Assistant/Associate/Full Professor in Big Data and Human-Environment Systems


KU Leuven


Friday, August 31, 2018

Start Date

Monday, April 1, 2019

In the Group Science, Engineering & Technology, Faculty of Science, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Division of Geography and Tourism, there is a full-time academic vacancy in big data and human-environment systems, at the Arenberg campus in Leuven. The main mission of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences is to carry out state-of-the-art scientific research with respect to the functioning of geo- and ecosystems at different spatial and temporal scales, including the interaction between humans and the environment and the sustainable management of natural resources. The Division of Geography and Tourism currently has 11 professors. The division conducts research and provides academic training in the interrelated fields of earth surface processes and climate, society and space, tourism research and education in geosciences. The division has long-term research experience in socio-ecological and socio-economic relations. Moreover, geographical information systems and analysis of spatio-temporal data are a core pillar of our research and educational programmes. To further strengthen these components, the division is looking for an internationally oriented candidate with a strong track record in human-environment systems, using opportunities arising from the growth in data availability.


It is expected that you will lead innovative research on human-environment interactions, using data-driven quantative methods and analysis techniques. The focus is on profound geographical analysis of newly available data, thereby seeking to unravel mechanisms that play a role in the human-environment system. It is foreseen that the research contributes to causes and consequences of global environmental change and facilitates the identification and diffusion of solutions.

You ensure high-quality education in geography and related programmes by teaching in the Bachelor and Masters programmes supported by the department. You will also supervise MSc and PhD thesis students in your research discipline.

As a member of the 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, the European level and the international level. 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.


Successful candidates should have:

  • A PhD in geography, or related discipline;
  • Proven experience in data-driven quantitative methods;
  • Profound knowledge of GIS and geo-spatial analysis techniques;
  • A strong scientific track record with international publications;
  • Substantial work experience outside KU Leuven. Extended periods of international scientific mobility are an asset;
  • Demonstrable skills for teaching at academic level;
  • The capacity to lead and animate a research team, to attract research funding and experience in project management with multiple partners. Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to function in international teams

For this position, it is expected that you are able to teach courses in English or Dutch from the start (native or C1 level CEFR).

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 administrative 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 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 programs cause it to consistently rank among the best 50 universities worldwide.

KU Leuven is a research-intensive, internationally oriented university that carries out both fundamental and applied scientific research. It is highly inter- and multidisciplinary 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 of Brussels, the capital of the European Union, and less than two hours from Paris, London and Amsterdam.

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 5 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. Nicole Van Lipzig, tel.: +32 16 32 64 53, mail: or Prof. dr. Gert Verstraeten, tel.: +32 16 32 64 11, mail: For problems with online applying, please contact As part of your application, we expect: • a letter of motivation; • a biosketch; • a full CV, including list of publications; • a research plan with proper attention to the development of your own research activities and research team, specifying relevant collaborations with other researchers and identifying its position and added value with respect to the ongoing research in the KU Leuven Division of Geography and Tourism of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (max 4 pages); • a personal statement regarding your vision and perspective on academic teaching and education organisation (max 2 pages); • a demonstrable proof of your organisational skills, leadership quality/potential, and outreach and societal service in an academic context (max 2 pages). Applications must be received no later than August 31, 2018

You can apply for this job no later than August 31, 2018 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

Contact Name

Prof. dr. Nicole Van Lipzig

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