Ecole Royale Militaire



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Organisation de la recherche

RMA is the “corporate university” of the Ministry of Defence and is governed by Belgian federal law. It is a military institution of university level, adhering to the Bologna declaration and it obtained its accreditation.

Ministry of Defence

The Ministry of Defence supports the research activities in different ways: by providing the academic staff, part of the research personnel, building facilities and some of the research tooling. Indirectly it provides funding through the RHID-projects (Royal Higher Institute for Defence).

RMA Commandant

Has the overall responsibility for all research activities at RMA and as such chairs the SRC and de jure also RMA-Patrimony. His staff having legal and financial competences will advice and support the SRC in particular and research efforts in general.

Scientific Research Council (SRC)

The SRC (Scientific Research Council) or RWO (Raad Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek) or CRS (Conseil de la recherche scientifique) is chaired by the RMA-Commandant, managed by the DEAO and is composed of all Heads of Department (HoD). It is responsible for issuing the general politics and guidelines on research at the RMA. Furthermore, it has the following tasks:

 Decide on the definition of the overhead taken by the RMA-Patrimony (in function of the project turnaround).

 Decide on a concept of solidarity between Department/RUnits using this overhead.

 Mandate the DEAO to control the implementation and, when necessary, impose these politics and guidelines.

 Control and approve/disapprove the action of the DEAO on a yearly basis.

 Assign the Pole leaders


The DEAO has the role of vice-rector education and vice-rector research. As vice-rector research, he coordinates all research activities. He is the chief executive officer (CEO) of the SRC. In order to fulfil his tasks as CEO he uses a staff of people grouped in what we call today RSWO. He distributes the tasks inside the RSWO at his discretion taking into account the people and material resources are made available for these tasks.

Some of these tasks are to provide or coordinate:

 Legal advice and support

 Contractual management of non-permanent researchers

 Financial advice and support for all budget lines

 An efficient IT system to facilitate the budget follow up

 The internal and external dissemination of the research activities of the RMA (e.g. website, annual report, organisation of symposia,…).

 Dissemination of external research calls (RHID, EU, BelSPo, regions, communities,…).

 Follow-up and coordination of projects entered by RMA HoR’s (see RUnit) in response to these calls.

 Initiatives, using the overhead taken by RMA-Patrimony, to encourage and strengthen research at the RMA (e.g. PhD grants, common purchases, etc…).

As SRC-CEO, DEAO will have the responsibility to accept or reject proposed spending on particular budget-lines which are managed by the Ministry of Defence or by RMA-Patrimony. (= judge the opportunity of a spending). In such, he will follow the federal law in general, the budget rules imposed by the Ministry of Defence and the vision defined by the SRC.

Research Cell (RCell)

A research cell is the smallest research unit. It is an ensemble of people and facilities working in a narrow research field. A research cell has a team of least 3 (PhD) people with a cell team leader (CTL) (post PhD preferred), although in certain specific fields less people can be accepted. The CTL reports to the Head of Research (HoR). For a large RCell, a formal structure is needed and a RA (Research Associate) can lead the cell. For smaller entities, an informal structure may do.

Research Unit (RUnit)

A research unit groups one or more research cells in a specific research domain. The leader, called Head of Research (HoR) coordinates the research activities of the different research cells in his unit.

A RUnit may also develop activities generating income such as expertise work or laboratory analysis and certifications for the government or industry. It will then have a budget line to manage this activity.

In some exceptional cases, when a research domain just needs special attention and follow up without explicit research activities, or the sole activity is to provide expert services or laboratory analysis and/or certifications, a RUnit can be defined without RCell. In this case the RUnit will be manned by just one or a few people or technical personnel specialised in this specific domain.

The HoR manages the unit and reports to the HoD:

 The unit human ressources

 The budget lines assigned to the RUnit by the HoD.

 The technical facilities associated with the RUnit

A RUnit can be member of one or different Poles or not belonging to a Pole at all.

Department (Dept)

A department is responsible for education in particular fields. It also regroups one or more research units in these fields.

The head of department (HoD) manages all aspects of the department.

He organises the lobbying activities looking for project partners and contacts in the framework of research sponsoring of international organisations like ESA, EC, etc.. and supports the submission and quality of the project proposals.

He is the final responsible for all resources used in his RUnits (human, financial and material). He will establish a good balance between the available budgets based on the current projects and the costs. He will assign a pilot for each budget-line.

At all moments, the HoD needs to be capable of reporting and justifying the budget distribution and consumption to the SRC via the DEAO. He will provide an annual report including financial balance statements, an overview of all current projects, the use of the budgets, the planning for the next year and a general planning for the coming 3 years.

Research POLE

The promotion of the research activities towards the external world is very important. The strength of such promotion (marketing) lies in the fact that one can propose an ensemble of research competences and capacities that cannot be handled by just one RUnit.

This is the reason for the existence of different Research Poles. They groups a number of RUnits coming from one or different departments. The pole has a manager who has the role of

 Negotiating the participation of the some or all of the RUnits of a pole in a project. He will receive a mandate of the HoR’s and/or HoD’s for these negotiations.

 Coordinating the promotional (marketing) activity of the pole via a website or other (lobbying) activities.

 Organising meetings with the HoR’s in order to define the marketing and lobbying strategy

 Represents the pole in meetings in joint research programs

He has no other (financial or managerial) responsibilities. These remain at the level of the HoD’s.

He is proposed by the HoR’s involved to their respective HoD’s and gets his assignment from the SRC.

RMA Patrimony

It should be clear that the Ministry of Defence plays a crucial role; it provides research budgets (via RHID) for specific corporate research activities and staff and facilities. However, RMA also submits project proposals to EC, ESA, etc... and has as such other funding channels. In the framework of these channels, the Ministry of Defence cannot act as contracting partner. Also, it has been accepted that revenues can be generated through activities for industry or government and that these revenues can be used to support the RMA research. RMA-Patrimony permits for this mechanism. The role of RMA-Patrimony in the framework of RMA-research is to be a service partner.

Research activities are executed by people belonging to different organisations: Defence, RMA-Patrimony and possibly others (e.g. invited professors, internships, etc…). They are using facilities provided by different sources: Defence, RMA-Patrimony and possibly others (e.g. equipment in loan via industrial partners or provided by other university institutions, for example in the context of a bi-diploma PhD, etc…). Therefore, in order to streamline the research activities, a specific RMA-research-organisation structure is proposed. It is also necessary to define the composition, tasks and responsibilities of the different actors.

RMA : Royal Military Academy