Senior Researcher position (100%) - 50% KBR/ 50% VUB FED-tWIN mandate
Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)

Senior Researcher position (100%) - 50% KBR/ 50% VUB FED-tWIN mandate

Belgium 08 Feb 2021


The Vrije Universiteit Brussel is the offshoot of the French-speaking Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) that was founded in 1834 by a Brussels lawyer with Flemish origins, Pierre-Théodore Verhaegen.
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State University
Host Country
08 Feb 2021
Study level
Opportunity type
Eligible Countries
This opportunity is destined for all countries
Eligible Region
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1 - Company profile

For almost 50 years, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel has stood for freedom, equality and connectedness. These values are strongly present on our campuses, in our students as well as our staff. At the VUB, you’ll find a diverse collection of personalities: pure innovators, but especially people who are 100% their authentic selves. With about 3,500 employees, we are the largest Flemish-speaking employer in Brussels, an international city with which we are all too happy to be affiliated and around which our four campuses are located.

Our education and research are grounded in the principles of free research with an eye on human progress. We disapprove of every purely authoritative argument and guarantee the free formation of judgement that is necessary for this basic principle to be incorporated in the community.

The VUB is autonomous and managed democratically. As such, we guarantee fundamental freedoms within our university, as well as the right of the university community to be involved in making and checking university policy.

The mission of the university includes:

2 - Job Description


In the first five years of the mandate, the teaching task will be limited in accordance with the objective of the function. The candidate will contribute to the Master programs in which the department provides education with a 6SP course on Data Science in the cultural heritage sector. In addition, guest lectures and research-related workshops at both institutions and their partners are part of the duties. The candidate will also supervise internships, Master's theses and PhDs.


The Belgian government has invested considerably in the digitization of the collections of the Federal Scientific Institutions, for example the digitization of the Belgian press (1830-1950). Although the digitization of these valuable Belgian literary, cultural and historical heritage collections is an important step forward, the real potential of these sources for research is still insufficiently exploited. Without the help of advanced digital methods, it is simply impossible to extract additional value from this large quantity of mostly unstructured data. The candidate, with his/her combined position, will change this by helping to set up the KBR Data Science Lab. The FED-tWIN researcher is expected to conduct and supervise groundbreaking research (at Ma and PhD level) within DIMA as well as to acquire competitive research resources. He/she will initiate and coordinate several, also simultaneous,

research trajectories leading to the development of applications that increase the value of the digitized and born-digital collections in the cultural heritage sector using data- and model-driven artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning (ML). In particular, the function aims on the one hand to improve/automate the digitization workflow (e.g. automatic quality assessment) and on the other hand to develop innovative library services (e.g. document recognition and processing, iconography) based on new mathematical concepts, theories and tools.


- mathematical data science

- data- & knowledge-driven AI/ML

- digitization workflows in libraries

- information harvesting & iconography in libraries


The candidate becomes a member of the Digitization Department at the KBR and the Department of Mathematics and Data Science at the VUB. In addition to strengthening the collaboration and research lines between KBR and DIMA, he/she will also contribute to the operational and administrative tasks of the departments as well as to the valorisation of the research on the KBR collections, both within the (inter)national research community (R&D projects, ...) as well as to interested bodies and the general public (outreach).

3 - Job profile

As a formal minimum requirement, the applicant must hold a doctorate in Science - Mathematics, Computer Science or Engineering awarded on the basis of an original dissertation.

The doctorate may not have been defended more than 12 years ago (counting from the day of submitting the application). This period of 12 years is extended by one year for each absence due to pregnancy,

parental or adoption leave, as well as any long term absence due to illness of the candidate or any long term absence due to illness of a first-degree family member.

 degree or diploma. 

We offer a full-time Senior Research position for an initial period of 5 years, renewable twice upon positive evaluation, with prospects for permanent employment at the end of this mandate. The position consists of two 50% contracts at the KBR (scientific personnel, level SW2, 19 hours/week) and VUB (ZAP, lecturer level) respectively.

Female candidates are particularly encouraged to apply.

Each first appointment is also dependent on the successful teaching of a trial lesson.

The candidate should be willing to hold both half-time positions and should also apply for both positions. It is not possible to apply for only one of the two half-time positions. The candidate shall abide by the regulations of both institutions.

Ideally, the candidate has:

The candidate writes and speaks English fluently. Knowledge of Dutch on recruitment and experience with the library sector are a plus.

Language requirements KBR:

This position is open to candidates who can be assigned to the Dutch language role, in application of the rules laid down by the laws on the use of languages in administrative matters.

Language requirements VUB:

Members of academic faculty with teaching duties are required to prove their command of the teaching language. E.g.: for teaching in English the candidate provides evidence of proficiency in English at C1 level by submitting a language certificate (or a waiver).

The following chart provides an overview of the language proficiency requirements:

The candidate is expected to subscribe to the university’s vision of education. (The full text in relation to this is available on the university website.)

Every initial appointment is also dependent on the successful teaching of a trial lesson.

Members of the academic staff who, as title-holders, are charged with teaching assignments, must be able to demonstrate the required knowledge of the language of instruction for the relevant course units. Example: When a course unit is taught in English, the candidate is required to have the appropriate certificate. More information about the regulations concerning the language proficiency you can find via  

4 - Offer

As an employee of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, you’ll work, every day, in a dynamic, diverse and multilingual environment. Our campuses are located in the middle of a green oasis at the edge of the capital city of Flanders, Belgium and Europe. That city centre, with all its opportunities and possibilities, is easily accessed by public transport in less than half an hour.

Depending on your experience and your academic merits, you’ll receive a salary in one of the grades that have been set by the government. Standard inclusions include hospitalisation insurance and the free use of public transport for your home–work commute. And if you prefer to bike to work? There’s compensation for that too. On both campuses, there are extensive sport facilities available to you and childcare facilities within walking distance.

For more information on what it’s like to work at the VUB, go to

5 - Additional information

6 - Application

Your application must include the following as a minimum:

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