full-time academic position: Tropical Horticulture

UPDATE 20190319 - this position is not vacant anymore - applications have closed

Tropical Horticulture (ref. ZAP-2018-16)
The Science, Engineering and Technology Group, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering of KU Leuven invites applications for a full-time academic position at its Department of Biosystems. We are looking for a dynamic and motivated individual (m/f) with an excellent research record to build a research program in the department's Division of Crop Biotechnics, in the domain of tropical horticulture.

Within the Division of Crop Biotechnics, basic research focuses on biological processes of 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 manipulated and optimised to support sustainable horticulture. https://www.biw.kuleuven.be/biosyst/plantenbiotechniek/division-of-crop-biotechnics/plantenbiotechniek

You will conduct high-level basic and applied research on tropical fruit crop production in different farming systems. The emphasis will be on the exploitation of genetic diversity to achieve sustainable tropical fruit production and the conservation thereof. You will take into account the dynamics of the interaction between production system and environment. Research needs to be based on physiological and molecular knowledge.

You are particularly expected to offer or develop an expertise that fits within the vision and mission of the Division of Crop Biotechnics and build upon the existing strong links with international research institutes of the CGIAR and others. You will also initiate research activities in tropical regions. You are invited to formulate a research program including possible interactions with other staff members of the department or with other research units at KU Leuven.

You ensure high-quality education within the area of sustainable tropical crop production and farming systems, and commit to the quality of the entire program. Teaching can be situated at the bachelor and master program level. You are also expected to supervise bachelor and master theses and PhD students.

You develop your teaching in accordance with KU Leuven's vision on active and research-based education and make use of the educational professionalisation offered by the university.

You will translate and exploit basic knowledge of tropical fruit crops, their diversity and plant environment interactions to contribute to sustainable tropical fruit production in collaboration with development organisations in the public and private sector. In addition, participation is expected in the activities of various committees and working parties in the department and the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, but also outside the university.


You hold a PhD in bioscience engineering, plant sciences or any other field that prepares equally well for the research program and teaching activities.
You have an excellent research record as reflected by international peer-reviewed journal publications and conference participations.
You possess very good teaching and training skills, to contribute to the research output of the department and to the quality of its educational program.
International and tropical research experience is highly appreciated.
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 and allow you to teach in Dutch. Before teaching courses in Dutch or English, you will be given the opportunity to learn Dutch, respectively English, to the required standard.

We offer a full-time employment in an intellectually challenging environment. The alma mater of acclaimed scholars such as Erasmus, Andreas Vesalius and Georges Lemaître, KU Leuven has a rich scientific tradition and history. Its internationally renowned research and educational programmes cause it to consistently rank among the best 50 universities worldwide. KU Leuven is an international research oriented top-ranked 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. There are additional research opportunities since KU Leuven has strong links with CGIAR and hosts the banana germplasm collection managed by Bioversity International. KU Leuven provides its students with an academic education that is based on high-quality scientific research.

Depending on your record and qualifications, you will be appointed to one of the academic staff grades: 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 5 years; after this period and a positive evaluation, they are permanently appointed (or tenured) as an associate professor.

You will be supported by a PhD student scholarship, and you are expected to take over ongoing research and PhD projects in the area of tropical fruit research, especially banana. A well-equipped laboratory is available to you. You will be part of a young and dynamic team with expertise in fruit crop production in tropical and temperate areas, breeding and genetics, molecular biology, physiology, plant pathology and sustainable plant production, and will have access to core facilities at KU Leuven.

For more information please contact Prof. dr. ir. Bart Nicolai, tel.: +32 16 32 23 75, mail: bart.nicolai@kuleuven.be. If you run into issues with online applying, please contact solliciteren@kuleuven.be. In addition to your motivation letter, please include a research statement (no more than 2 pages), demonstrating your added value for the research program of the Department of Biosystems. In addition, please outline your vision on academic education in a teaching statement (no more than 2 pages).
You can apply for this job no later than September 30, 2018 via the online application tool: http://www.kuleuven.be/eapplyingforjobs/54535823
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.

breeding and genetics
plant-environment interactions
biotic and abiotic stresses
Leuven (Belgium)