- Word of the directors
- About VKI
- Facts and figures
- Organization Chart
- Board of directors
- Word of the directors
- About VKI
- Facts and figures
- Organization Chart
- Board of directors
Word of the directors
Let me take this opportunity to welcome you to the website of the von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics. I would like to share some insights about the VKI with you.
Green technologies such as noise reduction, reduction of pollution (NOX releases) as well as global warming (CO2 release) are the drivers for revolutionary changes in century old industries like aerospace, car industry or energy conversion. New ideas like using micro satellites for in orbit technology demonstration and debris mitigation, advances in new propulsion concepts and qualification of new reusable materials will make future high speed travel affordable.
These are some of the topics that bring young engineers and scientists from all over the world to the von Karman Institute to study, improve their skills and perform their research. Located in Sint-Genesius-Rode near Brussels, this non-profit international educational and scientific organization is specialized in fluid dynamics (flows of liquids, gases and plasmas) in the area of Aeronautics and Aerospace, Environmental and Applied Fluid Dynamics, and Turbomachinery and Propulsion. The von Karman Institute prides itself in providing "advanced training in research through research".
The VKI acknowledges the sustained support from BELSPO and its international consortium of member states, which has allowed the VKI to reach the present level of competence and its worldwide recognition as a true center of excellence in fluid dynamics.
Managing Director of the von Karman Institute
VKI is a non-profit international educational and scientific organisation, hosting three departments (aeronautics and aerospace, environmental and applied fluid dynamics, and turbomachinery & propulsion). It provides post-graduate education in fluid dynamics (Research Master in Fluid Dynamics (Master-after-master level), former "VKI Diploma Course", Doctoral Programme, Short Training Program and lecture series) and encourages "training in research through research". The von Karman Institute undertakes and promotes research in the field of fluid dynamics. Extensive research on experimental, computational and theoretical aspects of gas and liquid flows is carried out at the VKI under the direction of the faculty and research engineers, sponsored mainly by governmental and international agencies as well as industries.
The von Karman Institute organizes each year 8 to 12 one-week Lecture Series on specialized topics in the field of aerodynamics, fluid mechanics and heat transfer with application to aeronautics, space, turbomachinery, the environment and industrial fluid dynamics. These courses have gained over the years world wide recognition for their high quality which is the result of a careful choice of subjects of current interest and lecturers known for their excellency in that field and willing to co-operate in building up well-structured courses.
VKI has a permanent staff of approximately 106 persons, among them 29 research engineers and 18 professors. Besides the permanent staff about 190 students and temporary researchers are involved in the different academic programmes. Students involved in these programmes have been recently awarded numerous prestigious grants such as those provided by the Belgian agencies FNRS, FRIA, FWO and the European Union ERC and Marie-Curie.
Furthermore, this Center of Excellence operates about fifty different wind tunnels, turbomachinery and other specialized test facilities; some of them being unique. The facilities of the Institute are renowned and VKI is recognized as a world-class research center of excellence by its peers. As an example, VKI and the European Space Agency (ESA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in November 2011 under which VKI acts as a reference laboratory for ESA. This agreement involves 10 research staff and more than 20 PhD students in a continuous effort devoted to the present space transportation missions and the challenges of the future space explorations.
The VKI acknowledges the sustained support from BELSPO and its international consortium of 15 member states, which has allowed the VKI to reach the present level of competence and its worldwide recognition as a true center of excellence in fluid dynamics.
Fifteen NATO countries among twenty-eight contribute to the financing of the von Karman Institute. Those countries are actually represented at several levels in the governance bodies of the von Karman Institute: Board of Directors, General Assembly, Scientific Advisory Committee and NATO Working Group on the Financing of the von Karman Institute.
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Facts and figures
Total Budget: 8.602.715 € (2019)
Total Attendance in the Academic Programmes 2019
Board of directors
- Dirk FRANSAER, Director VITO, Belgium
- Peter GORGNARD, Managing Director, von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics
- Derrick GOSSELIN, Professor, Royal Military Academy and SCK•CEN
- Pascal HEYMAN, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Belgium at NATO, Belgium
- Jean MEYRAT, Colonel, Deputy R&T Director, Direction Générale de l'Armement, France
- Thomas PARDOEN, Professor, Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium
- Tudor PRISECARU, Professor, Politechnica University Bucharest, Romania
- Sven VAN LOO, Advisor Asylum and Immigration, Defence, Office of Alexander De Croo, Deputy prime minister and minister of Development Cooperation, Digital Agenda, Telecom and Postal Services, Belgium, Chair since November 2017
- Philippe WAEYTENS, Advisor Budget, Office of Jan Jambon, Deputy prime minister and minister of Security and Home Affairs, Belgium
- Bryan WELLS, Dr., Chief Scientist at NATO, NATO HQ
Previous Chairmen of the Board of Directors
April 2016 - November 2017
Vice-chairman ad interim
November 2015 until April 2016
The von Karman Institute statutes have been modified by the Extra-rodinary General Assembly meeting of 15 May 2017.
DESIGNATION AND REGISTERED OFFICE
Article 1: A not-for-profit international association has been created with the name of "von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics", in abbreviated form "V.K.I.", having its registered office in the Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde district of jurisdiction, at 72 Chaussée de Waterloo, Rhode-Saint Genèse, Belgium.
This name may be translated into:
-Dutch: "von Karman Instituut voor Stromingsdynamica", in abbreviated form "V.K.I."
-French: "Institut von Karman de Dynamique des Fluides" in abbreviated form "I.V.K."
Article 2: The objects of the V.K.I. are:
- to promote the training of scientists and engineers from countries that are members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in the field of fluid dynamics
- to contribute to the dissemination of knowledge in the field of fluid dynamics
- to undertake, instigate and promote studies and research in the field of theoretical, experimental and numerical fluid dynamics.
Scientists and engineers from other countries, in accordance with NATO policy, may be authorized by the Board of Directors to participate in the Institute's activities.
It may provide assistance and take an interest in all activities falling within its area of competence.
The association may carry out all operations relating directly or indirectly to its objects.
It may also create and manage any service or institution with a view to accomplishing its objects. To achieve its objects the association carries out university and post-university teaching activities, related to advanced research in the field of fluid dynamics.
The Association organizes among other things university and post-university teaching programmes, courses of lectures, symposiums, seminars and carries out fundamental and applied research in the fields, among others, of aeronautics and aerospace science, turbomachines and propulsion, fluid dynamics applied to industrial and environmental uses.
Article 3: The association is governed by the provisions of Title III of the Belgian law of 27 June 1921 on international not-for-profit associations.
Article 4: The association is composed of full members, hereinafter referred to as "members" and honorary members, hereinafter referred to as "honorary members". Membership is open to Belgian nationals and citizens of the other NATO Member States.
The maximum number of members is unlimited. The minimum number of members is five and must at all times be at least one more than the number of directors.
Membership may be granted in accordance with the membership procedure set out in article 5. The Belgian Federal Government will designate four persons to become a member of the association. These persons will be a member “by law” and are not subject to an approval by the General Assembly in accordance with the procedure set out in article 5.
The title of honorary member is granted by the Board of Directors, following a proposal of the chairman and after consultation with the General Assembly, to a person whose expertise is recognized.
Honorary members are invited to the meetings of the Board and the General Assembly in a consultative capacity.
Article 5: Applications for membership shall be addressed to the V.K.I. They are then submitted to the General Assembly and must be approved by a majority of three-quarters of the votes cast. The General Assembly does not need to state the reasons for its decision that shall be final. The General Assembly's decision shall be notified to the candidate by ordinary letter, electronic mail or fax.
Article 6: Members shall be obliged to pay a membership fee, the amount of which shall be determined by the General Assembly.
Article 7: The General Assembly is constituted of the members.
The Ordinary General Assembly shall meet once a year, during the first four months of the calendar year, at the association's registered office or at the place indicated in the notice convening the meeting.
The Chairman of the Board of Directors shall chair meetings of the General Assembly.
The Chairman or the Secretary shall convene the General Assembly by letter, fax or electronic mail, at least eight days before the date of the meeting. The notices convening the General Assembly shall contain the agenda.
The General Assembly may only deliberate on items on the agenda.
The General Assembly shall consider and take decisions on all questions of a general nature, the management of the association's finances, the appointment of directors and their removal from office.
As no quorum is required, the decisions of the General Assembly are adopted by a majority of the votes cast, except where stipulated otherwise in these by-laws.
Each member shall have only one vote.
The resolutions adopted by the General Assembly shall be recorded in a register: signed by the Chairman and the Secretary and kept at the association's registered office.
Any member may consult this register, but it may not be removed from the association's registered office.
Article 8: Membership of the association shall be forfeited:
- by the member's resignation;
- by a resolution of the General Assembly, stating the reasons for its decision, and adopted by a secret ballot with a majority of three quarters of the members present, after having heard the explanations in its defence of the member in question; and
- “by law” in case the Belgian Federal Government decides to replace a person designated by it in accordance with article 4.
- by death
In all cases, loss of membership shall entail the loss of all possible rights over the assets of the association.
The same shall hold true in respect of the heirs of deceased members.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Article 9: The Board of Directors shall consist of not less than four and not more than ten directors.
The four members, designated by the Belgian Federal Government, in accordance with Article 4, shall be entitled to propose candidates for the appointment of four directors and to request the General Assembly to remove such persons as director of the association for any reason whatsoever and to nominate for appointment as director by the General Assembly, any other person in his place.
The Belgian Federal Government appoints two Government Commissioners as proposed by the Belgian Minister of the Budget and the Belgian State Secretary for Science Policy to the Association. The mandate of the Government Commissioners will be limited in time and not remunerated.
The Government Commissioners are not board members, but participate in the Board of Directors’ meetings with an advisory vote.
The Government Commissioners have access to all documents, management decisions, the delegations of authority and all internal and external communications.
The Government Commissioners may suspend decisions both of the Board of Directors and of one of the directors and may submit these decisions to the Belgian State Secretary for Science Policy. The decision of the Belgian State Secretary for Science Policy on this matter is final.
A director's term of office may not exceed the period of time between two ordinary General Assemblies.
Any director who resigns must remain in office until the date of the next Ordinary General Assembly or until the General Assembly has appointed a new director. The Board of Directors may, however, appoint on a temporary basis a replacement director, who shall replace the director who has resigned up to the end of the latter's mandate.
All instruments relating to the appointment, dismissal or resignation of directors, shall be communicated to the Justice Federal Public Service and published in the Annexes to the Belgian Official Journal.
Any director may be represented by a proxy of his choice who must, however, be a member of the association. Any such power of attorney must be given in writing with the right of delegation. No representative may, however, hold more than two proxies.
Directors shall be eligible for re-election at the end of their term of office.
The Board of Directors shall appoint a Chairman and a Vice-Chairman from among its members by a secret ballot. To be elected they must obtain an absolute majority. The Board of Directors may also appoint a Secretary and a Treasurer, who do not however need to be members of the association.
The Chairman of the Board of Directors shall preside at meetings of the General Assembly. The Board of Directors shall supervise the general management of the association and the progress of its work.
The Chairman is empowered to take urgent measures between meetings and convene, where necessary, an extraordinary meeting of the General Assembly.
The Board of Directors, or certain directors, may be removed from office by a resolution of the General Assembly, adopted by secret ballot, with a majority of three quarters of the members present.
The Board of Directors is the executive and administrative governing body of the association. It shall be convened on the Chairman's initiative or at the request of two directors.
In order for the Board's deliberations to be valid a majority of the directors must be present or represented. Resolutions shall be adopted by a simple majority, except where a special majority is provided for in these by-laws or in law. In the case of a split vote, the motion shall be deemed to have been rejected.
Its Chairman or its Secretary shall convene the board meetings. It shall meet at least twice a year. At least until 31 December 2017 the Board of Directors shall meet (either physically or by electronic means) at least once every two weeks. Notices convening Board meetings shall be sent by letter, electronic mail or fax, at least eight days before the date set for the meeting. The said notices shall contain the agenda for the meeting.
The Board of Directors may set up whatever bodies it deems necessary for the accomplishment of the association's objects. It shall establish their terms of reference.
Board members shall not receive any remuneration for their services. However, expenses incurred by them when carrying out their duties may be reimbursed.
The resolutions adopted by the Board of Directors shall be recorded in a register, signed by the Chairman and the Secretary and kept at the association's registered office.
Any member may consult this register, but it may not be removed from the association's registered office.
Article 10: The association’s working languages shall be Dutch, French or English.
The Dutch language is used for all official communication (acts and other records) of the association, in accordance with the language legislation (including the Flemish Decree on Use of Languages of 19 July 1973). For this kind of communication, a French translation will be added for information.
English is the official language used in the educational programmes and English and French may be used as official languages in the relations with international partners.
Article 11: The resources of the V.K.I. shall be derived from:
- Subsidies, donations or legacies of all kinds
- Membership fees, if any
- Payments, if any, as a result of services rendered to third parties.
Article 12: The association's financial year shall be annual; it shall begin on 1st October of one year and end on 30th September of the following year.
The annual accounts for the previous financial year as well as the budget for the following financial year shall be drawn up by the Board of Directors and submitted for approval to the General Assembly at its next meeting.
Article 13: The General Assembly shall choose, either among its members or from outside, one or more auditors to audit the accounts.
Article 14: The Board of Directors shall manage the daily affairs of the V.K.I. It may delegate some of its powers to its Chairman, a director or one or more officials, as defined in the association's internal rules.
Article 15: The representation of the association and in particular, the right to go to law, to accept donations and legacies and, more generally, to perform all acts in law whatsoever on behalf of the V.K.I. shall be assured by the Chairman of the Board of Directors or by delegation as defined in art. 14.
All instruments relating to the appointment, dismissal or resignation of persons authorized to represent the association shall be communicated to the Justice Federal Public Service and published in the Annexes to the Belgian Official Journal.
AMENDMENT OF THE BY-LAWS AND DISSOLUTION
Any proposal to amend the by-laws or dissolve the association must be made by the Board of Directors or at least three members of the association. No resolution shall be adopted unless it has been approved by a majority of three-quarters of the association’s members. However, where less than three-quarters of the association’s members are present at the General Assembly, a new General Assembly shall be convened, and shall be empowered to take a definitive and valid decision on the proposal in question, by a majority of three quarters of the members present.
The Board of Directors must inform the association’s members of the date of the meeting of the General Assembly, which will vote on the said proposal as well as the amendments proposed.
In the event of dissolution, the General Assembly shall appoint two liquidators, and the total assets of the V. K. I. shall be transferred to the Belgian State
CASES NOT PROVIDED FOR IN THE BY-LAWS
Article 17: In all cases not expressly provided for in these by-laws, Belgian law shall apply.
The von Karman Institute was established in October 1956 in the buildings which formed what then was the aeronautical laboratory of the Civil Aviation Authority (Administration de l'Aéronautique) of the Belgian Ministry of Communications.
The history of the laboratory goes back to 1922 when, on farmland purchased by the Belgian Government, the first building was erected to house the STAé (Service Technique de l'Aéronautique), i.e. the technical services of the Civil Aviation Authority then under the Ministry of Defence. The building was designed to accommodate a large low speed wind tunnel of the Eiffel type with an open return circuit and open-jet test section of 2 m diameter, as well as offices and shops. It still exists and has been refurbished internally after removal of the low speed tunnel to make room for modern turbomachinery and high speed facilities. A second building was added in 1935 to house offices and laboratories. It is now the Institute's administrative building. The last addition was made after the war, in 1949, with the construction of a large building specially designed to house a supersonic tunnel and a multi-configuration low speed facility.
During the pre-war years, the civil aviation technical services based in Sint-Genesius-Rode was responsible for the certification, testing and inspection of aircraft or aircraft components and equipment as well as for the aeronautical ground facilities. Belgium was engaged in aircraft design and construction at that time and the low speed wind tunnel was used for the aerodynamic testing of aircraft models or components. It was also used occasionally for non- aeronautical studies. What stands out as the most important and original contribution to aeronautics in the period between 1930 and 1940 is the pioneering work on helicopters carried out at the laboratory under the leadership of Nicolas Florine. Florine was an outstanding scientist who brought to a successful conclusion the design of the first tandem rotor helicopter using co-rotating rotors. This work involved theoretical studies, model testing in the wind tunnel and in free flight, construction of three prototypes and full scale flight; it culminated in October 1933 with the unofficial world flight duration record for helicopters of 9 minutes 58 seconds. See below the video of 1933.
After the last war, the Belgian Government decided to modernize the aerodynamic testing facilities at Sint-Genesius-Rode on the recommendation of Professor Emile Allard. Since that part of the technical services dealing with aircraft inspection, certification and airworthiness had been moved close to Brussels Airport, there only remained at the location of Sint- Genesius-Rode the aerodynamics laboratory which was jointly operated by the Civil Aviation Authority (Administration de l'Aeronautique) and the national aeronautical research centre, CNERA.
This centre was created by the FNRS (the National Scientific Research Foundation), with the concurrence of the Civil Aviation Authority, to supplement the existing team of civil servants operating the laboratory with scientific personnel who would collaborate in the research programmes. In fact, the main tasks at the beginning were to calibrate the newly acquired low speed and supersonic facilities.
In the course of 1955, Theodore von Karman, who was chairman of the Advisory Group for Aeronautical Research and Development (AGARD) of NATO, proposed with his assistants, Frank Wattendorf and Rolland Willaume, the establishment of an institution devoted to training and research in aerodynamics which would be open to young engineers and scientists of the NATO nations. It was strongly felt that this form of international undertaking would fulfill the important objective of fostering fruitful exchanges and understanding between the participating nations in a well-defined technical field. With the full backing of the Belgian national delegates to AGARD, Dr. M. Freson and Professor F. Haus, the Belgian Government agreed to host the projected new centre in its aeronautical laboratory in Sint- Genesius-Rode. A study group was then set up under the auspices of AGARD to determine the possibilities of establishing the centre at Sint-Genesius-Rode and, bearing in mind the existing facilities, to recommend a teaching programme appropriate to the objective pursued. The group appointed by AGARD consisted of Professors F. Haus, L. Malavard, A.D. Young and C. Zwikker. The coordination was ensured by R. Willaume and F. Wattendorf of AGARD.
Caption: Theodore von Karman inside the "Florine III" tandem rotor helicopter conceived (by Nicolas Florine in 1935) at the place where now stands his institute
In parallel to the scientific mission of the study group, negotiations were undertaken between the governments of the USA and Belgium to obtain a rapid solution to the administrative and financial questions raised by the support and operation of the centre.
The result was a formal agreement between the two governments, reached in Belgium in September 1956 and signed officially in Paris on December 15, 1956 by General J.B. Larkin for the U.S. Government and the Belgian Ambassador to Paris for the Belgian Government.
It is interesting to recall what had been recommended by the AGARD Study Group of 1955 in terms of training and research : ``the Institute should aim toward a training which, apart from its direct and obvious ties with aeronautical industries, would be of value in wider areas such as industrial or scientific research where the application of experimental techniques of aerodynamics would be profitable''.
The group also ``felt it desirable that certain research programs be carried out at the Institute and in that perspective to encourage good students to prolong their stay at the Institute for another year to devote themselves to research''.
Later the support of the Institute was shared, with different contributions, between a larger number of NATO countries and as one would expect for an institution depending upon fifteen nations for its support, difficulties and problems have, in the course of its 59 years of existence, occasionally arisen. They have always been surmounted thanks to the goodwill and understanding of the participating nations who recognized the important role assumed by the Institute in specialized training and in scientific cooperation.
Theodore von Kármán acted as the Institute's Chairman until his death in 1963. It was then that the name of the organization was changed in memory of its founder.