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Strategic Research Professorship Eco-Hydro-Morphodynamics

(ref. ZAP-2020-81)

(ref. ZAP-2020-81)

You can apply for this job no later than 30 October 2020 via the online application tool.


The official vacancy and application procedure can be found here.

Key Colleagues

  • Prof. Erik Toorman (research expertise on fundamental and applied computational fluid and sediment mechanics)
  • Prof. Jaak Monbaliu (research expertise on coastal and estuarine hydrodynamics)
  • Prof. Patrick Willems (research expertise on urban and riverine hydraulics and hydrology)
  • Prof. Pieter Rauwoens (research expertise on coastal hydraulics, Aeolian transport and computational fluid dynamics)
  • •Prof. Georgios Anogiatis (research expertise on soil mechanics and geotechnics)
  • Prof. Gert Verstraeten (research expertise on river and floodplain geomorphology and paleoecology of floodplain environments)
  • Prof. Gerard Govers (research expertise on earth surface processes and biogeochemical cycling)
  • Prof. Bart Muys (research expertise on soil-plant interactions)
  • Prof. Steven Bouillon (research expertise on biogeochemical cycling in river and coastal ecosystems)•    Prof. Koenraad Van Meerbeek (research expertise on functional plant diversity and ecosystem functioning)
  • Prof. Gabrielle De Lannoy (research expertise on remote sensing of soil and water systems)


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.


In the Science, Engineering and Technology Group of KU Leuven, hydrological, hydraulic, ecological and morphodynamic research is ongoing in the Hydraulics Section of the Department of Civil Engineering, Faculty of Engineering Science, and in the Geography and Tourism Division of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Sciences.

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 the physical environment. Particularly relevant is this divisions’ expertise in geomorphic processes (soil erosion, sediment transport and deposition, fluvial morphodynamics) at various spatial and temporal scales, complemented with competences within other research divisions of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences 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.


This professorship aims at bringing KU Leuven at the forefront of 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. 

We expect that:

related to research: 

  • 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 valorize 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.

related to education:

  • 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.

related to services:

  • 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.