Job ID: 200369

Professor in Chemical Engineering

KU Leuven

  • Nov. 28, 2022
  • Professor in Chemical Engineering
  • Faculty of Engineering Technology - Department of Chemical Engineering
  • KU Leuven
  • Feb. 7, 2023
  • Oct. 1, 2023
  • Assistant Professor
    Associate Professor
  • Chemical/Petroleum

Professor in Chemical Engineering: Design and Processing of Functional Products by Physico-Chemical Treatment of Natural Compounds from Side/Waste Streams

KU Leuven has a full-time academic vacancy in the design of functional products by physico-chemical modification and processing of natural compounds from side and waste streams at Ghent Technology Campus.

The new faculty member will be part of the Soft Matter, Rheology and Technology (SMaRT) group of the Department of Chemical Engineering consisting of 7 professors at present. With this vacancy, the department aims to develop a SMaRT section within Ghent Technology Campus. The aim is to realize modern, industrially focused research and infrastructure at Ghent Technology Campus for rheological and morphological research of biosourced functional products, with a focus on the utilisation and functionalization of natural compounds derived from side and waste streams originating, amongst others, from (local) food- and bio-industries. Collaboration is envisaged with the existing groups at Ghent Technology Campus, e.g. the Laboratory of Enzyme, Fermentation and Brewing Technology (EFBT), Meat Technology and Science of Protein rich foods (MTSP) and Chemical and BIOchemical process TEChnology and control (BIOTEC+). Besides this, collaboration with the Sustainable Materials Lab of KU Leuven (KULAK, KU Leuven Kortrijk Campus) and the Structural Composites and Alloys, Integrity and non-destructive testing group (SCALINT, KU Leuven Bruges Campus) active in the region is desired.

We are looking for internationally orientated candidates with an excellent interdisciplinary research record and with educational competencies within the field of chemical engineering and chemistry. The research competencies will enable a focus on the physico-chemical processing of natural compounds from side- and waste streams from food and other industries for the design and processing of new functional products, including their (rheological) property characterisation. Product applications can be situated in a broad field e.g. (bio)polymer or textile industry, construction, chemicals, pharmaceutics, etc. The successful applicant will be appointed to the Department of Chemical Engineering and the Faculty of Engineering Technology of the Science, Engineering and Technology Group of KU Leuven.

The Faculty of Engineering Technology has an extensive national and international network, both in the academic and business world.

Research at SMaRT is at the intersection of classical chemical engineering and soft matter physics and chemistry. The hosting research group can build upon a solid research infrastructure, an extensive international network, connections with companies and non-profit organisations, a stable inflow of highly talented PhD students, and a supportive work environment.



Circular economy and sustainability is one of the driving factors in industry in Flanders. Especially within food industry, a large bundle of waste streams is generated, and interest is growing to valorise waste and side streams or specific compounds and upcycle them into new materials. 
With this vacancy, the department aims to develop research focusing on the modification and functionalisation of natural compounds from food or bio-waste streams, the understanding of microstructural changes introduced during processing steps and the evaluation of final properties of the formed products. We therefore aim for a chemical engineer, chemist or equivalent profile, with experience in physico-chemical product modifications and processing, physicochemical interactions, and/or rheological characterization. 
  • You develop a research programme and research infrastructure at an international level at the Ghent Technology Campus of KU Leuven and contribute thus to the realisation of the research group SMaRT@Ghent. Your research must tie in with the ongoing research programmes at SMaRT@Leuven(Arenberg) and SMaRT@campus Diepenbeek. Collaboration with other groups at campus Ghent or in the area is also encouraged.
  • You engage in targeted scientific research, resulting in PhDs 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.
  • You are able to acquire competitive funding, both project-based government funding as well as industrial funding. 
  • You aim towards technology transfer and application of the results of your research in industry/government/society.


  • You provide high-quality education for both bachelor and master students in the field of chemical engineering, with a clear commitment to the quality of the programme as a whole. All professors are expected to teach some basic undergraduate courses.
  • 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 supervisor 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 and is situated in the field of advances in chemistry and chemical engineering.


  • 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, fairs, etc.


  • You have a PhD in a relevant discipline of Chemical engineering, Biochemical engineering, Chemical science, or equivalent. We aim for candidates with a thorough, both fundamental and practical background in areas of (physical) chemistry, transport phenomena, product design, material processing or functionalisation, and/or (rheological) characterisation.
  • 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 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 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 Ghent Technology Campus, in a historic city with a 40-minute rail connection to Brussels, and about three hours train 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. In principle, junior researchers are appointed as assistant professor on the tenure track for a period of 5 years. At the end of this period and a positive evaluation, they are permanently appointed (or tenured) as 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 integration and research in the first phase, a research position equivalent to a PhD fellowship for 4 years is made available. If you have no other substantial funding available, you can apply for a start-up grant of EUR 100,000, on the condition that you are recruited for at least 50%.


For more information on the contents of the job, please contact:
* Prof. Dr. Christian Clasen, departmental chair of the Department Chemical Engineering Technology (, +32 16 3 22354) or
* Prof. Dr. Peter Hanselaer campus chair of Ghent & Aalst Technology Campus (, +32 9 265 87 36)
You can submit your application 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 architectural 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 places great importance on research integrity and ethical conduct and will therefore ask you to sign an integrity statement upon appointment.
You can apply for this job no later than February 07, 2023 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

Please reference in your cover letter when
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Contact Information

  • Professor Peter Hanselaer, Chair Ghent Technology Campus
    Faculty of Engineering Technology - Ghent Technology Campus
    KU Leuven
    Gebroeders De Smetstraat 1
    Ghent 9000
  • +32 9 265 87 36

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