Senior Scientist - KSB/VUB - FED-tWIN-mandaat Earth Climate Observatory (ECO) space mission

Updated: about 2 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 26 May 2024

30 Apr 2024
Job Information

Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)
Research Field

Engineering » Other
Environmental science » Earth science
Physics » Optics
Physics » Other
Researcher Profile

Recognised Researcher (R2)

Application Deadline

26 May 2024 - 21:59 (UTC)
Type of Contract

Job Status

Hours Per Week

Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?

Not funded by an EU programme
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?


Offer Description
1 - Context


Werken bij VUB

For more than 50 years, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel has stood for freedom, equality and solidarity, and this is very much alive on our campuses among students and staff alike. 


At the VUB, you will find a diverse collection of personalities: innovators pur sang, but above all people who are 100% their authentic selves. With some 4,000 employees, we are the largest Dutch-speaking employer, in the private sector, in Brussels; an international city with which we are only too happy to connect and where (around) our 4 campuses are located. 


Add to this our principle of free research - in which self-reflection, a critical attitude and an open, creative mind around scientific and social issues are central - and you have a university that is fundamentally groundbreaking and pioneering in education and research. In short: the VUB all over again


Moreover, the VUB is a member of EUTOPIA, an alliance of like-minded European universities, all ready to reinvent themselves.


Working at KSB

The Royal Observatory of Belgium (ROB) – see - was founded in 1826, before the independence of Belgium. It is a Federal Scientific Institution (FSI) belonging to the Belgian Science Policy (Belspo). Researchers at the ROB study planet Earth, the sun as well as other objects from the near and far universe, with a strong focus on space missions. Among the scientific disciplines of the ROB we may find astronomy, planetology, geophysics, seismology, space geodesy and solar physics. For these, the ROB cooperates with numerous international centers.


At ROB, the ECO FED-tWIN researcher will work in the Operational Directorate (OD) "Solar Physics and Space Weather" – see . This OD has about 50 staff on a full-time equivalent basis and has applied research activities around solar observation from Earth, amongst others through the world data center for long-term sunspot observation, through the space missions Proba 2, EUI on Solar Orbiter and Proba 3, and through space weather services operating under the umbrella of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).


2 - Position description

The Royal Observatory of Belgium (ROB) and the Vrije Universiteit van Brussel (VUB) are jointly hiring a senior researcher in the context of the FED-tWIN programme, a federal research programme of the Belgian Science Policy ("Belspo")


More concretely your work package contains: 


Education and Research domain:



  • ECO: Earth Climate Observatory –for the measurement of the most Essential of all Climate Variables (ECVs): the Earth Energy Imbalance (EEI) (Research Profile Prf-2022-010 ECO between ROB and VUB)



Research tasks:



  • Climate change is one of the great challenges of our time.  The most essential of all change agents is the so-called Earth Energy Imbalance (EEI).  EEI is the direct cause of global temperature rise. Its accurate measurement and monitoring is necessary to monitor that the Paris Climate Agreement and the European Green Deal are implemented fast enough to counter catastrophic climate change by keeping the global temperature rise below 2°C.
  • You will be expected to work full time on the advancement of the Scientific Readyness Level and initially also the Technological Readyness Level, in order to contribute to the ECO Earth Explorer space mission selection for Phase B implementation.



Education tasks:



  • You will contribute to the teaching of the Department of Applied Physics and Photonics (TONA).
  • In view of the research objectives of the FED-tWIN mandate, teaching activities will be limited during the first 5 years of the mandate.
  • You can contribute to teaching in the VUB Master of Science programme Master of Science in Photonics Engineering in the field of optical design and photonic systems for a total maximum of 6 ECTS per semester.
  • You are also supposed to supervise master's theses and PhDs related to the research to be conducted.



3 - Profile

What do we expect from you?


  • You hold a PhD in Sciences or in Engineering Sciences, or a degree or certificate recognized as equivalent. When assessing a non-Benelux degree, an equivalence certificate must be requested from NARIC, see… . We advise you, if applicable, to start the recognition procedure at NARIC as soon as possible. 


    This PhD has been obtained not longer than 12 years prior to the predetermined submission date of your candidature file. This period is extended by 1 year for any absence due to pregnancy, parental or adoption leave, as well as any prolonged absence due to illness of the candidate himself and/or a first-degree relative.


  • Ideally, you have:

    • carried out high-level scientific research, as substantiated by publications in peer-reviewed international journals;
    • experience with, or at least interest in optics, electronics and/or data processing;
    • programming experience, preferentially in C++;
    • the motivation to start a long term career working on a space project related to climate change.


    It is recommended that:

    • You have demonstrable experience in securing external funding for research or innovation projects;
    • You have experience with satellite remote sensing, space borne optical instruments and/or geophysical data processing;
    • You have experience with space projects;
    • You have experience of working in an international research consortium;
    • You have experience in teaching at university level, and in supervising students at master's and doctoral level.


  • You subscribe to the university’s vision of education. The full text in relation to this is available on the university website.


  • Every first appointment is dependent upon the successful delivery of a teaching session.  


  • Language regulations:

A member of the academic staff who is entrusted with a teaching assignment must also be able to demonstrate that the language of instruction is known at ERK level C1 through a qualification certificate or through an adequate diploma. The VUB also provides courses in, for example, academic English.


The administrative language of the VUB is Dutch. In case of insufficient knowledge of Dutch, the VUB will provide an integration course. After a maximum of five years, a member of the academic staff must demonstrate adequate knowledge of the administrative language (ERK level B2).


For a complete overview, please consult the complete language regulations on . 


Certificates demonstrating knowledge of the language can already be added to the application. 


The VUB wants to be a reflection of the society where everyone's talent is valued, regardless of gender, age, religion, skin color, migration background, disability and neurodiversity.

4 - Offer

Are you going to be our new colleague?


We offer a full-time senior research position for an initial period of 5 years, renewable for 2 years terms of 5 years after positive evaluation.


The appointment takes place in the form of two half-time contracts at the Royal Observatory of Belgium and Vrije Universiteit Brussel respectively with an expected starting date of the employment on 01-12-2024.


At the ROB, the 50% appointment takes place at SW2 level (senior researcher) with a contract of indefinite duration, where you will be part of the Operational Directorate (OD) "Solar Physics and Space Weather".


At the VUB, the candidate is appointed as a 10% ZAP lecturer with a temporary appointment for a period of five years, renewable after positive evaluation, and as a 40% postdoctoral researcher, where you will be part of the Department of Applied Physics and Photonics (TONA) and the research group "Brussels Photonics" (B-PHOT) of the VUB’s Faculty of Engineering.


More information about the research group B-PHOT is to be found on 


The current state of the ECO space mission concept is described in the papers:


Information on the ESA Earth Explorer program can be found at


Information on the Belspo FEDt-WIN programme can be found at


5 - Interested?

Is this the job you’ve been dreaming of?


Then apply, at the latest on 26/05/2024 , via , and upload the following documents:

  •  an extended motivation letter (max. 4 A4 pages) including:
    • personal motivation;
    • a vision on the future research;
    • development of an ESA Earth Explorer space mission;
    • guidance of master and Phd students;
    • funding of PhD students;
    • familiarisation with ROB and VUB;
    • initial ideas on the creation of a joint research group, education;
  • a CV including a full list of publications and other elements relevant for the job description above;
  • a copy of the relevant diplomas (master and PhD – not applicable for VUB-alumni) and, in case relevant, the required language certificates.


Do you have questions about the job content? Contact Steven Dewitte en/of Francis Berghmans at [email protected] - [email protected] .


Would you like to know what it’s like to work at the VUB? Go to , and find all there is to know about our campuses, benefits, strategic goals and your future colleagues.


Would you like more information about EUTOPIA? Go to , and read more about the role of the VUB in the development of the EUTOPIA alliance. 

Research Field
Years of Research Experience
4 - 10

Research Field
Environmental science
Years of Research Experience
4 - 10

Research Field
Years of Research Experience
4 - 10

Research Field
Years of Research Experience
4 - 10

Additional Information
Website for additional job details

Work Location(s)
Number of offers available
Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)
Postal Code
Boulevard de la Plaine 2

Where to apply


Postal Code



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