FEDtWIN ENERGY job opening in Belgium

Annonce transmise par Pierre Henri (LAGRANGE)



(ref. ZAP-2020-202)

_Last modification : Friday, December 18, 2020_


A full-time tenure track academic vacancy as an independent academic

staff (50%) - work leader (50%) is vacant within the framework of the

BIRA-IASB FED-tWIN research programme between the Science, Engineering

and Technology Group, Faculty of Science, Departement of Mathematics,

Division of Plasma-astrophysics and the Federal Scientific Institute


BIRA-IASB is a Belgian Federal Scientific Institute conducting research

and providing services in space aeronomy, i.e. the physics and chemistry

of Earth’s atmosphere and other planets, and outer space. The present

research domain of our department Space Physics concerns the division

“Solar Wind” (D13). BIRA-IASB has strong experience in space weather

and in developing kinetic models of solar wind interactions with the

terrestrial magnetosphere.

https://www.aeronomie.be/index.php/en/researchdomains/space-physics [1]

The KU Leuven team has considerable expertise in space and solar

physics, in using Machine Learning and in the development of simulations

and models of space and solar plasmas to track the development of

energetic particles.   The recent collaborative work of the two teams

has illustrated the high relevance of theoretical methods for improving

our understanding of space plasmas. With this joint research profile, we

wish to deepen this collaboration between the two groups and address

critical challenges to our understanding of the solar wind and

magnetospheric plasma conditions that lead to suprathermal particles,

which are the most variable part of energetic particles playing a role

in space weather. With the guidance and support from both groups, the

postdoctoral researcher will pursue innovative and interdisciplinary

research using theoretical and statistical rate methods as well as

numerical modelling and machine learning.

Website unit [2]



* You will elaborate test particle simulations embedded within

large-scale MHD models on space plasmas, as well as study particle

distributions using methods of supervised and unsupervised machine

learning (ML).

* At BIRA-IASB and in collaboration with the KU Leuven team, you will

address major remaining issues related to energetic particles in space

plasmas using the kinetic approach, and you will implement different

mechanisms in numerical models at different scales.


* You ensure high quality education in the bachelor and master

programme of mathematics at KU Leuven with a clear commitment to the

quality of the entire educational programme. The teaching load will be

in accordance with a 50% employment at KU Leuven. If you do not speak

Dutch at the start of your appointment, your initial teaching duties

will be in English. Later in your career, you will also teach in Dutch

and possibly also teach a basic mathematics course in another KU Leuven

programme. You also contribute to the pedagogical project of the

university through the supervision of master theses. You develop your

teaching in accordance with KU Leuven's vision on activating and

research-based education and make use of the possibilities for the

educational professionalisation offered by the faculty and the


* The official language at KU Leuven is Dutch. If you do not speak

Dutch (or do not speak it well) at the start of employment, KU Leuven

will provide language training to enable you to take part in meetings.

You are required to master the Dutch language at the CERF level B2

within five years of being appointed. To teach a course in Dutch or in

English, you need to master that language at native or CERF level C1.

* You will supervise and support PhD students and contribute to the

preparation and management of new research projects. You will have a

collaborative spirit and liaise with collaborators. You need to be able

to organize and troubleshoot your work independently, document it

thoroughly, communicate results and lead a team in a transparent and

professional manner


* You will play an important role in society through your research and

teaching, but also through your service to the society. Depending on the

needs and your personal interests, this can consist of participation in

the public debate, science communication, contributions to

policy-supporting research projects for governments from the local to

the European and international level, etc. You will take up an active

role in councils, educational committees, working groups, etc.


We are looking for a highly motivated, well-organized and dynamic

candidate with a high level of independence and creative thinking.

* You hold a PhD in Physics, Engineering or Mathematics obtained at

the earliest 12 years prior to the submission date of the job

application. The 12-year period is extended by one year for each

maternity, parental and adoption leave of the candidate and for each

long-term sick leave of the candidate or his/her immediate family.

* You have a relevant publication track record with several first

author publications.

* You are eager to learn new techniques and you show a keen interest

and curiosity driven approach to scientific questions

* You have expertise in programming languages, preferably applied to

Machine Learning ML (Python, TensorFlow, Keras, PyTorch), to MHD, fluid,

kinetic theory and/or to particle in cell (PIC) methods (C++, MPI).

* You have demonstrable expertise in space physics, preferentially for

the solar wind and the magnetosphere. Experience in fitting methods is a


* You have experience in writing research proposals, in working with

deadlines and being involved simultaneously in multiple projects.

* You are a team player.

* You are able to guide PhD students and coordinate the projects

between our teams.

* Proficiency in English is required.

* The official language used at KU Leuven is Dutch. If you do not

speak Dutch (or do not speak it well) at the start of employment, KU

Leuven will provide language training to enable you to take part in

meetings. Before teaching courses in Dutch or English, you will be given

the opportunity to learn Dutch, respectively English, to the required



* Within the FED-tWIN framework, KU Leuven offers a 50% appointment as

a tenure track professor in combination with an appointment of

indefinite duration as a 50% contractual researcher (work leader) at

BIRA-IASB. At KU Leuven, candidates will be recruited as assistant

professor in a tenure track position with evaluation after 5 years. In

case of positive evaluation after 5 years, the candidate will then be

appointed to the rank of associate professor. In Belgium, assistant

professors are allowed to be main supervisor of a PhD and can

autonomously apply as principal investigator for research grants. KU

Leuven is offering financial resources to new professors to start up

their own research lines. They can also apply for own project funding.

* To speed up the research in the first phase, KU Leuven has the

option of applying for a starting grant of 100,000 euros. This

scholarship is for new professors without substantial other funds, and

who are appointed at least 50%.

* The starting date is negotiable (but before the end of November


* Access to state-of-the-art infrastructure at BIRA-IASB in Brussels

and KU Leuven.

* A stimulating, research work environment where quality,

professionalism and team spirit are encouraged.

* Different extra-legal benefits are offered both at KU Leuven and


* Flexible schedule and possibility to work occasionally from home.

* Refund of commuting expenses when using public transportation or


* Access to special advantages arranged for employees of the federal

scientific institutions (e.g. possibility to follow trainings, free

childcare in July/August.

* The opportunity to interact with several world-class investigators

at both institutions, as well as in Europe and abroad (through an

established network and research consortia).

* For the KU Leuven contract a salary in grade 14 is offered.

* At BIRA-IASB, the salary will follow federal regulations for the

scientific career in the SW2 scale, with possibility to acquire a

French-Dutch bilingualism bonus.

* All relevant work experience (public + private sector) will be

considered when determining seniority.


For more information please contact Prof. dr. Viviane Pierrard

(viviane.pierrard@aeronomie.be) or Prof. dr. ir. Giovanni Lapenta, tel.:

+32 16 32 79 65, mail: giovanni.lapenta@kuleuvenbe. For problems with

online applying, please contact solliciteren@kuleuven.be.

Applicants are asked to add the following components to their candidacy:

- a bio sketch in which they demonstrate their added value as an

academic researcher for the core tasks of research, education and

services in their past career and for their future activities (maximum 2


- a file about their five most important publications or realizations;

- an extensive CV (including a complete publication list);

- a research plan with attention to the development of a research line

and associated research team with an eye for collaboration with fellow

researchers within the employment entity (maximum 4 pages);

- their vision on academic education and its organization (maximum 2


- their contribution to service activities (internal representation

through membership in councils and administrative bodies, contributions

to society through education and research,outreach and science

communication) (maximum 1 page);

- their vision of leadership (maximum 1 page).

KU Leuven and BIRA-IASB place great importance on research integrity and

ethical conduct and will therefore ask you to sign an integrity

statement upon appointment.

You can apply for this job no later than February 15, 2021 via the

online application tool [3]




[1] https://www.aeronomie.be/index.php/en/researchdomains/space-physics%20

[2] https://wis.kuleuven.be/CmPA

[3] http://www.kuleuven.be/eapplyingforjobs/55973725