VITO · Genk, General Manager

Genk, Belgium/Remote
Added: April 16, 2024

On behalf of Open Thor Living Lab, we are looking for a General Manager:

Open Thor living lab ( is a top-level European innovation environment that focuses on innovative solutions for the energy transition on the one hand, but also wants to provide solutions for smart manufacturing and smart city applications on the other.

To achieve this, EnergyVille (a collaborative initiative involving the renowned Belgian research partners VITO, KULeuven, IMEC, and Hasselt University), Thor Park and the City of Genk have joined forces to create an unparalleled ecosystem – with a state-of-the-art infrastructure in which innovative energy solutions are developed, tested and ensure an accelerated market entry in unique interaction with scientific institutions, companies, education, governments and local citizens. For the coordination of the Open Thor living lab, a legal entity is currently under construction.

We are looking for a General Manager to lead this unique ecosystem and state-of-the-art connected and real-life infrastructure allowing research and private partners to test novel energy solutions, accelerating innovation, valorization, and go-to-market.

The General Manager coordinates the living lab initiative, works in close cooperation with its stakeholders and is responsible for defining, executing, refining, and reporting on the overall strategy, including investments, public relations, marketing and valorization and budget. The objective is to implement a not-for-profit but financially sound and sustainable Open Thor living lab organization at the pace of its infrastructural backbone development, and in close collaboration with its strategic partners and the ecosystem.

The General Manager will be responsible to gradually extend and lead the Open Thor living lab operational team (of which she/he is the first recruitment) in line with the strategy, the deployment of the infrastructural assets and associated business model.

The General Manager will work in close collaboration with the strategic partners and will be supported by them for the implementation of the strategy.

The General Manager reports to the governing body assembled by representatives from the strategic partners (Stichting EnergyVille, Thor Park and City of Genk) and the Flemish government.

Open Thor living lab masterplan and valorization strategy

  • You take responsibility for implementing the current living lab master plan and valorization strategy in line with the business plan.
  • You continue developing the living lab master plan and investment strategy for the future.
  • You formulate the strategy in terms of economic and societal impact and identify, evaluate, and structure key actions to ensure continued sustainable development and maximum value creation for the ecosystem through the living lab assets.
  • You establish a work culture within Open Thor so that every collaborator within Open Thor shares the vision and common goals of Open Thor.
  • You take the lead in the alignment of the master plan and valorization strategy with the strategic partners.
  • You define and manage the roles and responsibilities to successfully operate the living lab.
  • You safeguard the open and not-for-profit character of the living lab while maximizing its positive impact for the ecosystem.
  • You maintain an open and active interaction with the strategic partners and other important partners of Open Thor.

KPIs (key performance indicators) and budgeting

  • You are responsible for defining and realizing the strategic KPIs for the living lab in line with the strategy and budget.
  • You monitor the progress of the KPIs, and you define actions where needed to achieve the living lab goals.
  • You update the short term annual and long-term business plan for the living lab in alignment with the governing body.
  • You are responsible for the financial management of the living lab according to approved budget (assets, capital, revenues and costs) of the living lab organization.

Asset pipeline, utilization and contract management

  • You are responsible for the overview of the living lab backbone and connected assets from the strategic partners and/or end users.
  • You are responsible for managing the capacity and utilization of backbone assets.
  • You are responsible to set up contracts, confidentiality clauses and service agreements with the involved partners for the backbone and connected assets.

Business development, customer relationship management and marketing communication

  • You are responsible to set up one commercial storefront for the Open Thor living lab to capture needs and opportunities of the ecosystem.
  • You lead business development activities for the living lab, you identify synergies with the strategic partners and seek strategic collaborations to increase value creation for the ecosystem.
  • You build up strong and good relationships with potential customers for the living lab.
  • You develop marketing plans and organize the marketing communication actions for the living lab in alignment with the strategic partners.

Networking and representation

  • You build up a network of local and national / international actors and ensure public relations that are vital to the living lab strategy.
  • You represent Open Thor living lab in external events, partnerships and strategic alliances. You focus on active engagement of all actors of the quadruple helix.

Living lab team leadership

  • You gradually develop, lead and motivate the living lab operational team in line with the strategy and budget.
  • You are a coach and mentor for your team.
  • You ensure smooth and close collaboration with the strategic partners of Open Thor living lab.

Job requirements

  • You hold a master’s or PhD degree in a relevant domain.
  • You have preferably 10+ years of experience in developing business strategies with a solid understanding of performance and finance management, business development and operational project management with energy knowledge and expertise.
  • You have proven experience in setting up and managing a team that is providing solutions for a combination of industrial, scientific, policy and end user interests in an innovation context.
  • You can analyze customers’ needs from the quadruple helix for testing/validating innovations in the field of energy and smart manufacturing and translate these into a commercial offering supported by marketing and communication actions.
  • You are a strategic thinker and can translate strategies into goals and concrete actions and plans.
  • You show strong leadership skills focusing on value creation, impact, and growth in cooperation with a complex ecosystem of different actors.
  • You can set up, lead and manage a multidisciplinary team effectively and you are experienced in coaching and mentoring team members.
  • You can adapt to changing circumstances and are a promoter for fruitful collaborations.
  • You have excellent communication and networking skills.
  • Excellent knowledge of English and Dutch is necessary. Knowledge of other languages (French, German) is a plus.


  • A European front-running responsibility and position to further develop and deploy Open Thor living lab in an exciting and flourishing top European energy and smart manufacturing innovation environment, in cooperation with a rapidly growing ecosystem.
  • A competitive salary with extra-legal benefits. Also a management contract is possible
  • Being part of an exciting and innovative working environment.

For questions regarding this vacancy, you can contact: Daan Six (Vito) & Gerrit Jan Schaeffer (EnergyVille) or Benjamin Kumbruck (HR Consultant A.I.)