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Scientist (m/f)



Start date
Deadline for applications
Job title description

Characterization of the composition of the atmosphere using space instruments in the Planetary Atmospheres group.

Division, context

The royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (IASB-BIRA) is a scientific institution of the Belgian Federal Space Pole located in Uccle (Brussels). Its principal mission is the development of scientific and technological expertise in the field of  aeronomy.

One of its research domains is planetary aeronomy, which focuses on the atmospheres of terrestrial planets. IASB-BIRA has developed expertise in both space-based observations and theoretical understanding of planetary atmospheres and has also built instruments for space missions to Venus and Mars.


The work will consist in supporting the activities of the Planetary Atmospheres group and in particular, those related to the characterization of the composition of the atmosphere using space instruments.

Specifically, the candidate will be responsible for:

  • Managing the VenSpec-H instrument in development for the ESA EnVision mission, and the team of scientists and engineers involved with the instrument;
  • Developing, improving and maintaining code and algorithms for the calibration
  • The support of science and operations of ongoing science missions within BIRA-IASB;
  • The support to the design and development of new space instruments for future flight opportunities;

In particular, the candidate will contribute to:

The management of the different activities related to the management of the VenSpec-H instrument: managing the VenSpec-H engineering and science team at BIRA-IASB and for the international consortium, organizing meetings and teleconferences, document management, budget management, and reporting;

The support of the ongoing development of the VenSpec-H instrument: advise the scientific requirements, develop tools and analyses to characterize the instrument performance, and writing of scientific and technical documents; and analysis of spectra by space-borne instruments;

The support to the science activities carried out by the group:

  • Development of radiative retrieval codes and techniques;
  • Support the development and dissemination of planetary climatologies;
  • Support the development of tools to investigate available data in order to produce higher-level
  • Advising PhD and Masters students data (densities, temperatures, maps, etc.);
Required competences

The candidate must hold a PhD degree in Sciences, Engineering or similar with at least 10 years of experience.

Management skills:

  • Expertise in large teams’ management (including scientists, engineers, and industry);
  • Expertise in project management (budget, planning, meetings);
  • Expertise in space research (analyzing space data, developing analysis tools)

Programming skills:

  • Very good knowledge of programming languages (Python, C, Fortran, Matlab, IDL, OPENMP, MPI, etc.) under UNIX and Windows environments;
  • Good knowledge of data management and techniques (SQL, Git, SVN, etc.);
  • Very good knowledge of different file formats (HDF5, NETCDF, RPN, PDS4, FITS): ability to write specific tools to read/write/convert files and manage large datasets;
  • Good knowledge of observation planning software (SPICE, ESA MAPPS);
  • Good knowledge of UNIX and Windows environments;

Generic skills:

  • Fluent knowledge of English (written and spoken).
  • High level of autonomy, as well as active participation in a small team.
  • Good communication skills (presenting results to the team and to the scientific community); ability to write reports, documentation, scientific papers and press releases for, and on behalf of, the
    scientific team;
  • Interest in the scientific activities of the team and of the institute.
Offer and benefits
  • Salary is according to the federal regulations for scientific contractual personnel on scale SW2.
  • Dynamic working atmosphere with national and international contacts.
  • Pleasant work environment in a scientific institution located in a green setting in Uccle, Brussels.
  • Flexible schedule within the 38 hours week
  • Attractive annual leave policy (minimum 26 days by year)
  • Full refund of commuting expenses when using public transportation, compensation when using the bicycle.
  • Possibility to acquire a bonus for bilinguism (Dutch/French)
  • Possibility of training (to be followed during working hours)
  • Possibility to work from home
  • Access to special advantages arranged for the employees of the federal scientific institutions: museum card, hospitalization insurance, reductions via the Fed+ card, etc.
  • On-site childcare during school holidays in July and August.

Send a complete CV and an application letter with reference: “SCI_D43VS” to:

  • a-c(dot)vandaele(at)aeronomie(dot)be
  • hr-ae(at)aeronomie(dot)be (in cc)


Envision Venus mission
More about BIRA-IASB

The Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB) is a Belgian Federal Scientific Institute.

Since its founding in 1964, BIRA-IASB has been conducting research and providing public services in space aeronomy, i.e. the physics and chemistry of Earth's atmosphere and other planets, and outer space.

Our scientists use instruments on the ground, in the air, on board balloons or in space and computer models.