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Junior Professor in Agro- and Ecosystems Restoration Engineering (ref. ZAP-2023-9)

KU Leuven offers a full-time academic vacancy in the area of Agro- and Ecosystems Restoration Engineering at its Engineering Technology campus in Geel. We are looking for candidates with an excellent interdisciplinary research record and educational competencies in the field of applied ecology, forestry, agro- and ecosystems management for ecosystem services, with a focus on applied research in collaboration with stakeholders, technology-transfer, field experience and project-based learning. The successful candidate will be appointed in the Division of Forest, Nature and Landscape at the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, with a teaching duty at the Faculty of Engineering Technology Campus Geel of KU Leuven.

The faculty of Engineering Technology has an extensive national and international network, both in the academic and business world. The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences carries out state-of-the-art scientific research with respect to the functioning of geo- and ecosystems at different spatial and temporal scales, including the interaction between humans and the environment and the sustainable management of natural resources.

You will become part of a young and dynamic research group at KU Leuven Campus Geel with a multidisciplinary focus and emphasis on managing environment-soil-plant-animal interactions. You’ll be working in close collaboration with colleagues in Soil Science, Animal Sciences and Plant Sciences. Campus Geel maintains strong links to the workfield, more particularly the local actors and stakeholders, looking for positive interactions and opportunities between agricultural production, environmental processes, and management of landscapes and ecosystems. The campus can rely on a long tradition of practice-based research and services (both for the Flemish Region and European level).



  • The successful candidate will develop research activities in the field of Agro- and Ecosystems Restoration Engineering, focussed at reducing land degradation and biodiversity decline and at restoring system health of mixed landscapes including natural and/or agricultural systems, with the aim of regaining and optimizing regulating, provisioning and cultural services. This includes designing new and spatially explicit strategies to enhance regenerative system processes through nature-based solutions and data-driven precision management, as well as win-win with agricultural production. This focus will necessarily imply attention for climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies, through e.g. anthropogenic emission reduction (source and target oriented) in the landscape, carbon capture in soil and vegetation, assisted migration of species or other adaptive strategies. This cross-disciplinary profile focussing on agro- and ecosystem restoration engineering should supplement the already existing expertise in soil, plant and animal science within the group. This vacancy is part of the effort to meet these needs, and the successful candidate is expected to explicit ambition to strive for complementarity and synergy with current research efforts on Campus Geel.
  • In your research, you will creatively integrate new insights and research results from various fields of ecology, plant science, animal science and engineering, as described above. To do so, you will set up your own research group, build collaborations on campus and internationally and competitively obtain both project-based government funding and bilateral (industrial) funding that results in PhD’s and publications that meet international standards and lead to broad international recognition. You pay effort to the valorisation of your research results for society and industry. To this end, you are motivated to develop demand-driven research and transfer fundamental insights and concepts into management recommendations and solutions that can be converted to scalable field applications to improve health and resilience of agrosystems and ecosystems.


  • You provide high-quality education to both Bachelor's and Master's students enrolled in the Master of Biosciences at Campus Geel, within the domain of ecology and the management of natural areas (e.g forests, grasslands, peatlands) and rural areas with a clear commitment to the quality of the programme as a whole, and in accordance with KU Leuven’s views on activating and researched-based education. Courses will focus on Ecosystem dynamics and management, eco- and agro-system health and practical sessions in recording and analysing ecosystem component traits (taught mainly in Dutch).
  • You will also contribute to the faculty’s and the university’s pedagogical project through the supervision of student projects (for example bachelor’s and master’s theses) and by acting as a promotor of PhD students. The educational profile of the faculty is strongly geared towards applied competences and attitudes, that include practical sessions and field courses and methods. Before teaching courses in Dutch, you will show your proficiency in Dutch to the required standard, as well as make use of the possibilities for educational professionalization offered by the faculty and the university.


  • You are prepared to provide services to the scientific community, to society and to the university. In particular, you are willing to provide services to the government and to stakeholders in the context of applied research. To this end, you have a track record of actively engaging with the (local) stakeholders, linking the state-of-the-art to the state-of-practice.
  • You play an active part in science communication and in advertising the Faculty of Engineering Technology towards new students and the wider professional field: you actively participate in science events, thematic days and workshops involving stakeholders, publish in workfield-oriented press, and participate in open days, networking events and fairs promoting the research group and master education.


  • You have a PhD in Bioscience Engineering, Ecological Engineering, Engineering Technology or a related degree. You have demonstrated excellence and productivity in the field of data-driven restoration of ecosystems and/or agrosystems and in optimizing land management for ecosystem services (e.g. through the subject of your doctoral thesis, research projects and publications). You possess organisational skills and have a cooperative attitude. You also possess leadership competencies in a university or industry context.
  • You have a strong research track record in the discipline. Relevant experience in working with professionals and stakeholders is an important asset. You have an interdisciplinary vision on research and can demonstrate a vision on the possible synergies with ongoing research on the campus in Geel and within the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. A proven interest in international collaboration for research and for development in the Global South are an asset.
  • You have a vision on providing high quality academic education in your field, and are committed to the educational project at Campus Geel. Teaching experience on an academic level is an advantage.
  • A good command of English and Dutch is a requirement for this position. Since this position involves teaching in Bachelor (fully in Dutch) and Masters (mainly in Dutch), this position requires a C1 level in Dutch from the start.
  • The official administrative language used at KU Leuven is Dutch. If you do not speak Dutch (or do not speak it well) at the start of your employment, KU Leuven will provide language training to enable you to take part in meetings and to acquire the level of Dutch that is required for tenure.
  • Before teaching courses in Dutch or English, you will be given the opportunity to learn Dutch resp. English to the required standard.


  • We offer full-time employment in an intellectually challenging environment and with a large degree of freedom.
  • KU Leuven is a research-intensive, internationally oriented university that carries out both fundamental and applied scientific research. Founded in 1425, it has been a centre of learning for almost six centuries. Today, it is Belgium’s highest-ranked university and consistently among the 100 top universities in several leading rankings worldwide. It was proclaimed most innovative university in Europe. KU Leuven is highly focused on interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research and strives for international excellence. In this regard, the university actively works together with research partners in Belgium and abroad and provides its students with an academic education that is based on high-quality scientific research in a collaborative and inclusive environment.
  • You will be appointed as assistant professor on a tenure track period for 5 years. At the end of this period and after a positive evaluation, you can acquire permanent tenure as an associate professor.
  • You mainly work at KU Leuven Geel Campus. This campus is one of the operational sites of the KU Leuven multi-campus Faculty of Engineering Technology. The campus is focused on technological and industry-oriented training and research. Other campuses can also use your expertise for teaching assignments.
  • To facilitate scientific integration and research in the first phase, a research position equivalent to a PhD fellowship for 4 years is made available. If you have no other substantial funding available, you can also apply for a start-up grant of EUR 110,000, on the condition that you are appointed for at least 50%.
  • KU Leuven is well set to welcome foreign professors and their family and provides practical support with regard to immigration & administration, housing, childcare, learning Dutch, partner career coaching, …

For more information on the contents of the job, please contact:

* Prof. Dr. Patrick Degryse, head of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (Patrick.degryse@kuleuven.be)

* Prof. Dr. ir. Karen Vancampenhout, EES Campus Geel (karen.vancampenhout@kuleuven.be)

You can submit your application, only through our online application system. If you have problems submitting your application online, please send an email to solliciteren@kuleuven.be.

Add to your application following documents in English (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;

- 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 4 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 December 12, 2023 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 diversiteit.HR@kuleuven.be.

Apply before: 13/12/2023

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