Dominique Tilmans, the exploration advocate
1. What is (are) your current job title(s), and what does it (do they) mean?
Belgian senator, I’m the President of the “Space” Work Group at the Belgian Parlement and was in 2013, chair of the European Inter-parliamentary Space Conference (EISC).
2. Why is your job important?
The Work Group « Space » is the unique commission dedicated to space within the two Chambers of the Belgian Parlement. It is the perfect tool for monitoring the Government but is also an essential lever for it.
The annual Space budget dedicated by the Belgian government is 205 million €, ranks Belgium among the 5th largest contributors to ESA and the 7th largest investor regarding the GDP.
Belgian space scientific and industrial sector is widely recognized with
- 70 university laboratories and research centers
- +/- 100 industries
- +/- 2400 direct high-level jobs in Belgium for space programs and projects
3. What led you to that career path?
I have the chance to live in a province really involved in the Space sector: the province of Luxembourg has a tracking satellites ESA in Redu, an industrial zoning dedicated to space spin-offs and a vulgarization center of space frequented by young students from all around the world.
4. How would you describe your typical work day?
My job is to organize meetings on very concrete topics between academic, industrial, institutional and Belgian parliamentarians. Today we are working to create a “Platform university/industry” aimed to stimulate a specific “Spirit” for the Space sector.
Concretely, this means a better knowledge of the professional market, the availability of thesis/ PhD subjects suggested by industries and vice-versa and a growth of interships in companies in terms of their needs and the orientation by the young scientists.
In short, this Win-win should revitalize the interest among the students for Space careers and should draw industries attention earlier for our young scientist.
The idea of this “Platform” will be extended to the EISC, 11 European countries, for a better exchange between students and industry to leave neither space student apart. The ultimate goal is to create a “spirit” of space careers.
5. What is the most exciting thing you ever had the chance to do?
My final challenge is the implementation of the platform at a Belgian and European level! A difficult but so exciting goal !
6. What advice would you give to your young self?
The Space sector is a growth sector, the future of our humanity, space exploration has concrete benefits on earth and in our lives. It is clear that space will know a prodigious development in the coming years, which will also bring new jobs! Among these new jobs it is important to note that we need not only engineers, physicists, chemists … but also agronomists, technicians, graphic designers, geographers, doctors, lawyers…
There is a place for you… !
Let us face together new challenges and let us expand space borders!