Professor in Physico-Chemical Material Interactions

Catholic University of Leuven





KU Leuven has a full-time academic vacancy (part of the senior academic staff) in the New Materials research line on the Bruges Campus. We are looking for internationally oriented candidates with an excellent research record and with educational competences within the field of materials engineering, strongly focussed on physico-chemical interactions between materials of relevance to different industrial disciplines. The successful candidate will be appointed in the Materials Technology Cluster of the Department of Materials Engineering and Faculty of Engineering Technology of the Science, Engineering and Technology Group of KU Leuven. The ProPoLis research group (currently the only research group involved in the New Materials research line) is active on the Bruges Campus and belongs to the Department of Materials Engineering. The research group can build upon a solid research infrastructure, an extensive international network, connections with companies and non-profit organisations, a stable offer of highly talented PhD students and a supportive work environment.




You develop a research programme at an international level to link chemistry and material behaviour mainly at interfaces between different materials. Material behavior at interfaces is still poorly understood in different domains which are currently being investigated within the new materials research line at Bruges Campus. Your research will be complementary to the research carried out in the ProPoliS research group. Our approach to problem solving is very multidisciplinary we aim a synergies with other engineering research groups. Possible research lines are described below:
  • In the processing of short fibre polymer composites within the ProPoLis research group, a correct understanding of the interaction between different materials is of vital importance to produce a  high quality short fibre composite by multi-component injection moulding or co-extrusion. There clearly is scope for a further development of high-quality composite materials, either by finetuning materials or by developing entirely new components.
  • In the domain of adhesive bonding within the M-Group at Bruges Campus, one can only realize a good bond between the two substrates if there is a good interaction between the different materials which at the micro scale which is governed by the chemical composition of the substrate surfaces and their interaction (in standard conditions or after adequate treatment). There is clearly a need for further research exploring how chemical composition and interaction of components affect the final quality of the bond that is produced.
  • Within the Recycon research group within civil engineering, chemical composition is also of key importance for the quality of the materials used within the building industry. For example, re-use of recycled concrete for high-end applications involves a thorough knowledge of the chemistry behind mineral interaction. Within recycling, incompatible materials are almost always present and potential risks need to be identified. A thorough understanding of the chemistry of building materials will also allow to optimize the recycling process.
While the position is located in the Materials Engineering Technology cluster at Bruges campus, there are possible links with the M-Group (Mechatronics, adhesives) and the civil engineering (Recycon) research groups at Bruges.  At KU Leuven Campus Kulak, the research group Renewable Materials and Nanotechnology of Professor Wim Thielemans has complementary expertise ( engage in targeted scientific research, resulting in PhD’s and publications that meet international standards and lead to broad international recognition.
You support or initiate a network of companies through the valorisation of research results and by delivering industrial services, aimed at strengthening industrial innovation.As part of your research programme, you develop international partnerships, within the academic world as well as with industrial partners.You are able to acquire competitive funding, both project-based government funding as well as industrial funding.You strive for excellence and thus contribute to the further development of the research group and the faculty.You pay the required attention to the social valorisation of your research results.


You provide high-quality education for both bachelor and master students in the field of materials engineering, with a clear commitment to the quality of the programme as a whole.

You contribute to the faculty’s and the university’s pedagogical project through the supervision of student projects (for example bachelor’s and master’s theses) and by acting as a promotor of PhD students.

You develop your teaching in accordance with KU Leuven’s views on activating and researched-based education and make use of the possibilities for educational professionalization offered by the faculty and the university.

Your teaching duties are determined in agreement and are based on your specific profile. The scope is limited in the first years of your appointment. All professors are expected to teach a few basic undergraduate courses. In your further career, the faculty will also pay a great deal of attention to the balance between research and teaching time.



You are prepared to provide services to the scientific community, to society and to the university in function of the needs and your personal interests.

You maintain close contact with the local industry.

You play an active part in promoting the Faculty of Engineering Technology towards new students and the wider professional field by participating in open days, networking events and fairs,...


You have a PhD in Materials or Chemical engineering with an emphasis on interface research.

You have a strong research track record in the discipline, evidenced by your publications or by your research experience in industry. You have the ambition to contribute to the valorisation of research in industry and in society. International experience is an important advantage.

You have verifiable qualities related to academic education. Teaching experience is an advantage.

You possess organisational skills and have a cooperative attitude. You also possess leadership competencies in a university or industry context.

Proficiency in 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 your 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 resp. English to the required standard.


We offer full-time employment in an intellectually challenging, yet inclusive and collaborative environment at there cently built Bruges campus.

KU Leuven is a research-intensive, internationally oriented university that carries out both fundamental and applied scientific research. Our university is highly focused on interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research and strives for international excellence. In this regard, the university actively works together with research partners in Belgium and abroad and provides its students with an academic education that is based on high-quality scientific research.

You will work at the KU Leuven Bruges Campus, in a famous historic city with a seaport and modern industrial activities.Bruges has a 70 minutes rail connection to Brussels, capital of the European Union, and about three hours to 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.  If you are a junior researcher you will, in principle, be appointed as assistant tenure track professor for a period of 5 years. If your evaluation after this period is positive, you will be permanently appointed (or tenured) as an associate professor.

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,…  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, appointed for at least 50%.


For more information on the contents of the job, please contact:

  • Prof. dr. ir. Martine Wevers, departmental chair of the Department  of Materials Engineering (,+32 16 321303) or
  • Prof. dr. ir. Frederik Desplentere, campus chair of Bruges Campus (,+32 50 664856).


You can submit your application until XXXX, only through our online application system. If you have problems submitting your application online, please send an email to


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

  • your 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 most important 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 4 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).


KU Leuven is committed to creating a diverse environment and is therefore an equal opportunity employer. It explicitly encourages candidates from groups that are currently underrepresented at the university to submit their applications.

You can apply for this job no later than November 14, 2019 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

In your application, please refer to