Head of Department Turbomachinery and Propulsion

Department Turbomachinery and Propulsion
Deadline Aug. 31, 2020

The Turbomachinery and Propulsion Department of the von Karman Institute is looking for a new Head to lead it through a period of continuing growth.

The Turbomachinery and Propulsion research of the institute specializes in the aero-thermal aspects of turbomachinery components for aero-engines and industrial gas turbines, process industry compressors and pumps. The Institute has accumulated wide skills in wind tunnel testing over a wide range of Mach and Reynolds numbers and the development and application of related measurement techniques. The Institute has acquired a world recognized expertise on steady/unsteady aerodynamic and aero/thermal aspects of turbomachinery components through the design, development and use of a number of unique wind tunnels. The Institute finally has over 20 years of experience in the computational analysis of flow in turbomachines, and in the design techniques and multi-disciplinary optimization methods of their components.

For several years, the Turbomachinery and Propulsion research of the Institute has specialized in a wide range of activities related to aero-propulsion and energy conversion by means of rotating machinery. At the present time, the Institute teams up with the major European engine/energy manufacturers, either within European Commission co-funded projects or through bi-lateral collaborations.

The Turbomachinery and Propulsion Department is at an exciting time of research and innovation, and continuously offers educational opportunities at undergraduate, post-graduate (master-after-master), and doctoral levels. The Department hosts four faculty members, about 10-15 doctoral and post-doctoral students, an average of 10 master students and 30 undergraduate interns per year. The Department englobes all academic activities related to Turbomachinery & Propulsion and collaborates with about 10 research engineers of the Project Office for the realization of research proposals & contracts. For more information on the Department staff and research areas please visit our website at https://www.vki.ac.be/ where you can also find more information on our academic and research programs.


The Department Head is a Professor in the Faculty of the von Karman Institute who reports to the Dean of the Faculty.

He / She is part of the Strategic Research Council for the definition and follow-up of the internal research roadmaps related to Turbomachinery & Propulsion activities.

The position has responsibilities for leading, coordinating and coaching the faculty members of the department in their academic activities and for supporting the development of further Turbomachinery and Propulsion research activities by connecting with industry, governmental research agencies, and alumni to advance the success and excellence of the Institute in Turbomachinery and Propulsion expertise. The Head of Department will take the leading role with respect to the educational activities at VKI in its areas of expertise, and assume the final responsibility for the overall quality of the turbomachinery academic activities of the von Karman Institute.

The Head of Department plays a key faculty role with overarching academic responsibility for the department as a whole. The position primarily involves in providing the conditions for academic staff, research opportunities and scientific excellence to grow and develop. In concertation with the von Karman Institute Project Office, Faculty and Management team, the Head of Department will lead and develop the department’s academic activities and support the research strategy, proposal and project activities of the related turbomachinery & propulsion Research Expertise Groups. The position also has a significant oversight of academic budgets and promotions of the Department.

The Head of Department is expected to oversee the department educational activity and to enhance the educational offer of the Turbomachinery and Propulsion department at the level of master-after-master, doctoral programs and other teaching activities.

The role of Head of Department will be combined with research and teaching activities to be performed within the research and education programs of the Institute in synchronization with the Dean and the Chief Project Management Officer.

The successful candidate will

  • Centralize the turbomachinery & propulsion research plan by supporting the research roadmaps definitions and follow-up of the related internal research expertise groups;

  • Sustain and expand the scholarly excellence of the Department and strengthen its position as one of the leading research centers for turbomachinery and propulsion on the international scene;

  • Leverage both existing and new long-term connections with industry to better position the von Karman Institute as a leader for cutting-edge research and industry partnerships in collaboration with the internal heads of research expertise groups;

  • Foster, advocate, and promote cutting-edge, innovative post-graduate and doctoral research and education in the field of fluid mechanics and turbomachinery;

  • Collaborate with the Project Office for all proposal and research project activities in line with the internal project life cycle procedures;

  • Teach part of the courses and lead educational activities currently established at the VKI, ensuring the quality of the educational program of the institute in turbomachinery and propulsion subjects;

  • Ensure and promote collaborations in research and education activities with the other departments and research expertise groups at VKI;

  • Coach the faculty members under his/her supervision on a daily basis;


  • You have an academic and/or industry record commensurate with the level of a professor at the von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics and a renowned reputation with relevant and clear expertise in relation to two or more of the following subjects: fluid dynamics, turbomachinery, energy conversion systems, propulsion systems, flow measurement techniques.

  • You are an academic or a senior technical leader in industry with scientific and applied expertise in relation to turbomachinery and propulsion technologies;

  • You are an enterprising and effective networker able to initiate new research opportunities aligned with the internal research roadmaps;

  • You can motivate academic staff and students and have experience in people management;

  • You are active in networks in relation to government, academia and industry;

  • Promote an engaging environment for Assistant and Associate faculty members, based on effective mentoring and academic and professional development;

  • Create conditions for collaboration and establish strategic engagement and partnerships with Universities, research centers and industries at national and international levels.


  • PhD in applied science, mechanical/aerospace engineering or related topics,

  • Demonstrated competences in the following core areas: teaching, research, project management, team leadership,

  • Track record in technical and financial management of medium-large projects and teams,

  • Fluency in speaking, writing and understanding of English.

Additional desirable skills and experience

  • (Associate) Professor qualification or equivalent senior position in industry,

  • Leadership and project management skills within academia, research or industry organization,

  • International experience,

  • Leadership within academia, research organization or industry in areas relevant to the advertised position,

  • Demonstrated experience of collaboration with industry and/or academic institutions, governmental agencies,

  • Working knowledge of French and/or Dutch.

Salary and benefits

Contract form: The position is permanent

Salary level: Salary and benefits commensurate with experience

Starting period: as soon as possible upon agreement (indicatively Q4 2019 / Q1 2020)

Application files:

  1. CV

  2. Motivational letter

  3. Vision letter on research and education

  4. The contact of three references

If you have not received confirmation of receipt of your application within one week from completion or would like additional information on the position, please contact Professor Jeroen van Beeck (vanbeeck@vki.ac.be).

Selection process:

The Head of Department recruitment is carried out by an appointed recruitment committee composed of internal and external evaluators. Short-listed candidates are called for an interview with the search committee at the von Karman Institute.

The selected candidate must comply with the internal procedures of the von Karman Institute and receive clearance from the Institute Board of Directors before she or he can begin to work.

The von Karman Institute reserves the right not to appoint a candidate if no suitable candidate is found.