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a Scientist (m/f/x)



Start date
Deadline for applications
Job title description

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.

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 NOMAD instrument on board ExoMars TGO and the team of scientists and engineers involved with the instrument;
  • Developing, improving and maintaining code and algorithms for the calibration
  • Developing, improving and maintaining code and algorithms for analysis of spectra acquired by space-borne instruments;
  • The support to the design and development of new space instruments for future flight opportunities;

In particular, the candidate will contribute to:

  • Manage the different activities related to the management of the NOMAD instrument: planning observations and software patches, leading development of the data pipeline and data delivery to the ESA repository, managing the NOMAD science team, organizing teleconferences and meetings of the project, dissemination of results;
  • Develop tools and methods to calibrate and improve the reduction of data, from raw to scientifically exploitable data, including designing and planning in-flight observations to monitor the calibration of the NOMAD instrument; to investigate anomalies and solutions on behalf of the scientific team;
  • Support the development of tools to investigate the available data in order to produce higher-level data (densities, temperatures, maps, etc.);
  • Support the design and development of the VenSpec-H instrument selected for the EnVision Venus mission, including simulations, operations, calibration (on ground and in-flight), planning of observations.
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);

Programming skills:

  • Very good knowledge of programming languages (Python, MatLab, C, IDL, etc.) under UNIX and Windows environments;
  • Good knowledge of data management and techniques (SQLite, Git, code parallelization, etc.);
  • Very good knowledge of different file formats (HDF5, PDS3, 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.

Applicants should send a complete CV, together with their letter of motivation to and in CC to:

with reference: “SCI_D43”.

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.