Victor DewulfMaterials Section
Supervised by Professor Chris Cheeseman

Prior to starting his PhD, Victor completed a BEng in Civil Engineering and an MSc in Environmental Engineering with Business Management. Victor has extensive international industry experience having worked in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Houston and Brussels. He is also a Goldman Sachs alumnus.

He was awarded with an EPSRC scholarship to continue his research.

Why did you decide to study for a PhD at Imperial and join the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering?

During my MSc thesis here at Imperial I developed a proof of concept neural network called Recycleye which is an affordable system to: identify and classify recyclables, improve sorting efficiency, reduce human drudgery and drive a waste data revolution. After receiving significant interest from the industry, I decided the come back in order to continue the research.

Tell us about your PhD project

The human eye is a tremendously basic sensor (sees only visible light), yet our ability to process that information with our brain allows us to outperform machines. If you see a Coca-Cola can you instinctively know it is indeed a Coca-Cola can and not a Pepsi can. Unlike a machine, you do not need to read a barcode nor detect an RFID signal. You also know it is made from aluminium. Again, unlike a machine, you do not need X-ray or Near-Infra Red vision. If we want machines to revolutionize the waste industry, we first need to teach them to see. This will be the initial focus of my research. The second phase of my work will involve the large-scale deployment of the Recycleye to accurately track entire waste streams at an item level and derive relevant information from that data.

What are your first impressions of being a PhD student at Imperial?

Incredible! The networks and tools the college puts at your disposal are fantastic; researchers at the cutting edge of their field, laboratory facilities, high end computing devices, mentors, the enterprise lab, etc. As a PhD student the variety of stuff you do in a single day is also amazing.   

What are you most looking forward to over the next 3-4 years?

The creation of new knowledge.