KU Leuven

Innovation Manager in the Field of Energy System Integration for Low-carbon Energy Services

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KU Leuven is an autonomous university. It was founded in 1425. It was born of and has grown within the Catholic tradition.

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(ref. OZK-2022-12)

The decarbonization of our energy system is calling for drastic changes and innovative solutions on both supply and demand side. To embrace these challenges and corresponding opportunities, a permanent position at KU Leuven is created for an Innovation Manager with the aim to manage a novel program within KU Leuven for innovation & valorization in the field of “Energy system integration for low-carbon energy services” (REINFORCE). This position is supported by a consortium of two research teams from the KU Leuven Department of Mechanical Engineering, led by prof. Lieve Helsen and prof. Erik Delarue, respectively. Both teams are also active in EnergyVille. These teams have a strong scientific background in design/planning and control/operation of energy systems, with a particular focus on thermo-mechanical energy conversion and storage. This includes generation planning, flexibility offered by thermal systems, thermal grids, optimization of thermal management in buildings and industry, market modeling, etc. Expertise includes model development and optimal system design and control. The goal of Industrial Research Fund (lOF) at KU Leuven, is to accelerate the transfer of knowledge and innovations arising from strategic basic research to the market. A team of more than 40 experienced Innovation Managers, embedded within research groups throughout the University and University Hospital, achieve this goal primarily by establishing mutually beneficial, collaborative relationships with a broad range of external partners in industry, academia, as well as national and regional public-private organizations.

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You will manage the innovation/exploitation of the valorization and IP portfolio and novel developments in the REINFORCE program. Additionally, you will introduce the tools and expertise from REINFORCE to stakeholders in industry/society, and create a program in which both industry and the research groups are strengthened. Finally, you will be responsible for the scouting and acquisition of EU, national and regional projects with a high economic/societal finality.
Your responsibilities include:
- Managing the valorization and IP portfolio of the REINFORCE program;
- Supporting the valorization trajectory from research results towards industrial/societal reality. This could entail active involvement in writing and shaping patents and licenses or support spin-off creation, in consultation with the KU Leuven Technology Transfer Office;
- Supporting the individual researchers and teams within the REINFORCE program to identify the most suitable valorization strategy for applied research results, starting from an intimate knowledge of the expertise and strengths of the REINFORCE consortium;
- Identifying new leads for research collaborations and new grant application opportunities;
- Participating in the development of and collaborating in European/national/regional consortia;
- Managing new and ongoing research projects with a clear valorization track (scientifically, financially, follow-up & reporting), such as bilateral, VLAIO, flux50, KU Leuven C3, EU Green Deal, and EU Horizon Europe projects and fellowships, also in collaboration with EnergyVille;
- Promoting the research and valorization program at conferences, networking meetings and on-site company visits, while further developing the REINFORCE online presence (website, PR, Social network) to create impact through sustainable business activities.
The Innovation Manager will be fully integrated in both research groups of the program, and coordinate the valorization through regular meetings with the PI’s of both research teams.


- PhD or minimum 5 years of research experience in engineering and experience in strategic research management;
- Background in thermo-mechanical energy conversion, energy systems and markets, and appreciate multidisciplinarity;
- An entrepreneurial mindset with some experience in business development and valorization;
- Familiar with European and national/regional applied research funding schemes;
- Experience in (applying for), amongst others, European projects, regional projects with industry involvement, bilateral cooperation projects, etc.;
- Strong communication and negotiation skills, including international and intercultural;
- Fluent in English, both written and spoken;
- Collaborative spirit (friendly, flexible and approachable) and dedicated team-worker;
- Creative, well-organized and enthusiastic can-do mentality;
- Genuine appetite for personal learning;
- Excellent (grant) writing skills;

You work in Leuven and Genk, but you should regularly perform company visits and participate in conferences/workshops and other events across the globe.


An exciting and challenging job, focused on continuous innovation and development in a transdisciplinary and international context. We offer a permanent position as Innovation Manager of the Industrial Research Fund (IOF) at KU Leuven, a world famous university.


For more information please contact Mr. Sammy Brié, tel.: +32 16 37 37 24, mail: sammy.brie@kuleuven.be or Prof. dr. ir. Lieve Helsen, tel.: +32 16 32 25 05, mail: lieve.helsen@kuleuven.be.

You can apply for this job no later than February 14, 2022 via the online application tool

KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at diversiteit.HR@kuleuven.be.

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Innovation Manager in the Field of Energy System Integration for Low-carbon Energy Services
Oude Markt 13 Leuven, Belgium
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