Research with a strong link to industrial needs and concrete applications 

VITO research focuses on cleantech development. Industrial partners are involved in our projects in many ways. Our PhD-topics focus strongly on the practical applicability in the near future. Selection criteria include industrial need and economic feasibility.  

 International researchers for Flanders  

The group of VITO researchers covers more than 40 different nationalities. In our PhD-Postdoc group around 50 % of the researchers come from outside of Belgium.  They are attracted to VITO by our ‘cleantech development’ programme and the strong link with real applications. We encourage them to move on to companies in Flanders.  

Grow and Go  

Each year, new young researchers choose to start at  VITO to boost their future careers. VITO has an extensive doctoral programme in collaboration with universities all over Europe. Yearly more than 70 PhD projects are running. Postdoc talent is recruited from all over the world to leverage our excellence. While working at VITO, young researchers are stimulated and supported to develop their competences and hard and soft skills. They leave VITO, ready for careers in both the academic world and industry.  


Ahmed Shafique

Improving the performance of lithium-sulfur batteries by thin coating of sulfur particles using a sustainable and scalable process

Rebekka Van Hoof

Current cancer diagnostics using liquid biopsies

Marina Perdigao Elisiario

Overcoming gas-to-liquid mass transfer limitations in syngas fermentation

Yael Hirschberg

Discovering new biomarkers for dementia diseases

Yannick Wack

Automated design of district heating networks through topology optimization

Ilia Shilov

Algorithmic game and distributed learning for peer-to-peer energy trading

Michiel Kenis

Optimally integrating renewable energy in electricity markets

Our PhDs in action

Marina Perdigao Elisiario: Microbes converting greenhouse gases into biofuels

Saving good microbes from starvation. That is the aim of the research carried out by Marina Perdigao Elisiario (VITO - TU Delft). This is necessary because the microbes she works with can help us in the fight against climate change. For example, they are very good at converting greenhouse gases such as CO2 and carbon monoxide into biofuels. Unfortunately, with the current techniques, they die of starvation too quickly and too often. Marina is working on a new technique to keep these microbes alive and kicking.

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Michiel Kenis: How to make renewable energy flow through Europe

The production of renewable energy has increased significantly in recent years. But the sun doesn't always shine as brightly, nor does the wind always blow. Fortunately, we can exchange electricity between different countries. This way, Germany can benefit from the Spanish sun and Spain from the German wind. But international trade unfortunately isn't that straightforward... Michiel Kenis (VITO - KU Leuven - EnergyVille) explains why and what he is trying to do about it in this video.

Yannick Wack: Can we heat our homes without emitting CO2

Did you ever hear of 'heat networks'? These are networks of underground pipelines carrying hot water from geothermal plants to houses & buildings. They offer an interesting and sustainable approach to heating. But the larger the network of houses to be heated becomes, the more complex it becomes to manually design an efficient heat network. That's where Yannick Wack's (VITO - KU Leuven - Energyville) research comes in...

Yael Hirschberg: Detecting dementia through proteins

Every three seconds, someone in the world is diagnosed with dementia. But what causes it? Dementia can be caused by diseases such as Alzheimer's & Parkinson's. The only way to find out the exact cause is by studying the brain tissue of a patient after his death. Yaël Hirschberg hopes to develop a method of identifying this earlier so that a patient can receive targeted care even before the first symptoms of dementia appear. Watch her explain how.

Ahmed Shafique: More sustainable batteries

Smartphones, laptops, electric cars, ... We simply cannot live without batteries. But did you know that in 5 years' time the demand for batteries is expected to be 15 times higher than today? But instead of producing 15 times more batteries, wouldn't it be better to meet the demand by making more powerful batteries? That is why Ahmed Shafique is working on a new generation of batteries: lithium-sulfur batteries.