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R&D Professional Circular Economy – Impact assessment

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

Job description

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

To maximize 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 located in the following three domains:

  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, efforts are being made to use non-fossil, mineral and circular raw materials to make the industry more sustainable and make new value chains possible.

On the other hand, existing industrial processes are being reexamined in the light of more energy and material efficient process management in which material design, separation technology (including sorbents and membranes), chemistry, electrochemistry and bioprocess technology are applied to make this possible.

Within the ADVANCE team (Assessment & Development of Value networks) we develop methodologies, models and tools for governments and industry that help them make the right decisions to unlock the potential of the circular economy.

Job Description

  • You work as a researcher in research assignments for policymakers and industry and in funded research projects (e.g. Horizon Europe).
  • Your projects focus on evaluating the sustainability (environmental, economic and social) of products, systems and circular strategies. Life cycle analysis (LCA) is one of the methods you will use for this.
  • You work in a team on research projects that map the underlying mechanisms of the circular economy. You convert the acquired knowledge into quantitative tools and methods that map the environmental impact, the economic costs and benefits and the social impact. These tools and methods support policymakers and companies in evaluating existing strategies and estimating the impact of future policies.
  • You look at existing methods and tools with a critical eye and you are aware of scientific developments in this area. Based on this, you formulate proposals for improving existing or developing new methods to map the impact of the circular economy. You ensure innovation in our field in the field of further development of LCA and circularity methods, scenario analysis, digitalization and data processing.
  • You further expand your network with an international dimension with a view to tapping into new opportunities for VITO in the playing field of the circular economy. You also contribute to the preparation of quotations for governments and industrial customers.
  • You translate the results into useful advice for governments and industrial customers. You present and publish the project results on (inter)national forums and also ensure knowledge building on this theme among your team members.

Job requirements


  • You have a Master's or PhD degree in a relevant field. Knowledge in the field of sustainability and circular economy is a requirement. A doctoral degree is a plus.
  • You have an interest in and knowledge of measuring the environmental and economic impact of technologies and policy options (life cycle assessment, life cycle costing…). Moreover, you are able to think about this in a critical way in order to develop better measurement methods and indicators.
  • You have at least 2 years of relevant experience in conducting LCA studies (preferably applied to circular services or products). You have experience with advanced LCA software programs (e.g. SimaPro, GaBi, OpenLCA) and with data processing. Knowledge of Python and Brightway is a strong plus.
  • Experience in one of the following sectors is a plus: textiles, electronics, aerospace, plastics.
  • You have a customer-oriented attitude and an eye for opportunities. Enthusiasm and entrepreneurship are qualities that characterize you.
  • You are also a creative, flexible thinker and doer, with a scientifically critical attitude.
  • You have strong communication skills and are able to express yourself clearly in Dutch and English, both orally and in writing.

Some examples of projects

  • In the 'Circular Bonding' project we investigated the possible environmental and economic benefits of decomposable adhesives for a circular manufacturing industry.
  • In the SCIRT project (coordinated by VITO) we evaluated the environmental and social impacts of the six demonstrators in the project. These demonstrators validate textile value chains based on recycled fibres. In this project we are also developing a True Cost Tool with which the actual costs (economic, but also social and environmental) of textiles are mapped out.
  • We conducted a PEF (Product Environmental Footprint) study for FEDIOL (sector organization of the vegetable oil and protein meal industry in the EU) to map the environmental impacts of vegetable oils.
  • In projects for the European Space Agency (ESA), we investigate the environmental impact of space missions, identify hotspots and formulate eco-design measures to reduce the impact. We do this both for specific missions and in more detail focused on specific parts (e.g. electronics).

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.