Updated: 3 months ago
Deadline: 31 Jan 2023

(ref. OZK-2022-111)

Laatst aangepast : 22/12/2022

The Plasma Astrophysics division of the Department of Mathematics of the Science, Engineering and Technology Group of KU Leuven is looking for a research expert to support the further development and maintenance of linear and nonlinear, MHD and two-fluid codes MPI-AMRVAC/LEGOLAS and support its user community. These are developed, maintained and used at KU Leuven for HPC problems concerning general plasma physics applications. Our focus is on solar and astrophysics, and covers space weather and radiative (M)HD applications. We wish to validate and valorize our assets and extend their user communities. The Department of Mathematics consists of the sections Geometry, Algebra, Analysis, Plasma Astrophysics and Statistics. The section of Plasma Astrophysics (CmPA) has developed unique expertise in all aspects of plasma-physical modelling, ranging from advanced analytic theory to the development, use and exploitation of state-of-the-art computational tools to simulate realistic solar, astrophysical or fundamental plasma physics scenarios. The Sun and the heliosphere are our favourite research objects, but we equally study plasma behaviour in other astrophysical objects. CmPA members have (co-)produced several standard textbooks in plasma physics theory, published by Cambridge University Press and Kluwer Academic Publishers. The CmPA has developed several state-of-the-art software packages for plasma dynamical simulations, optimally suited for modern high performance computing, massively parallel platforms. They include MPI-AMRVAC (a parallel software tool for grid-adaptive MHD simulations) and a flexible new solver for linear MHD spectroscopy LEGOLAS. This research expert position is to support the development and maintenance of these MPI-AMRVAC and Legolas codes, oversee the management of the master versions of these codes, as well as expects an active participation in related projects that use the codes in various applications.


For the Plasma-astrophysics Section we are looking for a research expert to

  • Continue develop and optimize MPI-AMRVAC and Legolas codes, for use on current and future HPC platforms;
  • Maintain the online documentation, websites, open source (github) repositories, and actively engage in PR outreach through Twitter, YouTube, VSC newsletters, mailing-lists, slack-channels;
  • Promote the KU Leuven embedding of these codes, and act as a point of contact for local and worldwide users;
  • Publish scientific results, write progress reports, and actively promote the work through international conference proceedings and presentations;
  • Detect and seek out future collaboration and validation opportunities by formulating new research proposals (FWO, FWO-EOS, ERC en ERC-POC, ESA ITT, Horizon Europe, VSC calls, LUMI calls, PRACE calls…);
  • Is willing to organize training sessions and informal meetings between users;
  • Is aware of the applications pursued with MPI-AMRVAC and Legolas, and has plasma-physical know-how as well as computer-science skills;
  • Contributes to all projects that employ both MPI-AMRVAC and  Legolas.


The candidate must have a profound knowledge of MPI-AMRVAC and Legolas and their typical application areas, including the numerical techniques implemented in it, as well as other relevant numerical techniques. He/she must have ample experience in programming, providing technical support, supervising PhD and postdoctoral researchers, and project management. He/she should have leader capacities, be a team player and have networking skills. We are seeking a candidate with 

  • a PhD degree in the exact sciences, linked to (astro-)plasmaphysical research;
  • experience with High Performance Computing, parallel computing using MPI-OpenMP, programming in Fortran, know-how of github-based project management;
  • experience with Unix-system management (as system-administrator and/or active user);
  • a clear team spirit.


A function as research expert as a research management staff member at KU Leuven. This is an academic staff category that allows staff members to develop a full career at the university as specialists in a particular research area.

More information

For more information please contact Prof. dr. Rony Keppens, tel.: +32 16 32 70 01, mail: or Prof. dr. Tom Van Doorsselaere, tel.: +32 16 32 70 03, mail:

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