ESA Astronaut Class of 2022 – Raphaël Liégeois (Career) – Raphaël Liégeois was born in Belgium in 1988. Education: Raphaël studied biomedical engineering at the University of Liège, Belgium, from 2005 to 2011. He also became Ingénieur Centralien as part of a double degree exchange program with the École Centrale Paris, France, in 2009 and earned a master’s degree in fundamental physics from the University Paris-Sud Orsay, France, in 2010. During his studies in Paris, he took part in a parabolic flight campaign with French space agency CNES to test a physics experiment. From 2011 to 2015, he completed a Doctorate in neuroscience at the University of Liège, Belgium, where he developed mathematical models of brain function. Raphaël speaks French, English, and Dutch.
During his time as a doctoral candidate, Raphaël worked as a teaching assistant for various courses, including systems modelling and nonlinear systems, at the University of Liège, Belgium. From 2015 to 2017, he completed a post-doctoral research stay at the National University of Singapore, where his research aimed at defining new neuroimaging markers of neurodegenerative diseases. From 2018 to 2021, Raphaël was a senior post-doctoral research fellow with the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland, where he developed dynamic models of brain function. During this time, Raphaël was also a visiting research scholar at Stanford University, USA, in 2019.
From 2021, Raphaël has been working as a Research and Teaching Fellow at the University of Geneva and the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland, where he taught neuroengineering and statistics courses, and pursued research on brain dynamics in health and disease. His research was awarded with several prizes and honours and he was active as organiser of multiple international courses and events.
Raphaël is an active hot air balloon pilot, gas balloon pilot, and glider pilot. He also holds diving and sailing licenses. In 2017, Raphaël and his wife completed a 4-month cycling trip from Singapore to Belgium to meet poets across Asia and Europe.
In his leisure time, Raphaël enjoys reading biographies and poetry and is active in a variety of sports such as running, swimming, biking, diving and sailing.
In November 2022, Raphaël was selected as an ESA career astronaut.