Doctoral Researcher in spatio-temporal modelling of fresh water snails as vectors


KU Leuven and the Royal Museum for Central Africa


Thursday, July 15, 2021

Start Date

Friday, October 1, 2021

The Geography and Tourism Research Group at KU Leuven and the Royal Museum for Central Africa (RMCA) (Belgium) seeks applications for a Phd position on spatio-temporal modelling of snail populations, beginning in October 2021. The PhD-researcher will be based at Leuven and RMCA (Belgium). A contract of two years is guaranteed, with a possibility of extension pending evaluation of the ATRAP project. The candidate will therefore be supported in applications for further financing (FWO fellowship). Fieldwork in W-Uganda is foreseen and an additional research stay at the IBED group, University of Amsterdam is a possibility.

The research forms part of an international collaborative project of the Royal Museum for Central Africa funded by DGD Belgium, named ‘ATRAP’: Action Towards Reducing Aquatic snail-borne Parasitic diseases’. Schistosomiasis, the most prominent snail-borne parasitic disease, is considered a global public health priority, as it ranks second only to malaria in terms of prevalence and morbidity. This disease affects more than 200 million people worldwide, with the vast majority living in Africa. It is caused by parasitic worms that are transmitted by freshwater snails. The overall aim of the ATRAP project is to aid in the prevention of snail-borne diseases in Uganda and Congo, through a multi-disciplinary approach. Within the project, 5 PhD researchers affiliated to universities in DR Congo, Uganda and Belgium will tackle various research questions ranging from the biological/ecological aspects of the infection cycle to the societal mechanisms at play determining schistosomiasis risk perception and knowledge transfer. The projects’ data collection and Science communication revolves around a Citizen Science network. For more information on the project, see The research conducted by the selected applicant for this position will have a strong bio-physical focus and will aim to (i) evaluate the quality of the Citizen Science data, (ii) identify key local and regional drivers of snail populations, (iii) develop spatio-temporal models to represent snail distribution and (iv) identify putative transmission hotspots for schistosome parasites.

The candidate will work at the Geography and Tourism Research Group, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of science, KU Leuven under the supervision Prof. Anton Van Rompaey and at the Biology Department of RMCA under the supervision of Dr. Tine Huyse. Dr. Lies Jacobs, affiliated to the University of Amsterdam, Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics, will act as co-promotor. The candidate will conduct a PhD at the Arenberg Doctoral School (ADS) – for more information on conducting a PhD at ADS see

Contact Name

Prof. dr. Anton Van Rompaey

Contact Email