R&D Circular economy - Digital technology

Job description

In the research theme ‘Sustainable materials management’, VITO focuses on accelerating the transition to a circular economy.  We are convinced that digital technologies (like artificial intelligence, image recognition, sensors and blockchain) will play an important role in this transition, as explained in the ECERA white paper to which VITO contributed.  These technologies enable the flow of information between the different actors in the value chain and support the scaling up of product service systems.  That’s why we develop evaluation frameworks and tools for governments and industrial parties that use the data that is generated by these new technologies to unlock the potential of the circular economy.

  • You work in a team on research projects in which we chart the underlying mechanisms of the circular economy.  You translate the acquired knowledge into concrete quantitative tools and methods.
  • You actively contribute to the extension of our project portfolio in which the evaluation of economical, ecological and social impact using several data sources (both traditional and based on new data technology) is essential.  You contribute to proposal writing for industrial and government clients and you are responsible for project execution.
  • You are interested in digital technologies (artificial intelligence, internet of things, big data, sensors…) and how these can contribute to a circular economy.  You have the necessary expertise to tackle this question, both from a practical and from a systems perspective.
  • You extend your international network in order to tap into new opportunities for VITO in the area of circular economy.  You present and publish project results on (inter)national for and you contribute to the knowledge building in the team related to this topic.

Job requirements

  • You have a Master’s degree in a topic that gives you a strong foundation (Electronics, industrial sciences, Master in Artificial Intelligence and Business management...) to study the use of digital technology in a circular economy. A PhD title is an asset.
  • You know the structural world of Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, etc... and can follow high level projects from A - Z
  • You are motivated and have the necessary competences to work in a context of sustainability and circular economy.
  • You are able to synthesize results into practical advice for governments and industrial clients.
  • You have a customer-oriented attitude and an eye for opportunities. Enthousiasm and entrepreneurship are two of your typical qualities.
  • You take the initiative and you are a team player who can adjust to changing circumstances in a dynamic environment.
  • You are creative, flexible and you have a hands-on attitude, based on a critical and scientific mindset.
  • You have strong communication skills and you can express yourself clearly and accurately, in Dutch and in English both orally and in writing.

Some project examples

  • In the ‘Sloopwijzer’ project VITO develops, in cooperation with the demolition management organization TRACIMAT, technology that estimates the value of building materials in case of a selective demolition. In cooperation with VITO colleagues from another team that develops the image recognition software, you would be responsible for the algorithms that estimate the material value on the bases of these images. This value is estimated for several circular alternatives like reuse and recycling.
  • In the ‘SHAREPAIR’ project VITO cooperates with a number of European partners to develop an integrated approach to support the repair of appliances by consumers. VITO focuses on the digital technology that should allow citizens to find the necessary information to be able to repair and to estimate the ecological impact, compared with a reference scenario.
  • In the ‘Foresightee’ project VITO cooperated with Foresightee, a startup that has developed an algorithm to forecast the demand for fresh food to decrease food surplus and waste. VITO helps them to estimate the economic and environmental impact of their technology


  • If you're tired of the frequent commute, you've come to the right place. We work 'activity based', our activities bring us to our location. Part-time work remote from home, our headquarter in Mol, or working from a satellite office in Antwerp-Berchem, Genk, Ghent or Ostend is possible.
  • A competitive salary with a range of benefits including allowances, insurances, and a modular vacation package
  • A team of nice colleagues, experts in their fields, who will guide, support and interact with you
  • Interesting opportunities to interact with partners in industry and academia
  • Innovation is our asset, so it goes without saying that we offer our employees the opportunity to follow additional training courses and stay up to date in their field of expertise
  • You will be part of an organization with an international reputation, known for its advanced technological research and scientific consultancy