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Job ID: 143040

Professor in eco-hydro-morphodynamics
KU Leuven

Date Posted Jun. 15, 2020
Title Professor in eco-hydro-morphodynamics
University KU Leuven
Leuven, Vlaams-Brabant, Belgium
Application Deadline Nov. 2, 2020
Position Start Date Oct. 1, 2021
  • Assistant Professor
    Associate Professor
  • Civil Engineering
    Engineering - Other

In the Science, Engineering and Technology Group of KU Leuven, jointly between the Faculty of Engineering Science, Department of Civil Engineering, and the Faculty of Sciences, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, there is a full-time academic position to perform research on the interactions between hydrodynamics, sediment transport and biota.

Rivers, estuaries and coastal environments are faced with many challenges following natural environmental change and human disturbances, yet are very complex systems characterised by an interplay between geomorphological, ecological and hydraulic processes that is so far poorly understood. While engineers seek for sustainable solutions to protect the earth against threats by natural disasters or human disturbances, more and more we try to learn from nature which seems to be able to engineer itself. In view of climate change, nature-based solutions are a promising way to go, but there is still is big gap of knowledge and understanding about how nature functions, how living materials interact with water and sediments to create or sustain their ideal habitat or how they adapt to changing conditions. We are looking for internationally oriented candidates with an excellent research record and with educational competence within the field(s) of (eco-)hydraulics and/or (eco-)morphodynamics. You will work in the Hydraulics Division of the Department of Civil Engineering and in the Geography and Tourism division of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Leuven (Arenberg).

The Hydraulics Division focuses on coastal and estuarine hydraulics, sediment mechanics and urban and river hydrology and hydraulics. This division conducts fundamental and applied research on the interaction between waves, currents and particle transport. Research in the Geography and Tourism Division focuses on the study of human-environment interactions and the way in which these shape space. Particularly relevant is this divisions’ expertise in geomorphic processes (soil erosion, sediment transport and deposition, fluvial morphodynamics), complemented with competences of the department in biogeochemical cycles, plant-soil interactions, ecology and remote sensing of vegetation, water and soil systems. Both divisions make extensive use of data from field or laboratory measurements and remote sensing. They also use (open-source) numerical models, for which they develop new process models.

You conduct fundamental and applied research on the interactions between hydrodynamics, sediment transport and biota in fluvial, estuarine and/or coastal environments, with a focus on the mutual feedbacks between these three players.
You will use current state of the art and develop new methods to understand the role of biological processes in morphodynamics, and look for applications of sustainable, nature-based solutions for environmental problems (e.g. in the view of climate change).
You will support the design and set-up a new state-of-art laboratory where the interactions between water, sediments and (living) biota can be studied, which aims at becoming a unique facility of international reputation.
You look for opportunities to valorise your research in collaboration with government and/or industry.
You set up national and international collaborations in this field.
You strive for excellence in your research and provide contributions to the continued development and the international character of the research groups and departments.
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 ensure high-quality education in the programmes of Civil Engineering, Geography and Water Resources Engineering, with a clear commitment to the excellence of these programmes. You cover courses in the field of hydraulics, sediment transport and morphodynamics, and support students to develop skills in a laboratory and field environment and in numerical modelling. You also contribute to the pedagogic project of the university through the supervision of bachelor and master theses and as a promoter of PhD students.
You develop your teachings in accordance with KU Leuven’s vision on activating and researched-based education and make use of the possibilities for the educationalist professionalization offered by the faculty and the university.

As 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 and international level. Participation in research-for-development projects (collaboration with developing countries) is encouraged.
You take up an active role in councils, educational committees, working groups of the university and in particular, of the division, department and faculty you will belong to.

You have a PhD degree in (hydraulic / oceanographic / geotechnical) engineering science, earth sciences, physical geography, ecology or a related subject.
You have research experience preferably in at least two of the following fields: (eco-) hydraulics, (eco-) morphodynamics, computational fluid mechanics, sediment mechanics. You are open-minded to cross borders between these disciplines and be willing to learn from others.
You have the desire and vision to close the triangle between water, sediments and ecology by linking the expertise of yourself with other colleagues with complementary expertise in these fields (within as well as outside KU Leuven). You are not expected to master every aspect of the eco-hydro-morphodynamics triangle, but should be able to coordinate, strengthen and optimize a research network between the available expertise. You must succeed in bridging the different research approaches and integrate results from all of them.
You have experience in conducting laboratory and/or field experiments and in the design of laboratory facilities and/or larger field campaigns, and have affinity with numerical modelling of flow processes.
You have a strong research profile. The quality of your research is proven by publications in prominent international journals and/or books. International experience is an important advantage.
You have demonstrable qualities related to academic education. Teaching experience is an advantage.
You develop a strong national and international network and you contribute highly to the international visibility of KU Leuven.
You possess organisational skills and have a cooperative attitude. You also possess leadership capacities within a university context.
For this position, it is expected that you are able to teach courses in Dutch or in English from the start (native or C1 level CEFR). The official language at KU Leuven is Dutch. If you do not speak Dutch (or do not speak it well) at the start of employment to meet the legal requirements, 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 resp. English to the required standard. Information is available on the language attestation website

We are offering a full-time employment in an intellectually challenging environment.
KU Leuven is a research-intensive, internationally oriented university that carries out both fundamental and applied scientific research. Our university is highly inter- and multidisciplinary focused and strives for international excellence. In this regard we actively work together with research partners in Belgium and abroad and provide our 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, within 20 minutes from Brussels, the capital of the European Union, and less than two hours from Paris, London and Amsterdam.
Depending on your 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. In principle, junior researchers are appointed as assistant professor on the tenure track for a period of 5 years; after this period and a positive evaluation, they are permanently appointed (or tenured) as an associate professor.

For more information please contact Prof. dr. ir. Erik Toorman, tel.: +32 16 32 16 59, mail: or Prof. dr. Gert Verstraeten, tel.: +32 16 32 64 11, mail:
For problems with online applying, please contact

Add to your application following documents (more information is available on the KU Leuven job site):
your biosketch in which you indicate 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 integritystatement upon appointment.
    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

Please reference in your cover letter when
applying for or inquiring about this job announcement.

Contact Information

  • KU Leuven
    HR Department
    Parijsstraat 72b Bus 5540
    Leuven, Vlaams-Brabant 3000


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