Message from the President

walterpeeters2Although there are positive signs of recovery worldwide, it is also evident that the economic situation still requires 2-3 years to come back to a cyclic growth phase. In this transient stage most organizations and companies are careful in terms of investments and recruitments. A typical aspect related to such uncertainty is the awarding of more short-term contracts.

We are very frequently contacted by Alumni asking advice on this and my recommendation is clear : take such a contract as it will position you better once economy re-establishes itself! This situation is not only due to the aforementioned uncertainty but also due to the supply/demand effect. Indeed, having unfortunately many young professionals applying for jobs, there is a certain tendency to start with an indefinite proposal in order to be sure that the right candidate was selected.

ISU Alumni have a proven record to be well positioned in this situation and are still highly regarded in particular in the space sector. More than oft we get the positive news that one of our alumni got an indefinite contract offered long before the finishing of his first, definite assignment to be sure they will stay in the organization. Also the recent statistics, available here, demonstrate that after less than 6 months more than 75% of our Master Alumni have found a job or have been accepted for post-graduate studies.

However, we cannot ignore that the number of recruitments is reducing, both in Agencies as well as in companies directly or indirectly associated to Agency budgets. This has an impact on the availability of ISU scholarships from these organizations which is felt hard in ISU. More and more sponsors are asking to show that the programs of ISU are at least cost-neutral, as they are keen to see a sustainable future for ISU. It has therefore been decided to streamline a number of activities the coming years with the objective to optimize internal costs.

ISU is working closely with the local administration in order to reduce the internal cost by e.g. savings in energy (evidently with a positive effect on the environment). More can still be done and amongst others the present energy balance within ISU is studied to reach a second level of savings after the ones introduced internally. Having solar panels on ISU would evidently not only considerably support this but would also increase the link between space activities and spin-off applications.

Another aspect where our sponsors strongly insist upon is to have a shown commitment from the future participants of the programs, at the same time improving the cost recovery in the different programs. For the time being therefore a more rigid management of scholarships is necessary. It may therefore come to a surprise if applicants receive lower scholarship offers than they were aware of from previous groups in the past or even from previous offers. This is dictated by the requirement to at least cover the marginal cost for each participant for the respective programs.

In order to compensate this partially, a number of interest free loans are available, so in case the scholarship offer is not in line with the financial possibilities, I can only but encourage participants to get in contact with the admissions office about this.
Surely this means investing in your future, but in a highly competitive environment on the job market one cannot have sufficient cards, and the ISU card has proven to be a very important one!

I therefore hope that you consider not only the short term issues related to financing your studies but also look into the mid-term opportunities and … join ISU.
Looking forward to welcome you soon !


Faithfully yours,


Walter Peeters
ISU President