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Job Description

PHD position - combined sound source detection & localization

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft ( currently operates 76 institutes and research institutions throughout Germany and is the world’s leading applied research organization. Around 30 000 employees work with an annual research budget of 2.9 billion euros.

The objective of the Division »Hearing, Speech and Audio Technology HSA« of the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT in Oldenburg (Oldb) is to translate scientific findings related to hearing perception and man-machine-interaction into technological applications. Its research and development priorities are the enhancement of sound quality and speech intelligibility, personalized audio reproduction, automatic speech recognition and acoustic event detection with the help of artificial intelligence. A further focus is the use of mobile neurotechnology, which specifically facilitates the recording of brain activity and utilization of the resulting data outside the laboratory. Application fields include consumer electronics, the automotive sector, industrial production, security, telecommunications and healthcare. Through scientific partnerships, Fraunhofer IDMT-HSA has close links with the Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg as well as Jade University of applied Sciences and other institutions engaged in hearing research in Oldenburg. Fraunhofer IDMT-HSA is a partner in the Cluster of »ExcellenceHearing4all«. The Division »Hearing, Speech and Audio Technology HSA« is funded in the program »Vorab« by the Lower Saxony Ministry of Science and Culture (MWK) and the Volkswagen Foundation for its further development. The group »Audio Signal Enhancement (ASE)« focuses on single- and multichannel-based enhancement of disturbed audio signals (e. g. speech), separation of targeted sounds, automatic speaker recognition and acoustic analysis of dangerous situations.

What you will do
At Fraunhofer IDMT, one fully funded Marie Skłodowska-Curie PhD position in the field of audio signal enhancement is under the supervision of Prof. Jörg Bitzer/Simon Doclo. The position will become available from December 1, 2022, or as soon as possible thereafter. The PhD student employed at Fraunhofer IDMT will be fully embedded in the SOUNDS research and training network and will carry out theoretical and applied research in the interdisciplinary fields of signal processing, audio processing, communication networks and machine learning.

The topics of the position relate to the following fields:
Sound source localization
Sound source detection and separation
Development of machine-/deep learning-based algorithms for acoustic signal processing
Realtime implementation (low delay processing)

The SOUNDS European Training Network (ETN) revolves around a new and promising paradigm coined as Service-Oriented, Ubiquitous, Network-Driven Sound. Inspired by the ubiquity of mobile and wearable devices capable of capturing, processing, and reproducing sound, the SOUNDS ETN aims to bring audio technology to a new level by exploiting network-enabled cooperation between devices. We envision the next generation of audio devices to be capable of providing enhanced hearing assistance, creating immersive audio experience, enabling advanced voice control and much more, by seamlessly exchanging signals and parameter settings, and spatially analyzing and reproducing sound jointly with other nearby audio devices and infrastructure. Moreover, such functionality should be self-organizing, flexible, and scalable, requiring minimal user interaction for adapting to changes in the environment or network. It is anticipated that this paradigm will eventually result in an entirely new way of designing and using audio technology, by considering audio as a service, enabled through shared infrastructure, rather than as a device-specific functionality limited by the capabilities and constraints of a single user device.
To attain this paradigm shift in audio technology not only requires additional research but also calls for a new generation of qualified researchers with a transdisciplinary and international scientific profile, strong collaborative research and research management skills, and the intersectoral expertise needed to carry research results from academia to industry. It is believed that the SOUNDS ETN will offer the best possible framework for achieving these goals, by organizing advanced interdisciplinary research training, developing solid transferable skills, and providing intersectoral and international experience in a network of qualified and complementary industrial and academic institutions.
The SOUNDS ETN strongly values research integrity, actively supports open access and reproducible research, and strives for diversity and gender balance in its entire research and training program. The SOUNDS ETN adheres to »The European Charter for Researchers and The Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers«.

What you bring to the table
Scientific university degree in Signal Processing, Informatics, Computer Science or equivalent
Knowledge about audio signal processing (single- and multichannel)
Knowledge about machine learning and state-of-the-art frameworks (PyTorch, TensorFlow etc.)
Programming skills in Python, C/C++, MATLAB
Excellent proficiency in English is required, as well as good communication skills, both oral and written.
Fulfillment of the MSCA Early Stage admission requirements:
Researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies etc.) in Germany more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date. Compulsory national service, short stays such as holidays, and time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention are not taken into account.
Researchers must have less than 4 years FTE researcher experience since their graduation and should not yet have a PhD.
Independent way of working
Team ability
Problem solving ability

What you can expect
An interesting task area at the junction of science and application
Excellent technical infrastructure
Flat hierarchies, a loyal work environment in a committed, international team
Room for creativity
Very good work-life-balance and family-friendly arrangements (e. g. flexible working hours and a »parent-child office«)

The position is initially limited to 36 months. 25 months are funded by the »Sounds project« with a possible extension for 4 months and 11 (resp. 7) months are funded by Fraunhofer.
The weekly working time is 39 hours.

We value and promote the diversity of our employees' skills and therefore welcome all applications - regardless of age, gender, nationality, ethnic and social origin, religion, ideology, disability, sexual orientation and identity. Severely disabled persons are given preference in the event of equal suitability. Appointment, remuneration and social security benefits based on the public-sector collective wage agreement (TVöD).

With its focus on developing key technologies that are vital for the future and enabling the commercial utilization of this work by business and industry, Fraunhofer plays a central role in the innovation process. As a pioneer and catalyst for groundbreaking developments and scientific excellence, Fraunhofer helps shape society now and in the future.

Interested? Apply online now. We look forward to getting to know you!

Technical questions:
Christian Rollwage
Phone: +49 441 36116 841

Questions about the application process:
Femke Grotelüschen
Phone: +49 441 2172 437

Oldenburg Branch Hearing, Speech and Audio Technology HSA

Requisition Number: 45442 Application Deadline: 10/30/2022

Job Information

email redacted
Related URL
Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT - Branch for Hearing, Speech and Audio Technology
Topic Category
Oldenburg, Lower Saxony, Germany
Closing Date
Oct. 31, 2022