Professor in Host-Centered Microbiome Engineering for Animal Health

Leuven, Louvain (BE)
Jun 29, 2020
End of advertisement period
Sep 22, 2020
Contract Type
Full Time


(ref. ZAP-2020-91)

The Science, Engineering and Technology Group and the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering of KU Leuven welcome applications for a full-time academic position at the Animal and Human Health Engineering Division in the Department of Biosystems. We are looking for a dynamic and motivated individual with an excellent research record in the domain of host-centered microbiome engineering for animal health. The candidate is considered a leading authority in this field.

Duties Research

  • You focus on key aspects in animal health, including disease resistance, (re)production, behavior, nutrition and how these can be impacted by microbiome engineering. The research should focus on fundamental knowledge and its translation into new technology to support sustainable agriculture by tandemly improving the efficiency of food-animal production and animal health.
  • You investigate host-centered microbiome engineering: experimental-evolutionary approach to shape microbiomes in animals and animals as models for humans or to elucidate animal microbiome functioning using a host-centered, molecular approach making use of host traits and effector mechanisms.
  • You develop a research team, acquire resources for this research, create necessary collaborations, produce scientific output that adheres to the highest international standards in this domain and supervise PhDs at an international level.


  • You ensure high-quality education within the area of nutrition and health, food and agriculture, 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 teachings in accordance with KU Leuven’s vision on activating and researched-based education and make use of the possibilities for your educationalist professionalisation offered by the faculty and the university.
  • Your teaching assignment will be determined in consultation with the department and faculty and will be based on your specific profile.


  • You pay attention to the dissemination of basic knowledge on the animal microbiome, gut health and nutrition in combination with the livestock industry, with the objective to communicate on solutions for the world’s food and environmental problems.
  • You participate with enthusiasm in the activities of various committees and working parties in the Department of Biosystems and the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering.


  • You hold a PhD in bioscience engineering, veterinary science or any other field that prepares equally well for the research program.
  • You have a strong research profile. The quality of your research is proven by publications in prominent/international peer-reviewed journals.
  • International experience is an important advantage.
  • You have demonstrable qualities related to academic education. Teaching experience is an advantage.
  • You possess organisational skills and have a cooperative attitude. You also possess leadership capacities within a university context.
  • A good command of English 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 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 full-time employment (100%) in an intellectually challenging environment with attention for a healthy work-life balance. KU Leuven is a research-intensive, internationally oriented university that carries out both fundamental and applied scientific research. It is highly inter- and multi-disciplinarily focused and strives for international excellence. In this regard, it actively works together with research partners in Belgium and abroad. It provides 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, within 20 minutes from Brussels, the capital of the European Union, and less than two hours from Paris, London and Amsterdam.

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 the start up of the research a PhD fellowship for four years, laboratory infrastructure and start up financing will be provided. You will also have access to the experimental farm (‘TRANSfarm’) of the Science, Engineering and Technology Group, KU Leuven, that focuses on transformation and transition in farming toward a sustainable future.

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 five 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. Bart Nicolai, department chair Biosystems, tel.: +32 16 32 23 75, mail: bart.nicolai@kuleuven.be.

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;
  • a research plan with focus on the development of your research line and research team in relation with the colleague-researchers of the Department of Biosystems (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 September 30, 2020 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.