The Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences recruits a doctor in science or engineering in the field of Marine Biogeochemistry and Sediment Dynamics for the Belspo Project 2022-2025 (3 years) RV/21/PiNS Particles in the North Sea


Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) dynamics are primarily controlled by tidal and meteorological forcing, by biological activity, and are dependent of the particles’ physical and chemical properties. Measurements of SPM, particulate organic carbon (POC), nitrogen (PON) and transparent exopolymer particles (TEP) concentrations can be used  for the calibration of a mathematical model that yields valuable complementary information, such as the fresh and mineral-associated fractions of the particulate organic matter (POM). Once calibrated, the mathematical model can be applied to upgrade SPM concentration measurements derived from optical or acoustic sensors or from remote sensing, thereby obtaining secondary data products that cover scales beyond those of discrete in-situ measurements. The aim of the proposal is to change the scope of in-situ observations from merely a collection of local data towards the improvement and confirmation of dynamical models that describe fundamental aspects of SPM composition and its fluxes in the whole North Sea and the English Channel.


The Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS) is one of the ten federal scientific institutions in Belgium that are governed by Belspo. The institute aims to provide the scientific world, public authorities and civil society with good and relevant science, appropriate advice, opening up avenues of discovery in nature, its long history and its sustainable management. The scientific personnel includes biologists, oceanographers, geologists, engineers, geographers, physicists, bioengineers and mathematicians, which facilitates multidisciplinary research. The RBINS has three scientific operational directorates. The OD Operational Natural Environment envisages being a centre of excellence in fundamental and applied research of biodiversity and ecosystems in support of the protection and sustainable management of the natural environment. Around 100 collaborators are spread over 2 locations in Brussels and Ostend. They have a large and diverse expertise and a strong reputation in their fields that include oceanography, modelling, ecology, sedimentology, nature conservation and protection, biodiversity, chemistry, molecular biology, databases and image processing.


You will be responsible for:

  • the execution of four measuring campaigns in the North Sea and the English Channel on board of the RV Belgica, each about 14 days;
  • the analysis of the obtained data using statistical modelling approaches;
  • the publication of the results in scientific reports and in peer-reviewed papers.

These tasks will be executed in close collaboration with collegues from the RBINS (BE), GEOMAR (GE), IFREMER (FR) and HEREON (GE).


  • PhD in Science or Engineering in domains that matches the vacancy.


  • You have demonstrated scientific output in one of the following domains: biogeochemistry, sediment dynamics, ecology  and/or physical oceanography),
  • You have participated in marine expeditions on research vessels as participant or chief scientist,
  • You have experience with marine data analysis and statistical modelling,
  • You are networked in biogeochemical and/or SPM research communities,
  • You have excellent communicational skills,
  • You have done research in an international framework or you have international work experience.

We offer

The position consists of a commitment for a period of 3 years as Werkleider/Chef de travaux (scientific staff, grade SW2) at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (rue Vautier, 1000 Brussels, Belgium). Gross monthly salary (full time) ranging from € 4,534.66 to € 6,877.39 (with full reimbursement for commuting by public transport, or a bicycle allowance). The start of the contract is scheduled for November 1st, 2022.

How to apply

Candidates must submit their application file no later than 30 September 2022 by email to Dr. Michael Fettweis ( and Dr. Xavier Desmit (

Further information can be found in this link.