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Ann Carine Vandaele is BIRA-IASB’s new Director General


Dr. Ir. Ann Carine Vandaele, Head of the Solar radiation in atmospheres department at the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy, is appointed as the new Director General of the Institute, as of 1 May 2024. Ann Carine will take over from Ronald Van der Linden, who filled the position a.i.  for three months in anticipation of the new Director’s appointment.

Ann Carine Vandaele joined the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy 34 years ago after a PhD in engineering science at the Université Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium. Her main scientific expertise lies in the development of remote sensing instruments, spectroscopy used by such instruments, and radiative transfer modelling through atmospheres.

She has been and still is involved in several space missions (Mars and Venus Express, ExoMars TGO, JUICE, ARIEL, EnVision). She is also serving several committees within the European Space Agency (ESA) and the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) (the International Commission of Planetary Atmospheres and Evolution; the Belgian National Committee of Geodesy and Geophysics; the Belgian National Committee on Space Research) and other international associations e.g. she has been elected as president of the Europlanet Society in 2022, and she is president of the Société Royale Belge d’Astronomie, de Météorologie et de Physique du Globe.

Picture of BIRA-IASB's new Director General, Ann Carine Vandaele
BIRA-IASB's new General Director as of May 1st, 2024: Dr. Ir. Ann Carine Vandaele. Copyright: BIRA-IASB

Thomas Dermine, Secretary of State for Science Policy, said:

This appointment is the culmination of her career within our own scientific institutions. We are delighted that a woman will head the department responsible for space aeronomy, a field that faces both short-term and long-term challenges.

The biggest challenge for BIRA-IASB is the need to further strengthen its status as an international centre of excellence in research on space aeronomy in the broadest sense. Whether this is through the internal development of new measurement instruments for launch in the near atmosphere, or to more distant destinations, such as ExoMars for which an alternative is still being sought after the war in Ukraine.

The work carried out by BIRA-IASB should also be more visible to the public. A key challenge is therefore to increase the visibility of the institute's activities through more and better targeted reach-out and citizen science initiatives.

Ann Carine Vandaele is both thrilled and honoured to take on her new position:

 I am well aware of the new responsibilities and the challenges that lie ahead. I will do my utmost to perpetuate and even enhance BIRA-IASB’s recognition as a place where scientific excellence and respect for all individuals and their work can prosper together.

We wish Ann Carine a lot of success in her new position.

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Dr. Ir. Ann Carine Vandaele, Head of the Solar radiation in atmospheres department at the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy, is the new General Director of the Institute.
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Ann Carine Vandaele is involved in several space missions to Mars, Venus, Jupiter and even exoplanets.