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PhD Position in Reading the Auditory Brain Using EEG Measurements, KU Leuven, Research Group Experimental Oto-rhino-laryngology, Belgium

(ref. BAP-2018-350)

Laatst aangepast : 7/06/2018

This is a project in collaboration between the Department of Neurosciences (ExpORL) and the Department of Electrical Engineering (PSI), of the University of Leuven. The research group of Experimental Otorhinolaryngology (ExpORL), Dept. Neurosciences aims to improve the hearing and communication of people with hearing impairment.The main research topics at ExpORL are: * The neuroscience of speech perception * Temporal neural processing in the auditory system * Speech and music processing for cochlear implants * Noise reduction for improved speech perception with hearing instruments in adverse and noisy listening environments * Binaural hearing: signal processing schemes and evaluation procedures for bilateral acoustical and/or electrical hearing instruments We focus on the chain of auditory modelling, signal processing, simulation, psychophysical tests, electro-physiological measurements, imaging, lab-implementation, and evaluation with normal hearing subjects and users of hearing aids and cochlear implants. Intensive research has led to fundamental knowledge about hearing with hearing instruments. Based on these studies, we have developed new signal processing strategies that are now used worldwide in the most recent cochlear implant systemsand hearing aids. Furthermore, we have developed diagnostic and evaluation strategies that are widely clinically applied. Our research group is strongly multidisciplinary, consisting of 35 researchers from a variety of backgrounds (engineering, audiology, medicine, …) The Center for Processing Speech and Images (PSI) applies cutting edge machine learning techniques to build better systems involving visual and auditory inputs, or both. Several spin-off companies have emerged from its activities. The main research topics in speech and sound processing are: • Automatic speech and speaker recognition • Robust signal processing and speech enhancement • Speech recognition of disordered voices and diagnostic speech tools • Spoken language acquisition by machines • Sound source segregation • Semantic interpretation and retrieval of sound (e.g. find YouTube posts with laughter)
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When a person listens to sound, various parts of the auditory system are activated, including the brain. We can then measure the brain waves using EEG, decode them and draw conclusions about the auditory system.
We aim to develop a computational model of the auditory system, based on state-of-the art, deep-neural-network-based systems for automatic speech recognition. The model will be constructed by letting people listen to natural speech signals, and relating the recorded electroencephalogram (EEG) signal to the corresponding acoustic signals.
One of the outcomes of this project are brain wave decoders that can be used for diagnostics of the auditory system, in novel neuro-steered hearing aids and potentially as a brain-computer interface.

This PhD project involves EEG data collection, evaluation of the new brain decoders developed by colleague PhD students with an engineering background, and hypothesis-driven neuroscience research.

A master degree in audiology, cognitive neuroscience, or related
A good background in auditory perception and the neuroscience of hearing
An inquisitive and creative mind, good problem solving skills
Willingness to work in an interdisciplinary team
Good social and teamworking skills
Good Flemish (Dutch) proficiency
Excellent English proficiency, both orally and scientific writing
Exciting auditory research
Membership of two world-renowned labs, as part of a motivated interdisciplinary team, with an extensive international network
Membership of KU Leuven, one of the largest research universities of Europe
The possibility to take part in international conferences and collaborations
A competitive salary
For more information please contact Prof. dr. Tom Francart, tel.: +32 16 37 98 40, mail:
You can apply for this job no later than September 01, 2018 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

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