Research professor in Soil Science and Soil Fertility (BOFZAP) (OE209)

Research professor in Soil Science and Soil Fertility (BOFZAP) (OE209)

KU Leuven has a full-time academic vacancy in the area of soil science and soil fertility in the Division of Soil and Water Management. We are looking for internationally oriented candidates with an excellent research record and with educational competence within the field of soil science and soil fertility. The appointment will be made in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering of the Science, Engineering and Technology Group of KU Leuven. The Division of Soil and Water Management currently has 8 professors and 65 research and technical staff members. The division conducts research on soil fertility, nutrient and carbon fluxes in terrestrial and aquatic systems, environmental chemistry and microbiology, soil physical and hydrological processes and land surface remote sensing and data assimilation. You can find more information on our research and teaching at The Division is part of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. The mission of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences is to carry out state-of-the-art scientific research and teaching 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. Website unit


You develop a research program at the forefront of soil science, seeking to unravel the biological, geochemical and pedo-genetic processes that determine soil quality, in particular soil fertility, as a determinant of sustainable agricultural production, with attention for productivity in developing countries.
The challenge of producing sufficient food for a growing and more prosperous world population within the carrying capacity of the Earth will form the overarching framework of your research. It will require an integrative approach and close collaboration with related disciplines, and may focus on natural and anthropogenic changes that affect soil quality, on changes in agro-ecosystems, on soil management options that improve the productive capacity of the soil.
You set up an international collaboration around your research programme.
You are capable of acquiring competitive funding.
You make use of, and provide scientific support to the analytical lab facilities of the Division Soil and Water Management (stable isotope instrumentation, ICP-MS and ICP-OES, growth chambers, radioactive tracer work, state-of-the-art microbiological methods, LC-MS/MS).


You ensure high-quality education in soil science and, more generally, in environmental and agricultural sciences with a clear commitment to the quality of the programme as a whole. You also contribute to the pedagogic project of the faculty/university through the supervision of master theses and as a promoter of PhD students.
You develop your teaching in accordance with KU Leuven’s vision on activating and research-based education and make use of the possibilities for the educational professionalisation 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 level, and participation in research-for-development projects (collaboration with developing countries).
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.


Successful candidates should have:

  • A PhD in soil science (Bioscience Engineering or related).
  • A strong scientific track record with international publication
  • You have expertise in field and lab experimentation and analytical techniques.
  • Demonstrated scientific mobility is considered a strong asset, e.g. through substantial work experience outside KU Leuven.
  • Demonstrable skills for teaching at academic level. Teaching experience is an advantage.
  • The capacity to lead and animate a research team and to attract research funding.
  • Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to function in international teams and a cooperative attitude.
  • Proficiency in English and Dutch is required. 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 employment, KU Leuven will provide language training to enable you to take part in administrative meetings.
  • Before teaching courses in Dutch or English, you will be given the opportunity to learn Dutch or English, respectively, to the required standard.


We are offering 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. It is highly inter- and multidisciplinarily focused and strives for international excellence. In this regard, it actively works together with research partners in Belgium and abroad. KU Leuven provides its students with an academic education that is based on high-quality scientific research in a diverse and collaborative environment.
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. 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.
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,…  To facilitate scientific onboarding and accelerate research in the first phase a starting grant of 100.000 euro is offered to new professors without substantial other funding, appointed for at least 50%.


For more information please contact prof .Jan Diels, academic contact person (email:, tel. +32 32 97 44) or prof. Gert Verstraeten (email:, tel.: +32 16 32 64 11) or prof. Erik Smolders (email:, tel.: +32 16 32 96 77).
For more information on guidelines and application procedure please contact Mrs. Kristin Vermeylen ( , tel. +32 16 32 09 07) or Mrs. Christelle Maeyaert ( , tel. +32 16 31 41 94).

More detailed information is available on following website

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