Researcher (M/F/X) for the Defence Laboratories (DLD)

Job description and associated tasks

In the framework of a research project focusing on the development and characterization of heat and electricity production in a BE Defense Base and in a Compound abroad conducted in collaboration with an academic partner, we are looking for a research scientist / engineer with a MSc degree in energy or a related discipline (Energy Science, Sustainable Energy System Management, Sustainable Energy Technology…).


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.


The main objective of this project is to realize an installation that produces hydrogen which can be used – as an energy carrier in time and space – for heating and production of electricity in order to maximize the energy independency in both a building in a BE Defense base and in a compound in Southern Europe. Both options will be taken into account due to different climatological conditions and therefore distinct designs of the production panels. After an analysis, the production panels will be integrated. Furthermore, the implementation of different potential solutions on the demand side will be investigated step-by-step. Collecting data including validation of the predicted hydrogen yields versus the real-life long-term operation will be followed by the evaluation and the adjustment of parameters.

This project combines the know-how of Leuven University and Defence (Royal Military Academy, Directorate General Material Resources and Defence Laboratories). The results of this project can lead to a lower dependence on imports of energy products; it can increase the durability of defence capabilities and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions.

The successful candidate will be, in cooperation with his/her colleagues and partners, responsible for the handling, storage and consumption of all the hydrogen that is produced on site. He/she has to gain knowledge of and/or experience in the following main areas:

  • becoming fully conversant with the relevant regulatory codes and standards especially the requirements for classification in transport and storage of hydrogen,
  • developing the processes to address the transformation of hydrogen in the different final energy forms,
  • gaining experience with relevant computer codes e.g. those for electricity production by fuel cells, or electricity storage by electrolysis with different hydrogen storage strategies in between.

The locations where the theoretical and experimental work will be carried out are as follows: Campus Saffraanberg (B-3800 Sint-Truiden), Royal Military Academy (B-1000 Brussels) and Defence Laboratories (B-1800 Vilvoorde). Occasional travels abroad have to be taken into account because some work will be carried out in a compound in Southern Europe.

Main tasks

The successful candidate will:

  • Monitor, record and analyze results.
  • Write scientific reports, reviews and summaries.
  • Monitor progress of work to ensure compliance.
  • Ensure the strict respect of quality and safety rules.
  • Comply and respect the procedures concerning purchase of goods and services.
  • Perform correctly and in a timely manner the different missions and tasks in collaboration with the different partners of the project.


Technical skills

The applicant shall have:

  • A MSc degree or Ir degree in energy or a related discipline (Energy Science Sustainable Energy System Management, Sustainable Energy Technology,..);
  • Practical background in sustainable energy systems, energy collection and conversion systems is an added value.

Personal skills
  • Ability to work independently and in a multidisciplinary researchteam;
  • Proactive behaviour and commitment;
  • Good oral and written communication skills.
Other skills
  • French/Dutch bilingualism is an asset, as the project will take place in different locations: Campus Saffraanberg (B-3800 Sint-Truiden), Royal Military Academy (B-1000 Brussels), and Defence Laboratories (B-1800 Vilvoorde);
  • Good command of the English language (speaking, writing and reading);
  • Good command of Microsoft Office tools.

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, to be agreed with the applicant;
    • A long-term, full-time contract with the Patrimony of the Royal Military Academy (you will not be a civil servant). The financing of this contract is tied to the MSP/21-06 project, which lasts 4 years;
    • Wage scale: A11 (holders of a MSc) / A21 (holders of an Ir degree).
  • 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 within Belgium) / bike allowance;
    • Free access to the on-campus sport infrastructure;
    • On-campus restaurant and cafeteria with discount on the daily menu.
  • Workplaces 
    • Main workplace: Defence Laboratories (DLD) : Quartier Major Housiau, Martelarenstraat 181, B-1800 Vilvoorde (Peutie);
    • Campus Saffraanberg : Luikersteenweg 371, B-3800 Sint-Truiden;
    • Royal Military Academy Department of Physics - Laboratory for Plasma Physics : Hobbemastraat 8, B-1000 Brussels;
    • Occasional travels abroad (Europe) and meetings at partner’s premises.


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 (indicating also the date when the applicant could be able to start);
  • a CV;
  • a scan of your ID card (both sides);
  • the filled out security document above.

To Karen PIETERS, and to Dr Helena Bruyninckx.

Please mention clearly the reference of the project: “MSP/21-06”.

Application deadline: June 30th, 2021.

first pre-selection will be conducted based on the received documents. Preselected applicants meeting the requirements will be invited to an interview (+/- 30min) in the Defence Laboratories (Kw Maj Housiau, Martelarenstraat 181, 1800 Vilvoorde (Peutie), building B13).