University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna

Location: Vienna Austria



Marie Skłodowska-Curie Researcher, Early Stage (VRACE, ESR3), Full-Time

Hosting Institution


University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna (MDW)

Department of Music Acoustics (IWK)

Closing Date:

01/06/19             Application email:


Basic salary (€40103 per annum, according to the collective agreement in Austria)

Additional payments:

Mobility allowance: €600  per month, Family allowance (if applicable) €500 per month



The Early Stage Researcher (ESR) will undertake research in the framework of the project “VRACE: Virtual Reality Audio for Cyber Environments”, and will be funded for 36 months through the prestigious Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Innovative Training Network (ITN) programme. VRACE will establish a multidisciplinary training and research programme focusing on the analysis, modelling and rendering of dynamic 3-dimensional soundscapes for applications in Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), delivered by nine cooperating European Universities and their industrial partners, including Siemens, Mueller BBM, Sennheiser and Facebook Reality Labs (former Oculus). The ESR will be an active member of the research project team at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna (MDW) assisting in the delivery of research and training activities of the VRACE Network and required to work towards the expected results of the MDW-led project entitled “Collision modelling for sound synthesis of musical instruments and other vibrating objects”. In addition to their individual scientific projects, all ESRs will benefit from further continuing education through a dedicated training program in the various fields of expertise of the consortium partners, which includes active participation in workshops, conferences and outreach activities.



  1. Conduct research in collisions between elastic solids with the aim of modelling sound excitation mechanisms, as set out in the additional information below.
  2. Carry out the research and training activities specified by a personal career development plan (PCDP) and contribute to the PCDP development.
  3. Study and follow the technical literature including academic papers, journals and textbooks to keep abreast with the state-of-the-art in the project topical area.
  4. Record, analyse and write up results of research work and contribute to the production of research reports and publications.
  5. Prepare regular progress reports on the performed research and training activities and present the research outcomes at meetings, project workshops, and to external audiences to disseminate and publicise research findings.
  6. Work closely with researchers of other consortium members and facilitate knowledge transfer within the VRACE consortium and in accordance with the consortium agreement.
  7. Undertake mandatory training programs and secondment as required at the facilities of other consortium members in Europe and the US.
  8. Actively participate in training activities and submit reports in fulfilment of the project requirements.
  9. Participate in outreach, dissemination, and administrative activities promoting the VRACE Network including contributing to the consortium webpages and to organisation of VRACE project training workshops and events.



  1. Have or about to obtain an M.Sc. in physics or a closely related discipline, with a strong mathematical background and adequate computational and engineering skills.
  2. Strong enthusiasm to participate in highly interdisciplinary research spanning across acoustics, numerical methods, virtual reality, and music.
  3. Relevant experience in computer programming, including the ability to develop computational models (e.g. in Matlab).
  4. Strong analytical and problem solving skills.
  5. Ability to logically conceptualise and summarise the research findings.
  6. Excellent verbal and writing communication skills in English.
  7. Ability to interact with colleagues and staff.
  8. Ability to organise resources, manage time and meet deadlines.
  9. Be willing and able to participate in training programs at the facilities of other consortium members across Europe and in the US.
  10. At the time of recruitment by the host organisation, be in the first four years (full-time equivalent) of their research careers and not yet have been awarded a doctorate. This four-year period is measured from the date of obtaining the degree that would formally entitle to embark on a doctorate.
  11. Must not have resided or carried out their main activity in Austria for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to their selection for this post.



  1. Masters Qualification in a relevant subject.
  2. Specialist knowledge in numerical methods, musical acoustics, or digital signal processing.
  3. Proficiency in C/C++ or other programming languages
  4. Be eligible and qualified for enrolment in the PhD programme at MDW.


The University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna is committed to the equal treatment of all qualified applicants regardless of sex, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, world-view, age, or disability.

The University is particularly interested in increasing the percentage of women working in the artistic, scientific and general university personnel ranks. It therefore particularly encourages female candidates to apply, the VRACE network strives to improve gender balance in research.



General information about VRACE can be found on the consortium website:


ESR3 Project Title: Collision modelling for sound synthesis of musical instruments and other vibrating objects

This project will belong to the work stream of Work Package 1, which focuses on modelling and simulation of sources and their near field characteristics. Research in this project will be conducted in collaboration with Queen’s University Belfast (QUB), and will be further informed through industrial engagement by SYOS and ARTIM.


Objectives: Studying the nonlinear dynamics of collisions between elastic solids with the aim of modelling sound excitation mechanisms in musical instruments (such as the vibrating lips of brass players, the reeds of wind instruments or hammer-string / mallet-membrane interactions). The developed numerical methods will be extended to a variety of sound-generating objects that may be encountered in VR / AR.

Tasks and methodology: A major breakthrough is expected by developing an algorithm that is significantly faster and at least as accurate as previously used numerical schemes. This is particularly useful in the case of repeated collisions that take place during sound excitation. Such algorithms may be informed by detailed knowledge on the nature of the underlying collision forces and possible use of analytic solutions, when available.

Accurate and efficient numerical modelling is necessary for realistic real-time representation of various sound excitation mechanisms, including but not limited to musical instruments. The ESR will furthermore investigate how non-aliasing constraints that in general appear using penalty methods may be avoided, since these methods are currently widely used for the simulation of collisions.


Expected Results: Sound synthesis of musical instruments from reconstructed time-varying playing parameters (in collaboration with ESR12) or controller signals with the aim of altering or optimising customised instrument parts like mouthpieces or mallets by listening to the virtual sound.


Supervision: Dr. Vasileios Chatziioannou (MDW), Dr. Maarten van Walstijn (QUB), Prof. Wilfried Kausel (MDW)


For informal enquiries please contact Dr. Vasileios Chatziioannou (


Applicants should send the following:

  • Motivation Letter
  • CV
  • if available, a copy of the Master’s Thesis and two reference letters (send directly by the referees to the above email address)


Please be aware that your documents may be shared with the named beneficiaries within the consortium, as part of the application review process.

Flexible starting date between 15 July 2019 and 15 August 2019.

It should be specifically mentioned, however, that applicants who are invited to the audition will not receive remuneration from the university for incurred travel and hotel expenses.


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