VLIZ recruits: Researcher Marine Geosciences | Flanders Marine Institute

Flanders Marine Institute

Platform for marine research

VLIZ recruits: Researcher Marine Geosciences

Join our Research department as a geologist or geophysicist for the EU project “BASTA”, which aims to address challenges concerning the efficient identification of buried and exposed munition in the sea, within an ever-growing set of available data. You will perform research on detailed 3D sub-bottom imaging for munition detection, using a novel approach for cost-effective data acquisition.

Researcher marine geosciences: sub-bottom imaging for munition detection

Offshore dumped munitions constitute a serious safety risk for users of our coasts and seas. In the past decade, various European research projects have put the topic on the political agenda, but many challenges remain. One of the major challenges concerns the efficient identification of buried and exposed munition within an ever-growing set of available data. Several good sensing technologies exist, but the different data are seldom fully integrated into a consistent framework. Moreover, for subsurface investigation (i.e. buried objects) the available technologies are not sufficient with regard to spatial (x,y,z) resolution.

The EU project ‘BASTA ‘ (2020-2022) aims to address these issues and is aimed at cost-efficient detection and recognition of sea-dumped munition, both for regional scale reconnaissance and for local scale surveys of known sites. Major objectives include development of cost-efficient data acquisition combing ship-based and Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV)-based surveys, joint analysis of data using Artificial Intelligence (AI) methodologies and multi-sensor databases, and on-route AI algorithm learning. The final goal is to develop a model that (1) predicts buried munition and (2) predicts the type of munition for surficial munition. The project combines research institutes and industrial partners from Germany and Belgium for maximum valorization of the developed techniques.

The main task of VLIZ in the BASTA project concerns detailed 3D sub-bottom imaging for munition detection. Systems using a narrow acoustic beam (such as the parametric echosounder) provide the (sub-decimeter) resolution needed for object detection, but any objects that lie outside the survey path remain undetected. Recently, a novel 3D approach was developed using a multitransducer parametric echosounder system (SES-2000 Quattro). The system consists of four individual transducers in a line array, which allows 3D imaging with very high data density. This 3D approach will be compared with a smart 2D (or pseudo-3D) approach for deeper water, where possible involving an autonomous vehicle or platform. Both approaches will be tested in different test sites in the North Sea and Baltic Sea where ample ground-truth data/information is available. Finally, the approach will be verified at a test site where no/little information is available.

Our offer

  • We offer a challenging job in the dynamic environment of VLIZ.
  • A contract of a definite duration for a minimum of 18 months as a researcher. The salary follows the salary scales of scientific personnel in the Flemish Government.
  • Fringe benefits: holiday pay, end-of-year bonus, meal vouchers, bike allowance, free public transport for home-work commuting and an attractive holiday arrangement.

Your main responsibilities

  • To process and interpret acoustic subbottom data (2D/3D parametric echosounder);
  • To visualise 3D data volumes;
  • To analyse signals for enhanced detection of buried features (2D/3D);
  • To process sub-bottom data obtained with Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) and/or Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USV);
  • To plan and perform data acquisition at sea (parametric echosounder);
  • To write reports and high quality scientific papers;
  • To participate in (international) project meetings;
  • To interact and collaborate with national/international partners;
  • To present results at national/international conference(s).
For each function, VLIZ considers enthusiastic involvement, open servitude, excellent professionalism and integrity as important characteristics.

Your profile

  • MSc or PhD in Geosciences;
  • Expertise in (marine) sub-bottom data processing and interpretation;
  • Academic writing skills;
  • Critical and creative;
  • Scientifically integer;
  • Open minded and taking initiative;
  • Strong interpersonal skills, a motivated team player;
  • Willing to learn new skills on a regular basis;
  • Good oral and written English communication skills;
    • Knowledge of 3D subbottom data processing and visualization;
    • Experience with multibeam and magnetic techniques;
    • Experience with AUV/USV;
    • Expertise in seismic signal analysis;
    • Experience in seismic data acquisition at sea.

About us

For 20 years, the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) has been strengthening the accumulation of marine knowledge and the excellence of marine scientific research in Flanders. VLIZ is a coordination and information platform, a focal point for marine and coastal research, which also serves as an international contact point for marine science. Important activities are national and international networking, information and data management, scientific communication for policy and industry, education and the general public, and logistical support of marine research. Since 2017, the institute also initiates, promotes and executes innovative and multidisciplinary marine research, and this at the service of, in collaboration with or complementary to Flemish and international marine research groups. You will work in a unique institute in which your science will be supported by state of the art data systems and services, research infrastructure, science communication and an extensive marine library. Moreover, VLIZ is part of a wide network of Belgian and international marine research groups, offering many opportunities for scientific collaboration.

Additional information

For more information concerning this vacancy, please contact:

Does this vacancy appeal to you?

Send in your cover letter and CV until 10 November 2019 (23:00 CET):

Contact us by telephone on +32 (0)59 34 21 30.

VLIZ promotes equality and diversity in the workplace. You will be recruited based on competencies. Qualities of people are decisive, regardless of gender, religion, ethnic origin, age, sexual orientation or any disability.


Based on the received motivation letters and CVs, a select group of candidates will be invited for a job interview. You will be informed by email. The job interviews take place in the offices of VLIZ.

Employment will start ideally on 1 January 2020.