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

Senior Researcher position (100%) - KMI/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
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Eligible Region
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1 - Context

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

Subject area

DEEP: Deep learning combined with Physical Modelling for data quality control, information extraction and forecasting from heterogeneous weather and climate data (Research profile Prf-2020-017_DEEP between KMI and VUB)


The vacancy is open in the context of the FED-tWIN programme, a federal research programme of the FPS Science Policy with the aim of creating sustainable long-term cooperation between the Federal Scientific Institutions and the Belgian Universities through the financing of joint research profiles.  The general theme of the joint KMI-VUB "DEEP research profile" is conceptual research and application of modern data analysis and signal processing techniques, in particular Deep Learning (DL) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to problems of weather forecasting, climate study and geophysics.

Progress in weather forecasting, climate study and geophysics, has always been based on the collection and processing of large amounts of data, combined with physical models, and numerical simulation.  Traditional data processing methods clash with their limits on the one hand due to the quantity and diversity of available observations, and on the other hand due to the demand for high-resolution global weather and climate forecasts.  Data analysis using concepts from Artificial Intelligence, in particular Deep Learning, is a technique that is rapidly improving or replacing the more traditional methods in many application areas.  Because of the central importance of observations in weather, climate and geophysics, the introduction of AI techniques is again an inevitable necessity. The aim of the DEEP researcher is to combine the expertise of the KMI in the field of weather, climate and geophysics with the engineering expertise of the VUB in the field of Deep Learning and Artificial Intelligence.

The position to be filled consists of a half-time position at the KMI and a half-time position at the VUB. 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, as the selected candidate will work within the framework of an integrated KMI-VUB programme, in which he/she can develop his/her own research niche and set up an inter-institutional research group.

About the VUB:

The Vrije Universiteit Brussel has been a leading player in the Flemish Higher Education landscape for 40 years. The University numbers 18.000 students and together with its hospital - UZ Brussel – employs more than 6000 people. The Vrije Universiteit Brussel is the largest Dutch speaking employer in the capital.

Teaching and research at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel are founded on the principle of unfettered inquiry to benefit the progress of mankind. This means rejecting dogmatic positions and guaranteeing the freedom to form opinions without interference; in this way the University aims to ensure the dispersal of the principle of unfettered inquiry throughout society.

The host department at the VUB is ETRO "Electronics and Informatics", which has about 100 FTE and that

End-to-end design of ICT systems as an overarching research theme, grouped under three subsections themes: (i) "multidimensional signal processing and communication" (including the following topics that are essential for DEEP: "big data mining"; "data analytics"; "AI in ICT engineering applications", "image representation, processing, communication and visualization"; "smartnets"; "acceleration of multimedia processing"), (ii) audio visual signal analysis and (iii) micro(nano)- and photo-electronics")

About the KMI:

The Royal Meteorological Institute (RMI) is a household name in Belgium. Everyone knows the KMI from the reliable 24/7 weather forecasts, but the institute does much more. The KMI is the national data, research and knowledge center for weather, climate and geophysics. After all, the KMI works in a context of international cooperation, weather and climate know no boundaries. 

The KMI's scientific research focuses on the support, innovation and continuity of its public tasks. This includes drawing up general weather forecasts and warnings for dangerous weather conditions, climate monitoring, monitoring and archiving of meteorological and geophysical data collection,  managing the required infrastructure and model development.


You will contribute to the education of the department of Electronics and Informatics (ETRO). You will teach a limited number of course units, namely a specialized course unit, for example in the English language master program MACS (Mater in Applied Computer Science), and more generic course units in the Bachelor programs.  You are also supposed to supervise master's theses and doctorates related to your research. 


You will be part of the Scientific Department of Observation of the KMI (50%) and the Electronics Department (ETRO - 50%) within the Faculty of Applied Sciences. The transversal domains within the KMI are:

- again

- climate

- geophysics

Over a period of 15 years, your research will include the definition and implementation of at least one innovative AI in each of these three areas. 

You are further expected to 

More information about the department ETRO can be found on the website:     

More information about the Scientific Service of Observation can be found on the website:


You are expected to contribute to the internal and external services of both institutions and to the valorisation and communication of the research results. 

3 - Job profile

As a formal minimum requirement, the applicant must hold a doctorate in Applied Science or Engineering Sciences, 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 for 2 other terms of 5 years after positive evaluation.

The appointment takes the form of two half-time contracts to KMI and VUB respectively.

A half-time employment contract of indefinite duration (19 hours per week) with the KMI as SW2 (senior researcher).

At the VUB the candidate is appointed at assistant professor level as a 50% ZAP lecturer (bar scale 600) with a temporary appointment for an initial term of 5 years. This can, subject to a positive evaluation, be extended for 2 terms of 5 years with an inclusion in the ZAP framework after 15 years.

Female candidates are particularly encouraged to apply.

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

Ideally, the candidate has:


Admission conditions:

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 - Sollicitatie

Your application must include the following as a minimum:

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