Research Engineer/Scientist (M/F) for the Department of Chemistry

Job description: Research Engineer/Scientist (M/F) for the Royal Military Academy, Department of Chemistry, study MSP-19/04
Publication date: 30 January 2020

Job description and associated tasks

In the framework of a research project financed by Belgian Defence, we are looking for a research scientist with a master's degree in Chemistry or in civil or industrial engineering with a specialisation in Chemistry.

The research has multiple aims. They are all linked to the most commonly used homemade explosives used by terrorists, such as TATP at this moment.

One of the aims is the phlegmatization of these homemade explosives. These are usually very sensitive what makes them difficult to handle. However, when they are found (for example during a house search), they might need to be removed. Different ways of phlegmatizing will be tested, what will allow a maximum safety during transportation of these explosives.

Explosive detection dogs are nowadays often used to discover hidden explosives. A second aim of the research is the investigation of the influence of different factors of the synthesis of the explosives, on the dog’s response. For this part of the research, there will be a close collaboration with the Canine Unit of the Belgian Police.

Finally, there will be research about the post-blast analysis (after an explosion). Only trace amounts of the explosives and their decomposition products can be found. This research will be focused on how to collect samples in order to find a maximum of traces of the used explosive, and on how to analyse these samples (lower detection limit for better detection of traces).


The overall tasks of the candidate will be:

  • Synthesis of homemade explosives in different conditions
  • Sensitivity testing (friction, impact) of different mixtures of explosive and phlegmatization agent
  • Development and application of new analytical procedures (for example water content in explosive, decomposition products of explosives, …)
  • Reporting and presentation of results

The researcher will be integrated in the research unit led by Prof. M.H. Lefebvre in the Laboratory for Energetic Materials and Blast Engineering.

Required skills

Technical skills
  • The applicant shall have a master's degree in Chemistry or in civil or industrial engineering with a specialisation in Chemistry Training
  • Experience in analytical chamistry and laboratory work is an important advantage
  • Experience in 'energetic materials' (explosives or propellants) is also an added value
Specific requirements
  • The successful candidate has to be committed to confidentiality and exclusivity
  • Therefore, he will have to obtain the required security clearance
  • The candidate must consent with the background check required to obtain this clearance, which will be performed by the Belgian Defence
Personal skills
  • The applicant must be able to conduct scientific research at university level and integrate himself in a multidisciplinary research unit
  • Taking initiatives
  • Being involved and results oriented
  • The applicant is honest, loyal towards the institution and respects confidentiality
  • You think in an innovative and creative way
  • You communicate your results in a clear, concise and precise manner
  • 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
Other skills
  • The applicant shall have a good knowledge of English (oral / reading / writing / reporting)
  • Minimum knowledge of French or Dutch is recommended (collaboration with peers)



Point of contact
  • Probable date of recruitment: from 1 April 2020, in agreement with the applicant
  • Status: full-time employment based on an open-ended contract with the Royal Military Academy – Patrimony (you will not 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 (Applied Sciences))
  • Extra-legal benefits:
    • possibility to obtain a bonus for bilingualism (Dutch/French)
    • holiday pay
    • end-of-year bonus
    • hospitalisation insurance
    • free public transport (home-work commute)
    • free access to the on-campus sport infrastructure (after official hours)
    • On-campus restaurant and cafeteria with discount on the daily menu
  • Workplace:
    • Royal Military Academy, Renaissancelaan 30, 1000 Brussels
    • Occasional travels abroad
    • Stimulating work environment

Security verification

docx bestandVeiligheidsscreening (28 kB)




  • Send a motivation letter, a CV and a scan of your ID card (both sides) to Mr Bart Simoens and to Mr Thierry Deprez.
  • You will be working in a military environment. That is why everyone is expected to undergo a safety verification. Please add to your application the filled out document that is attached to the jobdescription.
  • Please mention clearly the reference of the project: MSP-19/04
  • Application deadline:
    29 February 2020
  • The interviews will take place at the Royal Military Academy located at the premises of the Royal Military Academy, Rue Hobbema 8, 1000 Brussels.
  • The date and time of the interview will be communicated to the preselected candidates.