Professor in Climate Resilient Crop Production

Leuven, Louvain (BE)
Jul 01, 2020
End of advertisement period
Sep 22, 2020
Contract Type
Full Time


(ref. ZAP-2020-31)

In the Science, Engineering and Technology Group of KU Leuven, within the Division of Crop Biotechnics of the Department of Biosystems (Faculty of Bioscience Engineering) and the Division of Molecular Biotechnology of Plants and Micro-organisms of the Department of Biology (Faculty of Sciences), ), there is a full-time academic vacancy in the area of climate resilient crop production on campus Arenberg Leuven. Our research focuses on biological processes of model plants and crops in the field of agronomy, physiology, breeding and genetics, pathology, plant-environment interactions, biotic and abiotic stresses. We also investigate how these processes can be steered and optimized to support sustainable agriculture and horticulture. We are looking for internationally oriented candidates with an excellent research record and with educational competence within the field of plant biology, agriculture or similar. Global environmental changes have accelerated over the past decades. The increase in greenhouse gasses will continue to raise global temperature and cause unpredictable weather conditions impacting crop production. The consequences of climate change on agriculture are drastic and require research to evolve towards climate smart and sustainable agriculture. Therefore, it is important to understand how plants and crop systems respond and adapt to (a)biotic stresses related to climate change.

Duties Research

The candidate will conduct high-level research on how crops cope with climate change and adapt to single and/or combinatorial stresses. Research needs to be based oncutting-edge approaches (such as (epi)genetic, molecular, physiological or modeling/computational technologies) to unravel adaptive mechanisms in plants.The candidate is able to translate fundamental insights into applied research that contributes to more sustainable and climate-smart crop production systems.The candidate actively collaborates with other members of the two Divisions(Division of Crop Biotechnics and Division of Molecular Biotechnology of Plants and Micro-organisms) and beyond and sets up international collaborations.You strive for excellence in your research and are capable of acquiring competitive funding and publish at the highest scientific level, while mentoring PhD students and postdocs.


You ensure high-quality education within the academic programs of the Department of Biosystems and the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering. Teaching can be situated at the bachelor and/or master program related to plant science and crop production systems. You develop your high-level teaching in accordance with KULeuven’s vision on active and research-based education and make use of the educational professionalization offered by the university.

You will supervise and train bachelor, master and PhD students and postdocs at the highest level.


You will translate and exploit basic knowledge regarding climate change smart crops and its dynamic interaction with the agricultural environment to contribute to a sustainable crop production. Research endeavors need to be outreached towards the general public. In addition, enthusiastic participation is expected in the activities of various committees and working parties within and outside the university.


  • You hold a PhD in agriculture, plant sciences, bio-science engineering, plant biology or any other field that prepares equally well for the research program and teaching activities.
  • ​You have an outstanding research record as reflected by international peer-reviewed publications in top journals and conference participations. International research experience is an important advantage.
  • You have demonstrable qualities related to academic education (teaching experience is an advantage) in order to contribute to the quality of the Faculty’s educational program (in English and/or Dutch).
  • You actively contribute to outreach activities.
  • You are expected to develop complementary expertise that strengthens the vision and mission of the division and build upon the existing strong links with local and international experimental research stations.
  • You are expected to develop and formulate a research program and teaching vision including possible interactions with other staff members of the Department of Biosystems or with other research units at KU Leuven.
  • You possess organizational skills and have a cooperative attitude. You also possess leadership capacities within an academic context.
  • A very 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, you will be given the opportunity to learn Dutch to the required level.


We are offering a full-time professorship within the Department of Biosystems, which is in an intellectually challenging environment at KU Leuven, an international research oriented top-ranked university that carries out both basic and applied scientific research. In addition, we offer a strong and collaborative research environment focusing on a sustainable crop production.

You will be appointed to the grade of assistant professor in a tenure track position for a period of 5 years. After this period and a positive evaluation, you will be permanently appointed (or tenured) as an associate professor.

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 be part of a dynamic team with expertise in sustainable crop production, breeding and genetics, molecular biology, physiology, plant biotechnology and plant pathology. You will have access to excellent plant growth facilities and KU Leuven core facilities.

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.


For more information please contact Prof. dr. ir. Bart Nicolai, tel.: +32 16 32 23 75, email: bart.nicolai@kuleuven.be. For problems with online applying, please contact solliciteren@kuleuven.be.

Add the following documents to your application (more information is available on the KU Leuven job site):

  • A 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 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).

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

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, …

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.