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Vesuvius Plc is a world leader in molten metal flow engineering, with Sales revenue around 1.500 Bio GBP.  Vesuvius Flow Control (VFC), a business unit of Vesuvius, delivers high performance refractory products and systems to worldwide steel makers.  VFC maintains global presence, with operations close to all steel manufacturing centers.

VFC main product groups are: Slide Gate and Purge Refractory, VISO products (refractory shrouds, nozzles and stopper rods), and Flow Control Systems.  VISO products are complex multi-functional assemblies of refractory materials made by iso-static pressing and operating in very extreme thermal and corrosion environments.

In order to maintain technical leadership, VFC decided to reinforce R&D capabilities.  Up to now, most upstream research was concentrated in Pittsburgh (USA). In the future, research activities will be located in 3 regional Research centers located in North America, Europe and China.  This strategic development initiative is also viewed an opportunity to bring “new blood” into the organization, and to reinforce technical people management skills.  

The Pittsburgh Research Center is shared with other business groups and is also home to the Corporate Advanced Research Group.

Current European R&D activities include:

  • a small team (1 manager and 3 engineers) attached to the Corporate Research group, based in Ghlin (Belgium), whose main responsibility is to perform advanced thermo-mechanical modeling and property characterization of systems and refractory
  • a research, product development, applications and manufacturing support group for the VISO product line located in Feignies (France)
  • a product development, applications and manufacturing support group for the Slide Gate and Purge Refractory product line located in Krakow (Poland)

VFC recently decided to establish a new leading edge research center in Europe, located either in Feignies or Ghlin, close to VFC headquarters and Systems Engineering.  (The 2 locations are only 30 minutes away from each other).

The European research team’s mission includes:

  • developing new materials and processes to stay ahead of the competition,
  • supporting European operations with problem solving and analytical skills,
  • being a “breeding ground” to bring smart people into the organization.


VFC wants to hire a manager, based at VFC European Research Center, to lead the global VISO Research group.


Job purpose

  • To align, co-ordinate and manage the global Research activities of the VISO product lines.
  • To manage the Research resources supporting the global VISO New Product Introduction (NPI) and Front End Innovation (FEI) project portfolio and provide technical direction for those projects.
  • To coordinate the product portfolio planning, in cooperation with the VISO product managers, by balancing the product offering needs of the regions with the ability to manufacture those products to proper technical quality and cost.
  • To manage the analytical and new product development laboratories at the European Research Center.

Job responsibilities


  • Mentors and trains R&D Engineers to advance the level of process and applications knowledge and quality of support given to the regions. Provide technical guidance in his/her own domains of expertise.
  • Together with his team, generate innovative ideas to improve VFC materials, products and processes. Demonstrate the feasibility and benefits of these ideas.
  • Support other operating groups: analytical resource for problem solving, contribute to customer trust and help in resolving manufacturing issues. Educates the operations and commercial sides of the business by contributing to HeaTt technical training modules on product technology and applications.
  • Implements the regional and global action plans regarding new product development and fundamental technical understanding
  • Represent VFC in the scientific/technical spheres: liaison with public research, universities, external partners, ISO groups


  • Create a positive and empowering environment to foster creativity, ambition, team spirit and continuous improvement.
  • Provide each individual team member with adequate feedback (recognition, challenge, encouragement, training or personal development suggestions) to optimize his/her performance.
  • Execution: manage projects effectively through the structured NPI process, so as to deliver results in time, within budget and according to specs. Coordinate project planning kick-off meetings, gated progress reviews and issue status reports.
  • Represent VFC management line with his/her team: explain corporate values, strategy
  • Communicate with management line: report progress, contribute suggestions, escalate issues and roadblocks
  • Nurture trust and cooperation with other VFC teams (particularly with Pittsburgh team).

Previous experience

  • Masters in Engineering Degree. PhD is a plus
  • Successful track record as individual contributor in an industrial R&D setting.
  • Management: successful experience in leadership role: team leadership or management and project management
  • 10 years research or professional experience in a university setting or an engineering materials company or division: Previous experiences in the following fields are considered an advantage:
    • Ceramics or industry (Refractories, Advanced Ceramics, Composites, Abrasives, Refractory metals, Glass…),
    • Steel processing,
    • Composite materials,
    • IP protection
    • IP protection
    • Required skill set


  • Strong background in Materials Science & Engineering. Capable of getting fairly rapidly up to speed in Ceramics (if not already proficient).
  • Logical and methodical. An adept of the “scientific” approach to problem solving”.
  • Wide technical/scientific culture: able to converse with experts in many disciplines.

Personal, Operating and Management:

  • Energy and drive.
  • Leadership and motivation: win respect and adhesion from highly educated people.
  • Result oriented, focused and organized. “Gets the work done”.
  • People management: positive, listener, delegator, honest, attentive to his co-workers personal development.
  • Managerial courage: making sometimes difficult and unpopular decisions.


  • English as a working language. International culture. French language is a definite plus.
  • Able to present technical subjects to non-technical audience


  • Ideally 35-40 years old.
  • Motivated to relocate to Belgium/Northern France
  • Willing to relocate temporarily to Pittsburgh for 6- 24 months or make multiple 3-6 month visits for initial training
  • Willing to travel up to 20-30% of time

Career development

  • The candidate should have enough development potential to move to higher level positions in the organization, not limited to the Research field.