU Leuven) is pleased to offer a fully-funded PhDposition. Note that a PhD salary in Belgium is similar or higher than the salary of a starting engineer in industry.

For more information please contact Prof. dr. ir. Emmanuel Vander Poorten, tel.: +32 16 32 25 28, mail: or Mr. Gianni Borghesan, tel.: +32 16 32 92 67, mail:

You can apply for this job no later than March 31, 2023 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