Space Weather specialist/researcher

Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), Ministry of Infrastructure and Watermanagement

  • Stand­plaats De Bilt
  • Contractduur 2 jaar
  • Uren per week 36
  • Maand­salaris €3.279 - €5.039
  • Salaris­niveau schaal 11
  • Niveau Gepromoveerd
  • Vakgebied Onderzoek / wetenschap
  • Reageren voor 8 maart Nog 1 dag
  • Vacaturenummer KNMI 2021-07
  • Plaatsingsdatum 12 februari 2021
  • Dienst­verband Arbeidsovereenkomst voor bepaalde tijd met uitzicht op onbepaalde tijd


As a new task KNMI is responsible for monitoring space weather conditions and providing a warning service for the vital sectors in the Netherlands. KNMI is also participating in the PECASUS consortium that provides alerts for adverse space weather conditions for the international civil aviation sector, assigned by ICAO. Another task is to broaden the knowledge base for space weather in the Netherlands by stimulating space weather related activities, including research and education, and by building knowledge networks. KNMI represents the Netherlands in international organizations related to space weather. Finally, KNMI works with departmental crisis management organizations to develop and practice crisis management plans. For these activities, the R&D Satellite Observations (RDSW) department at KNMI is looking for a space weather specialist/researcher.

KNMI will provide the national space weather service for the Netherlands. The front office of this service consists of a 24/7 monitoring service by trained meteorologists in the central weather room. The back office of this service is located in the RDSW department and is at the moment staffed by a space weather specialist and a (part time) coordinating advisor. The back office is responsible for all non-operational activities for space weather like national and international collaborations, research, product development, knowledge management, end user contacts with vital sectors and science project acquisition. The space weather service of KNMI will become operational in 2021. Being new, the KNMI space weather service will mature over the coming years.

The KNMI back office has contacts with the major space weather services in Europe and the USA. Within the Netherlands we collaborate with organizations like Delft University of Technology, the Ministry of Defense and ASTRON. Space weather is a broad subject, and KNMI intends to focus its research activities on satellite observations of space weather in the Earth’s environment, in particular the Earth’s thermosphere-ionosphere and on impact studies for vital sectors. An important task will be the verification and validation of alerts by PECASUS (international) and KNMI (national).

We are a small group of experts that need to cover a variety of subjects. Therefore we look for a space weather scientist in the back office with capacities to contribute to the development of a unique new service for the Netherlands. Typical activities in the space weather back office are:

  • Support of space weather operators in the front office during periods of enhanced space weather activity. Occasionally this may be outside office hours;
  • Perform research related to the KNMI PECASUS tasks that includes verification and validation;
  • Perform research related to space weather effects in the ionosphere and thermosphere;
  • Contribute to further improvements of the KNMI service and products (both front and back office), in collaboration with our international partners;
  • Develop training programs and contribute to education and outreach activities for space weather;
  • Project acquisition activities of externally funded projects;
  • Publish in scientific journals or (confidential) reports;
  • Non-scientific tasks like yearly planning, budget management, data and information management.


  • A PhD in physics or a related (relevant) field;
  • A good knowledge of space weather physics, preferably shown by a publication record. This includes knowledge of the observing systems and models relevant for space weather forecasts;
  • Necessary computer skills, preferably including experience with data science tools (for example using Python, Pandas and Jupyter notebook) in combination with satellite data processing and/or numerical modeling;
  • Some feeling for the relevant statistical methods used for product verification;
  • Fluent in English and Dutch (or willing to learn Dutch);
  • A team-player attitude, able to function in a small team;
  • Able to communicate on the potential impacts of space weather with non-expert end-users.


  • Excellent scientific attitude;
  • Planning and organizing skills;
  • Results-oriented approach;
  • Collaborative and creative attitude;
  • Communication skills.


  • Salaris­niveau schaal 11
  • Maand­salaris Min €3.279 Max. €5.039 (bruto)
  • Dienst­verband Arbeidsovereenkomst voor bepaalde tijd met uitzicht op onbepaalde tijd
  • Contract­duur 2 jaar
  • Minimaal aantal uren per week 36
  • Maximaal aantal uren per week 36

Overige arbeids­voorwaarden

Other conditions of employement

In addition to your salary, you will receive an Individual Budget (IKB). The IKB consists of funds (16.37% of your gross annual salary) and time. With the IKB, you make choices that are right for you, and you can decide on some of your employment conditions yourself. For example, you could opt to receive part of your monthly salary at a date of your choosing. You could also use the budget to purchase additional leave, or vice versa, or spend it on tax-efficient purchases. The Government of the Netherlands strongly values personal growth and career development and offers a wide range of options to achieve that. The fringe benefits include various study facilities, company fitness, a full compensation of your public transport expenses for your commute and partially paid parental leave.



  • The position is initially for a period of two years but will, after a successful evaluation, be changed into a permanent position.
  • An interview with an advisory committee may be part of the selection procedure

Meer over jouw toekomstige afdeling

The R&D Satellite Observations Department contributes to research and monitoring of the Earth system by utilizing satellites. Its research activities focus on the quality and availability of satellite observations of essential atmospheric quantities, for climate research, weather forecasting, air quality and ozone monitoring. The satellite activities of the department encompass the entire chain from collecting user requirements, developing and generating the required satellite products, to delivering products to users.

Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), Ministry of Infrastructure and Watermanagement

The Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) is the Dutch national weather service. Primary tasks of KNMI are weather forecasting and monitoring of weather, climate, air quality and seismic activity. KNMI is also the national research and information centre for meteorology, climate, air quality, and seismology.

KNMI advises on and warns society to reduce risks in the field of weather, climate and seismology and to limit damage and injuries. With high-quality knowledge and technology plus an extensive observation network, KNMI offers products and services that contribute to the safety, accessibility, sustainability and prosperity of the Netherlands.

The Ministry of Infrastructure and Watermanagement is committed to improving quality of life, access and mobility in a clean, safe and sustainable environment. The Ministry strives to create an efficient network of roads, railways, waterways and airways, effective water management to protect against flooding, and improved air and water quality.




Voor meer informatie over deze vacature:

De heer dr. ir. E.N. Doornbos (Eelco)

+31 (0)6-11497313

De heer dr. G.H.J. van den Oord (Bert)

+31 (0)6-52062562

Voor meer informatie over de sollicitatieprocedure:

Mevrouw S. Holl

+31 (0)6-55171426

De heer R.C. Doornkamp

+31 (0)6-15624053


Digitaal solliciteren

Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), Ministry of Infrastructure and Watermanagement nodigt je uit op hun site te solliciteren. Via onderstaande knop verlaat je deze site ga je direct naar het sollicitatieformulier. Het Rijk hecht waarde aan een diverse en inclusieve organisatie. Werken in divers samengestelde teams maakt ons effectiever, innovatiever en het werk leuker. Eenieder wordt daarom uitgenodigd te solliciteren.

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  • Stand­plaats Bilthoven
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  • Reageren voor 21 maart
  • Dienst­verband Tijdelijke aanstelling / Arbeidsovereenkomst voor bepaalde tijd
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