Technology and Food Science Unit PhD fellowship: Modeling thermal comfort of pigs

Do you like to do research and do you like modeling, experimental research and analysis? Would you like to use your technical background in a varied job? Are you also interested in agriculture or animals? Do you want to help with top research for a sustainable, future-proof livestock farming? Then you are the colleague we are looking for!

Important information

  • Location: Merelbeke
  • Contract type: Full-time
  • Diploma: Master diploma
  • Application deadline This job listing stays open until we find the right candidate.

Your capabilities

  • You have a Master’s degree in Engineering, Bio-engineering or equivalent. You have preferably received this diploma within the last 5 years. Candidates in their last year of studies must have earned the appropriate diploma before starting the doctoral fellowship.
  • If your diploma was earned outside of Belgium, we request a certificate of equivalency. You can apply for this via (NARIC-Vlaanderen - NARIC-Vlaanderen).
  • You comply with the general requirement for completing a doctorate: Doctoral grants: requirements and regulations - ILVO Vlaanderen
  • You feel at home with thermodynamics and heat transfer
  • You can build models and develop them further based on new insights
  • You have an affinity for computer programming (e.g., in Python, R)
  • You write well and have good verbal communication skills in English

Personal competencies

  • You are analytical by nature and perform scientific research correctly
  • You can communicate well about your results to a variety of target audiences
  • You take initiative and work independently
  • You like to work in depth with an eye on producing results.


  • You have an affinity with livestock
  • You have (some) experience with sensors, image processing or artificial intelligence
  • You have (minimal) experience giving presentations
  • You write well and can communicate verbally in Dutch
  • You like to write (scientific) texts

We offer

We offer you a 4-year PhD fellowship funded by ILVO’s Own Capital fund, in close collaboration with a university.

  • The PhD fellowship is initially offered for 1 year; after a positive evaluation it is extended to 4 years. The fellowship is exempt from income taks but does contribute to the Belgian social security system (health insurance, retirement fund, etc.)
  • The net fellowship amount at ILVO is €2,323.91 net (€2,673.31 gross) for the first 2 years. During the last 2 years it is €2,431.29 netto (€2,796.83 gross). These amounts can differ from the amounts offered at a university.
  • A varied, challening and socially relevant job. You get a job with a lot of responsibility within a dynamic environment with attractive benefits and development opportunities.

UGent and ILVO are looking for a PhD student in the framework of the European RES4LIVE project on the topic of 'Modeling and measuring thermal comfort of pigs'. Pigs in animal husbandry grow up in a controlled environment, e.g., with mechanical ventilation and heating controlled by the temperature in the pens. However, we need more recent data on the thermal comfort of pigs of different ages. This will help to better adjust the climate control, and the design and management of stables will be able to account for this data correctly.

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Jarissa Maselyne

Data analysis and precision lifestock farming expert