Research Professor in Coastal, Offshore and Hydraulic Engineering

  • Ku Leuven
  • Leuven, Louvain (BE)
  • Jul 15, 2021
Full time Engineering & Applied Sciences

Job Description

(ref. BZP-2021-1)

The Science, Engineering and Technology Group of KU Leuven, Faculty of Engineering Science, Department of Civil Engineering, invites scholars to  apply for a full‐time research professorship in the Hydraulics and Geotechnics research section. This position is funded by the Special Research Fund (BOFZAP), established by the Flemish Government.

We are looking for motivated and internationally oriented candidates with an excellent research record and with very good educational competence in the field of coastal, offshore and hydraulic engineering. The appointment is expected to start on October 1, 2022. Applications will be evaluated in parallel and independently by 1) the KU Leuven Research Council in a competitive process across academic domains and 2) the faculty advisory committee. During the first 10 years, the teaching obligations as a research professor will be limited. Afterwards, the position will be transformed into a regular professorship.

The increasing impact of global warming and the rapid expansion of the blue economy brings many engineering challenges in offshore, coastal, estuarine and river environments. The use of advanced computational tools in combination with state-of-the-art laboratory and in situ experiments will strongly support innovation.

The Hydraulics and Geotechnical section focuses on offshore, coastal and estuarine dynamics, sediment mechanics, urban and river hydrology and hydraulics, and geotechnics. This research section conducts fundamental and applied research on the interaction between wind, waves, currents, sediment particles, subsoil and fixed and floating structures, extreme flows in river and related impact due to climate change. For this they use and develop (open-source) numerical models. For model verification (publicly available) data from field and lab experiments are used.

It is part of the assignment of the appointed candidate to develop, within the domain of coastal, off-shore and hydraulic engineering an international, competitive research programme, to pursue excellent scientific results at an international level and to support and promote national and international research partnerships. The candidate must meet a strong research profile or have the potential to do so. In addition, the candidate is expected to have a multidisciplinary attitude and a willingness to cooperate intensively with other researchers and research units at KU Leuven.

The candidate:

  • Is an excellent, internationally oriented researcher and develops a research programme at the forefront in the field of coastal, offshore and hydraulic engineering. Numerical modelling of the hydrodynamics is a key aspect of the research. The candidate will use state-of-the-art numerical models and play a prominent role in new developments thereof for applications in the envisaged research field.
  • Strengthens existing research lines and brings complementary and/or additionally new expertise by working closely with the members of the research unit.
  • Publishes at the highest scientific level in the leading international journals and conferences in the field of coastal, ocean and hydraulic engineering and related disciplines.
  • Develops an own research group.
  • Supervises master students, PhD students and postdocs at a high international level.
  • Aims to acquire competitive research funding from national and/or international agencies and submits effective research project proposals for this purpose.
  • Establishes both within KU Leuven, national and international partnerships in the context of the research programme.
  • Strives for excellence in research and provides a contribution to the international research reputation of the Hydraulics and Geotechnics section of the Department of Civil Engineering and KU Leuven.
  • Has a pronounced interest in fundamental research, but also pays attention to the valorization and applications of the research, e.g. by attracting and executing more applied research projects from government or industry in the available research facilities (e.g. in the 'COB' Coastal and Offshore Basin in Ostend, a new facility jointly operated by UGent, KU Leuven and Flanders Hydraulics).

Although the position regards a research professorship at the start of employment, the candidate is expected to gradually contribute to state-of-the-art teaching.

The candidate also contributes to the pedagogic project of the faculty/university. He/she develops teaching in accordance with KU Leuven's vision on activating and research‐based education and makes use of the possibilities for the educational professionalization offered by the faculty and the university.

The assignment of the candidate to be appointed also includes a teaching assignment in the field of hydraulics like coastal engineering and hydraulic structures, and support students to develop skills in numerical modelling and in a laboratory and/or field environment.

Scientific, societal and internal services (administrative and/or institutional) are also part of the assignment.


  • You have a Master of Science degree preferably in Civil Engineering. Your PhD degree is in the field of hydrodynamics. You have demonstrated excellence in numerical modelling. If you have recently obtained your PhD, it is important that you support your research and growth potential with academic references [e.g. demonstrate potential through at least one top publication, article(s) in preparation, academic references, active involvement/contribution in promising research projects, …].
  • You have a strong research profile in the field and an indisputable research integrity.
  • The quality of your research is proven by publications in the leading journals and conferences in the field of coastal, ocean and hydraulic engineering and related disciplines. Contributions to the development of public domain software is a plus.
  • International research experience is considered as an important advantage.
  • You have demonstrable qualities related to academic education. Teaching experience is a plus.
  • You possess organizational skills and have a cooperative attitude. You also have leadership skills within a university context.
  • Proficiency in English is required.
  • The official 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 offer 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. Our university is highly inter- and multidisciplinary focused and strives for international excellence. In this regard, we actively collaborate with research partners in Belgium and abroad. We provide our students with an academic education that is based on high-quality scientific research.
  • Depending on your qualifications and academic experience, 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 researches are appointed as assistant professor on the tenure track for a period of 5 years; after this period and a positive evaluation, they are permanently appointed as an associate professor.
  • You will work in Leuven, a historic and dynamic and vibrant city located in the heart of Belgium, within twenty 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 and administration, housing, childcare, learning Dutch, partner career coaching, …
  • In order 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 and appointed for at least 50%.

More information on the content of the job can be obtained from the academic contact person: Prof. Jaak Monbaliu, Chair Department of Civil Engineering, tel. +32 16 32 16 61, mail:
More information on the guidelines, regulations and application file is available from Ms. Kristin Vermeylen ( , tel. +32 16 32 09 07) or Ms. Christelle Maeyaert ( , tel. +32 16 31 41 94). 

More detailed information is available on following website

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

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