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R&D Professional Sustainable Materials Management

  • Mol, Vlaams Gewest, Belgium
R&D & Engineering

Job description

VITO is a Flemish independent research organisation in the field of cleantech and sustainable development. Our goal? To accelerate the transition to a sustainable world.

To maximise our impact, we focus on further strengthening our thought leadership in the field of sustainability and innovation, in line with global, European and Flemish challenges. This expertise and impact is situated in the following three areas:

  1. an economy based on sustainable use of raw materials
  2. solutions for climate adaptation and mitigation
  3. a sustainable living environment

Within the MatCh (Materials & Chemistry) unit, we investigate the use of non-fossil, mineral and circular raw materials to make industry more sustainable and enable new value chains.

On the other hand, existing industrial processes are reconsidered in the light of more energy and material efficient process operations where material shaping, separation technology (a.o. sorbents and membranes), chemistry, electrochemistry and bioprocess technology are applied to enable this.

We are convinced that on top of technological innovations, broader societal innovations among policymakers and companies are crucial in this transition. In the ADVANCE team (25-30 researchers), we develop methodologies, models and tools for governments and for industry and provide advice that helps them make the right decisions for unlocking the potential of the circular economy. Within this team, we are looking for a researcher in the 'waste and materials management' domain.

  • You will collect and analyse data to map material flows on a regional, national or international scale. Besides quantities, you also pay attention to sustainability and criticality of these material streams. Next to statistical data, you also have the necessary skills to use digital data flows.
  • Based on this analysis, you investigate alternative ways of dealing with these materials to achieve more sustainable management and meet the needs of industry. This could include, for example, recycling technologies, waste collection and sorting systems or even improved product design.
  • To enable and facilitate this analysis, you develop scientifically relevant methods and tools. You present the results of your analysis to companies and governments.
  • You expand your network with an international dimension with a view to opening up new opportunities for VITO in the playing field of the circular economy. You also contribute to drawing up offers for industrial customers and governments.
  • You present and publish the project results at (inter)national forums and also ensure knowledge building on this theme among your team members.

Job requirements

  • You hold a Master's degree in (bio)engineering sciences or equivalent through experience. A doctoral degree is a plus.
  • You are motivated to engage in a sustainability and circular economy context.
  • Experience in materials and/or waste management is a plus.
  • You can synthesise results into useful advice for governments and industrial clients, with a customer-oriented attitude and an eye for new opportunities.
  • Furthermore, you are a creative, flexible thinker and doer with a scientifically critical attitude.
  • You have strong communication skills and are able to express yourself clearly in English and Dutch, both orally and in writing.

Some examples of projects

  • In a project for the Port of Antwerp-Bruges, we investigated how the port could play a role as a recycling hub. We first mapped the potentially interesting waste streams and then looked for synergies. On this basis, we opted for the chemical recycling of plastics. Together with partners, we mapped the availability of material sources for chemical recycling, converting sorted plastic waste back into raw materials.
  • In the FUTURAM project, we are currently working, together with 27 other European partners, to build a knowledge base on the availability of secondary materials and ways to reuse them back in the European economy. Our role in this project focuses on mapping certain industrial waste streams on the one hand, and on developing guidelines to apply the UNFC (United Nations Classification of Resources) method for secondary materials on the other.
  • In projects for OVAM, we evaluate different scenarios for waste and materials management. Last year, for example, we mapped out what the gains in terms of climate impact would be from reusing batteries from electric vehicles. We do this based on our stock-and-flow model which allows us to predict when materials in products will become available again.
  • In the project 'European Topic Centre on Waste and Materials in a Green Economy' for the European Environment Agency (EEA), VITO works together with several other European organisations to collect, analyse and present data and information on policy in the field of waste management and prevention, green economy, efficient use of materials and the transition to a circular economy in Europe. These results are used by policymakers to evaluate current policies and define future approaches.

What can we offer you?

  • The opportunity to be part of an organization with an international reputation, known for its cutting-edge technological research and scientific advice.
  • A competitive salary supplemented with various extra-legal benefits including allowances, insurance and a modular holiday package.
  • Innovation is our most important asset, so it goes without saying that we give our employees the opportunity to learn & further develop themselves both on the job and through training.
  • We work based on activities within VITO. Your activities determine your work location, with your home office also being part of a possible work location (e.g. 1 to 2 days a week given the nature of the position). Work location in case of physical presence is mainly Mol. Requested presence in our other offices is exceptional.