PhD scholarship on the perception of light and color in virtual reality.

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
January 05, 2023
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
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Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
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PhD scholarship on the perception of light and color in virtual reality.

(ref. BAP-2022-847)

Last modification : Tuesday, December 6, 2022

The Light&Lighting Laboratory of the KU Leuven has a fully funded PhD position available for research on the visual perception of light and color in virtual reality. Funding is available for 3+ years through a research grant of the Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO). KU Leuven is a highly international university that ranks among the best in the world in terms of research and innovation. It is spread over several campuses in Flanders (Belgium), with the Light&Lighting Laboratory (www. located at the Technology Campus in Ghent. The main research topics of the laboratory are optical design of luminaires, energy-efficient indoor lighting, innovative light sources, color/appearance of materials and light sources and radiometric and photometric metrology. The laboratory features advanced measurement equipment, necessary to perform doctoral research and to offer support towards the industry. Currently 20 people are involved in the research group (10 PhD students) and more than 70 companies are member of an industrial network. The laboratory also has a broad international network, is an active contributor to the work of the International Commission on Illumination (CIE) and the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES), and is a partner in the European Master program ‘Imaging and Light in Extended Reality (IMLEX)'.

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Understanding and predicting the perception and appearance of light and color in realistic scenes is one of the ultimate goals of color science. Advances in virtual reality provide the opportunity to use highly realistic stimuli in an unprecedentedly controlled way, making it a promising innovative, efficient and economical research tool with potentially groundbreaking consequences for the study, understanding and prediction of perception of realistic scenes. However, current knowledge and understanding of how (well) color perception in virtual reality corresponds to that in actual reality is limited.

This interdisciplinary project - involving physics, mathematics, computer science / graphics, display technology, psychology and biology - aims to experimentally characterize and compare major, not yet fully understood, aspects of color perception (chromatic adaptation, simultaneous contrast and spatial effects) in actual and virtual reality to deepen our understanding of these fundamental processes and to establish mathematical models to predict color perception in real and virtual environments starting from the physical / optical properties of the perceived objects.

The work will involve among others continuous literature and technology review, setting up experiment setups in real and virtual environments (3D renderings presented on head-mounted displays), optical measurements, performing psychophysical experiments, programming, statistical analysis of results, color appearance (mathematical) modelling, presenting results and conclusions at scientific conferences and in peer-reviewed journal publications.


We are looking for an enthusiastic, motivated, well-organized and detail oriented candidate with a degree in Master of Science, Master of Computer Science, Master of Engineering, Master of Engineering Technology or related, with strong programming (Python, C/C++,...), analytical and mathematical skills, as well as a strong interest in lighting, visual perception, optical measurements and virtual reality. In addition to a scientific research attitude and the ability to work autonomously and as part of a team, well- developed written and oral communication skills in English are also required. Experience in one or more of the following are a plus: virtual reality, computer graphics, rendering, raytracing, 3D modeling, mathematical modelling and visual perception research. The start of the PhD is subject to an academic approval of the candidate. Proposed start date is as soon as possible.


We offer a fulltime paid PhD position for 1 year, starting as soon as possible. After positive evaluation, the PhD position will be extended for up to approximately 4 years. Applications should be submitted through KU Leuven's online platform. (Don't forget to include a motivation letter and your BSc and Msc transcripts when submitting your resume!)


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