Development of bio-metamaterial with optimized thermal and acoustic properties


RESEARCH FIELD ………………………… Physics

RESEARCHER PROFILE ……………….. First Stage Researcher (R1)

APPLICATION DEADLINE …………… 25/09/2022 23:59 – Europe/Brussels


E-MAIL ………………………………………….

PHONE ………………………………………… +32 16 32 72 01


TYPE OF CONTRACT To be defined

JOB STATUS Full-time




Interested? You can apply on KU Leuven job site:


This PhD focuses on the development of novel bio-metamaterial with optimized thermal and acoustic properties by combining biological materials with acoustic metamaterials, and fits in the framework of the ACTAREBUILD EU – DN – project.

Mycelium biocomposites are novel materials with an increasingly important role in the transition to renewable building processes. Mycelium is the vegetative part of the fungus that can cement particulate organic materials and can be formed into any shape if grown in a mould, or even 3D printed as a paste. Increasingly they are available for use in indoor architectural contexts owing to their acoustic/insulative properties, superior fire safety and minimal environmental impact. While mycelium biocomposites have been generally characterized for their thermal and acoustic effects, this project looks at these qualities with respect to a range of different agricultural wastes, fungal types, degrees of attenuation and tile geometries, to gain specific insights into how these factors influence their performance for applications in retrofit and indoor architectural contexts.
New generation biomaterials will be grown from biological waste and will be screened for their suitability to serve as the sound absorbers, both in homogeneous slabs and composite metamaterial structures. The sound absorption will be measured by different approaches and its frequency dependence will be modeled. In turn, the physics insight given by the models will be exploited to further enhance the sound absorption throughout the whole audible spectrum. Also the thermal isolation characteristics will be determined. In view of sustainable development, the new materials and structures will also be subject to an investigation of their durability, compatibility for recycling, nontoxicity, energetic and financial production cost, and ecological footprint.  
This research will involve handling biological materials in general and making mycelium biocomposites in particular, designing structures, performing acoustic and thermal measurements, analyzing data, developing mathematical models, 3D printing using a variety of materials, making objects with high fidelity, and functioning in an interdisciplinary team to assess the sustainability of the innovative solutions.



  • A remuneration package in line with Marie Sklodowska Curie Doctoral Network regulations, which is competitive with industry standards in Belgium, a country with a high quality of life and excellent health care system.
  • The researcher allowances granted by Europe will cover all (employer’s and employee’s) taxes and contributions; the exact (net) salary will be confirmed upon appointment.
  • An opportunity to pursue a PhD in Science, in a stimulating and ambitious research environment, with 3 years funding within the ACTAREBUILD ITN project.
  • An opportunity to work within a challenging European research project with leading industry players across Europe.
  • A stay in a vibrant environment in the hearth of Europe. The university is located in Leuven, a town of approximately 100000 inhabitants, located close to Brussels (25km), and 20 minutes by train from Brussels International Airport. This strategic positioning and the strong presence of the university, international research centers, and industry, lead to a safe town with high quality of life, welcome to non-Dutch speaking people and with ample opportunities for social and sport activities. The mixture of cultures and research fields are some of the ingredients making the KU Leuven the most innovative university in Europe. Further information can be found on the website of the university:
  • Opportunity for research stay(s) in Italy (University of Brescia). Brescia is a city of approximately 100000 inhabitants, located close to Milan (90 km), and 60 minutes by bus from Bergamo International Airport. This strategic positioning and the strong presence of industry, lead to a safe town with high quality of life, welcome to non-Italian speaking people and with ample opportunities for social and sport activities. Further information on the Marie Curie Projects at UniBS can be found on the website of the university:…

Eligibility criteria

If you recognize yourself in the story below, then you have the profile that fits the project and the research group.

  • I have a master degree in physics or engineering.
  • I do not yet have a PhD
  • I am adept at learning new concepts, skills and tasks and have a problem-solving approach to complex challenges
  • I am proficient in written and spoken English, and write and communicate clearly in an interdisciplinary environment
  • During my courses or prior professional activities, I have gathered experience with acoustic testing, control, data-acquisition, numerical simulations and mathematical modeling and I have a profound interest in these topics.
  • As PhD researcher at KU Leuven I perform research in a structured and scientifically sound manner. I read technical papers, understand the nuances between different theories and implement and improve methodologies myself.
  • I work goal-oriented and have a getting-things-done attitude, always with scientific rigor.
  • In frequent reporting, varying between weekly to monthly, I show the results that I have obtained and I give a well-founded interpretation of those results. I iterate on my work and my approach based on the feedback of my supervisors which steer the direction of my research.
  • I feel comfortable working as a team member and I am eager to share my results to inspire my colleagues and be inspired by them.
  • I value being part of a project that aims at finding sustainable solutions in the domain of building applications and I am eager to learn how academic research can be linked to industrial innovation roadmaps.
  • During my PhD I want to grow towards following up the project that I am involved in and representing the research group on project meetings or conferences. I see these events as an occasion to disseminate my work to an audience of international experts and research colleagues, and to learn about the larger context of my research and the research project.
  • During the past 3 years I have not resided, studied or worked in Belgium for more than 12 months

Selection process

For more information please contact Prof. dr. Christ Glorieux, tel.: +32 16 32 72 01, mail: or Prof. dr. Rachel Armstrong, tel.: +32 2 308 27 56, mail: . Please mention ACTAREBUILDand REF nr. DC1 bio-metamaterial in the email subject.

Applications in English should be submitted online and include:

  • Curriculum Vitae (including your contact address, work experience, publications, as well as all other academic achievements)
  • Cover letter explaining your motivation
  • Transcript of all courses and grades for your Bachelor and Master program
  • A short description of your master’s work (max 1 page)

You can apply for this job no later than September 25, 2022 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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