Professor in Hydropedology

KU Leuven

Leuven, Belgium 🇧🇪

In the Science, Engineering and Technology Group of KU Leuven, at the crossroads of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, there is a part-time (50%) academic vacancy in the field of Hydropedology. Water is a central component of the water-food-energy nexus, which is currently under pressure of climate and socio-economical changes. The functioning of terrestrial agro- and ecosystems is largely controlled by water availability and they in turn redistribute the water. Scientific breakthroughs to improve our understanding of water dynamics in agro- and ecosystems come with advances in our ability to observe, measure and model soil-water-vegetation processes at various scales. Moreover, understanding the supply and demand of water from the plant to the field or catchment scale creates opportunities for engineering solutions, such as optimizing plant production and groundwater recharge, thereby solving trade-offs between production and other ecosystem services. You will be affiliated with both the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (Division of Soil and Water Management) and with the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering. The division investigates how soil and water can be preserved as our natural resources, and conducts research on land and water management at different scales including topics as soil fertility, biogeochemical cycling of elements, environmental microbiology, environmental chemistry, and land surface remote sensing, modeling and data assimilation ( The faculty organises Dutch and English language study programmes at bachelor, master and PhD-level in Bioscience Engineering at large and in Agro- and Ecosystems Engineering and Land Management in particular (

You will perform research, in collaboration with other scientists of the Division of Soil and Water Management, at the interface between soil science and hydrology; that has an outreach to applications such as irrigation and drainage. You are expected to introduce novel methods in that field such as sensor technology and/or modelling, and applied to current topics such as climate change and links with water availability and quality and greenhouse gas emissions.

You give attention to research valorisation in collaboration with KU Leuven tech transfer office and with government and industry.

You strive for excellence in your research and provide substantial contribution to the continued development and the international character of the research group and the department.

You publish at the highest scientific level, acquire resources for fundamental and applied research, develop international collaborations and supervise PhDs at an international level.


You contribute to teaching assignments in the fields of water management and soil science in the master programs of Water Resources Engineering (IUPWARE), Agro- and Ecosystems Engineering (ACE), and Land Management, with an ambition to take up 2-3 medium-sized courses (e.g., Integrated Water Management; Crop Water Productivity Modelling; Applied temperate and/or Tropical Soil Science). From the start, you will be involved in the coordination of one of these master programs to prepare for a future role as programme director of IUPWARE.

You also contribute to the educational ambitions of the faculty/university through the supervision of bachelor and master theses and as a promoter of PhD students.

You develop your teaching in accordance with KU Leuven’s vision on research-based and activating education and make use of the possibilities for educational professionalisation offered by the faculty and the university.


As a member of the academic staff of KU Leuven, you play an important role in society through your research and teaching, but also through your participation in the public debate, contributions to policy-supporting research projects for governments from the local to the European level, and participation in research-for-development projects (collaboration with developing countries).

You gradually take up an active role in councils, educational committees, working groups within the university and in particular, within the mentioned division, department and faculty.

  • You obtained a PhD in Bioscience Engineering or in a related field and have a strong research track record in hydropedology using both observational methods and modelling.
  • Your expertise complements the existing expertise in the Department on erosion and sediment transport, groundwater and contaminant hydrology, aquatic biogeochemistry, stable isotope techniques, soil water management, climate modelling, water-related economics, land surface remote sensing, crop modelling, land modelling and data assimilation, terrestrial ecology, forestry and biodiversity.
  • You have a strong scientific track record with international publications.
  • Demonstrated scientific mobility is considered a strong asset.
  • You have demonstrated skills for teaching at the academic level. Teaching experience is a must and substantial teaching experience an advantage.
  • You possess the capacity to lead and animate a research team and to attract research funding.
  • You have organisational skills, a collegial attitude and leadership skills in a university context. This is complemented by strong interpersonal skills and the ability to function in international teams.
  • Proficiency in English is required. KU Leuven provides courses in academic English. The official language used at KU Leuven is Dutch. If you do not speak Dutch (or do not speak it well) at the start of employment, KU Leuven will provide language training to enable you to take part in meetings.
  • Before teaching courses in Dutch or English, you will be given the opportunity to learn Dutch, respectively English, to the required standard.

We are offering a part-time (50%) employment in an intellectually challenging environment. KU Leuven is a research-intensive, internationally oriented university that carries out both fundamental and applied scientific research. It is focused on inter- and multidisciplinarity and strives for international excellence. In this regard, it actively works together with research partners in Belgium and abroad. KU Leuven aims at providing its students with an academic education that is based on high-quality scientific research.

You will work in Leuven, a historic, dynamic and lively city located in the heart of Belgium, at 20 minutes by train from Brussels, the capital of the European Union, and less than two hours from Paris, London and Amsterdam.

Depending on your track record and qualifications, you will be appointed to or tenured in one of the grades of the senior academic staff: assistant professor, associate professor, professor or full professor. If you are a junior researcher you will, in principle, be appointed as assistant tenure track professor for a period of 5 years. If your evaluation after this period is positive, you will be permanently appointed (or tenured) as an associate professor. You will receive a starting grant for setting up your research and recruiting a PhD researcher.


For more information please contact Prof. dr. Gert Verstraeten, departmental chair of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, mail: [email protected] or Prof. dr. ir. Steven Bouillon, head of Division Soil and Water Management, mail: [email protected] For problems with online applying, please contact [email protected]


Add to your application following documents (more information is available on the KU Leuven job site):

Your biosketch in which you outline your added value as an academic for research, education and service to society of your past career and of your future activities (maximum 2 pages);
A file on your five most important publications or realizations;
An extensive cv including a full publication list and if applicable a portfolio of your architectural projects;
Your research plan with focus on the development of your research line and research team in relation with the colleague-researchers of the entity of employment (maximum 5 pages);
Your vision on academic education and its organization (maximum 2 pages);
Your contribution to society by outreach and public communication on science and technology, internal representation in boards and councils and service activities directly in relation to your developed expertise (maximum 1 page);
Your vision on leadership (maximum 1 page).

KU Leuven places great importance on research integrity and ethical conduct and will therefore ask you to sign an integrity statement upon appointment.

You can apply for this job no later than January 14, 2021 via the online application tool
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at [email protected]