R&D 'AI for recycling'

Job description

The Waste Recycling Technologies (ART) 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 ART 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.

Job requirements

  • You have a Master in physics, engineering, mathematics or data science (PhD degree is considered an added value)
  • You have advanced programming skills (e.g. Python, C++)
  • You have experience with:
    • developing and implementing technology in an industrial context
    • data analysis and statistics (experience with image processing and machine vision is a bonus)
  • You are able to translate business needs into smart AI-based solutions
  • You have a creative mind, ambitious and eager to turn new concepts into practice and you have excellent writing, presentation and communications skills


  • We work 'activity-based', our activities bring us to our location. Our headquarter is in Mol. Part-time working from home or a satellite office in Antwerp-Berchem, Ghent or Ostend is possible.
  • A competitive salary with a range of benefits, including allowances, insurance and a modular package of holidays.
  • Innovation is our asset, so it goes without saying that we give our employees the opportunity to take additional training courses and stay up-to-date in their field. You will always have the opportunity to broaden your knowledge and discover new technologies.
  • You will have the opportunity to be part of an organization with an international reputation, known for its cutting-edge technological research and scientific consultancy.
  • With us, you will contribute directly to sustainable developments at local, national and global level through your innovative applications. You provide answers to contemporary societal challenges.
  • Moreover, we highly value a good work-life balance at VITO! This is achieved by adopting a flexible attitude depending on your specific needs.