R&D Scientist AI for Recycling


No Dutch text available : R&D data scientist "AI for recycling" - VITO

The Waste Recycling Technologies  team of VITO is looking for a creative and motivated researcher to develop breakthrough technologies in the waste processing industry, using artificial intelligence (AI).

Automated quantitative characterization and sorting of waste materials (metal scrap, batteries, WEEE, MSWI-bottom ashes) is a key requirement for the transition towards a circular economy with increased resource efficiency. To this end, VITO’s  team has developed an industrial prototype, named Characterise-to-Sort, able to capture dual energy x-ray transmission, RGB and 3D image data in an online fashion by scanning the materials on a moving conveyor belt. The team is expanding to speed up development and implementation of this technology.

Further development of this technology towards industrial implementation requires research in the field of:

  • Designing, training, testing and deploying state-of-the-art machine learning models for various clients in the waste recycling industry
  • Development and optimization of image processing and data pipelines, leveraging GPU & CPU parallelization
  • Intuitive visualisations, dashboards and explainable AI (XAI) to empower the human-in-the-loop
  • Active learning, semi- and unsupervised learning to reduce the labelling effort and train machine learning models with fewer data.

As a researcher you will be part of an experienced and well-equipped research team aiming to develop the sorting and recycling technologies of the future (https://vito.be/en/product/advanced-characterisation-waste).

VITO’s ART team provides a clear view on how to recover resources to both industry and government. Using innovative approaches and expertise, we strive towards a circular economy by transforming waste into high-quality products.


  • Master in physics, engineering, mathematics or data science. PhD degree is considered an added value.
  • Advanced programming skills (e.g. Python, C++)
  • Experience with developing and implementing AI technology/software in an industrial context is recommended.
  • Experience with data analysis and statistics is a must
  • Experience with image processing and machine vision is a bonus.
  • Able to translate business needs into smart AI-based solutions
  • Creative mind, ambitious and eager to turn new concepts into practice.
  • Excellent writing, presentation and communication skills
  • An attractive salary package supplemented with extra-legal benefits such as allowances, insurances and a modular holiday package.
  • Your activities determine your work place. On average, you are expected at our office in Mol twice a week. The other days you can work from home or from other VITO locations (Antwerp, Genk, Ghent, Ostend), depending on the needs of the activities and your team.
  • A great deal of freedom and flexibility in your job that enables you to achieve an attractive work-life balance.
  • Innovation is our key asset, and we give our employees the opportunity to undertake additional training and keep up to date with developments in their specialist field. In fact, we expect this of them.
  • The opportunity to be part of an organisation with an international reputation, known for its advanced technological research and scientific consultancy.
  • Together with 900 VITO colleagues, you will be part of making the difference in the systemic change that is required in order to achieve a sustainable society.