Research Engineer / Scientist (M/F) / Department of CISS

Job description and associated tasks

In the framework of a research project financed by the Belgian Defence, we are looking for a research scientist/engineer with a master's degree in Mathematics, Physics, Computer Science or Electrical Engineering (Applied Sciences, Engineering Sciences).


The Royal Military Academy of Belgium (RMA) is a military institution of university education responsible for the basic academic, military and physical training of future officers, and for the continued advanced training of officers during their active career in the Defense department. RMA is also conducting scientific research at university level for projects funded by Defense or by external sources.


To inflict damage on a target by placing a small spot of light on a target requires laser powers of at least several kW’s. Past research activities performed by the CISS department have established a solid knowledge of what HEL (High Energy Lasers) can do at short distances in a controlled environment. Extrapolating these results to larger distances in a realistic environment is difficult because of the huge deformations of the laser beam while propagating to an atmosphere characterized by a specific density, temperature and pressure. A second challenge to move forward with the HEL as a possible future weapon is the aspect of laser safety. The possibility to train and operate HEL in a safe manner needs to be investigated knowing that a deterministic approach will probably be too conservative.

Overall, two research questions will be addressed in this project before we can answer the question asked in the title:

  • How can we describe and quantify the impact of the atmosphere on HEL beam propagation, and consequently assess the capability of a HEL to fulfill a specific mission?
  • How can we perform a trustworthy yet practically feasible laser safety analysis that allows us to train and operate a HEL?

The study will last 4 years and may lead to a PhD. The researcher will be integrated in the research unit lead by Dr Ir Marijke Vandewal. This research unit is part of the Signal and Image Centre where about 20 researchers are active.

Main tasks

Performing the research tasks of the project allotted to the Royal Military Academy: literature study to familiarize with the state of the art HEL and laser safety analysis on the one hand and atmospheric propagation in the context of HEL on the other hand. Creation of a laboratory set-up, completed with some simulation models where needed. Develop scenario’s for feasible and reliable high energy measurements together with partner institutes. Analysis of the acquired data and evaluation of the results allowing answering the two research questions.

The results will have to be communicated to the other members of the research consortium and in the scientific literature, mostly in English.


Technical skills

The applicant shall have:

  • A master's degree in Mathematics, Physics, Computer Science or Electrical Engineering (Applied Sciences, Engineering Sciences);
  • Training or experience in lasers is highly recommended;

  • Training or experience in modelling of the atmosphere is highly recommended;

  • Training or experience in high energy lasers is an added value;

  • Training or experience in laser safety is an added value.

Personal skills
  • You conduct scientific research in an independent and upright way within a multidisciplinary environment;
  • You think in an innovative and creative way;
  • You communicate your results in a clear, concise and precise manner;
  • You take initiatives;
  • You are involved and results oriented;
  • You are honest, loyal toward the institution and respect confidentiality;
  • You plan and manage proactively your self-development, while being critical to your own functioning and striving to your self-improvement;
  • You improve the team spirit and solve interpersonal conflicts;
  • You commit yourself in your job by giving the best of your aptitudes in striving toward the highest quality standards and persevere when needed;
  • You solve problems autonomously and find alternatives or solutions;
  • You behave in a respectful way toward the others, their ideas and opinions as well as toward procedures and instructions;
  • You are flexible for change and adapt yourself;
  • You are capable of writing qualitative technical reports on your work;
  • You are capable to manage, direct and assist with the composition of deliverables towards the funding authority;
  • You are capable to write and present scientific papers about your work;
  • You will be working with international partners from across NATO as well as with other researchers of the CISS department. The ability to work well in a team is therefore an absolute must.
Other skills
  • The applicant shall have excellent knowledge of English (oral and written);
  • Minimum knowledge of French or Dutch is an added value.

Specific requirements

  • The researcher may be exposed to confidential information and will therefore have to obtain the required security clearance. The candidate must consent with the background check required to obtain this clearance, which will be executed by Belgian Defense.


Points of contact


  • Contract
    • Probable date of recruitment: as soon as possible from the 1st of September 2021, in consultation with the applicant;
    • The candidate will be offered an open-ended contract with the patrimony of the Royal Military Academy for a full-time employment. This does not imply that the candidate will be a civil servant;
    • Wage scale: A11 (holders of a Master’s degree in Science) / A21 (Ir or holders of a Master’s degree in Engineering) / A22 (holders of a PhD);
  • Extra-legal benefits
    • Possibility to obtain a bonus for bilingualism (Dutch/French);
    • Holiday pay;
    • End-of-year bonus;
    • Hospitalization insurance;
    • Free public transport (home-work commute) / bike allowance;
    • Free access to the on-campus sport infrastructure;
    • On-campus restaurant and cafeteria with discount on the daily menu.
  • Workplace 
    • The usual workplace is the Royal Military Academy, 1000 Brussels, occasional travels abroad are possible as well as measurement campaigns off campus and meetings at partner’s.


You will be working in a military environment. For this reason, you will be subject to a security screening.

Please add to your job application a duly completed copy of the following security screening document (currently available only in Dutch or French).

Applicants shall send :

  • a motivational letter;
  • a CV;
  • a scan of your ID card (both sides);
  • the filled out security document above.

To Prof Marijke Vandewal, and to Dr Helena Bruyninckx.

Please mention clearly the reference of the project: “DAP21/10”.

Application deadline: 20th of June 2021.

A first pre-selection will be conducted based on the received documents. Applicants meeting the minimum requirements will be invited to an interview at the Royal Military Academy, rue Hobbema 8, 1000 Brussels. Taking into consideration the COVID-measures, remote / tele-interviews are likely. The date and time of the interview will be communicated to the preselected candidates.