KU Leuven

Remote sensing for the C-factor for soil erosion modelling in Flanders

2024-05-30 (Europe/Brussels)
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KU Leuven is an autonomous university. It was founded in 1425. It was born of and has grown within the Catholic tradition.

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Research within the Division of Geography and Tourism focuses on spatial patterns of physical and human-induced phenomena at the earth’s surface and on the interactions between society and the environment. Soil erosion is a major issue in some parts of Flanders, driven by a mixture of natural factors (e.g. topography, soil type, rainfall characteristics) and agricultural practices (e.g. crop cultivation choices, tillage practices and the uptake of cover crops) which determine the risk of erosion. This work will undertake a project commissioned by the Flemish Government (Department Omgeving) to deliver a new map of the crop cover management factor using remote sensing (principally Sentinel-2) data. The project will work with already developed methods which combine data on crop cultivations in Flemish field parcels, with remote sensing and rainfall data in order to estimate the soil erosion risk associated with the cropping practices undertaken in Flanders. The project will focus on producing a number of deliverables which work towards developing a new map for Flanders. The project will be collaborative, however the candidate should be able to take charge of the finalisation of project deliverables by running remote sensing workflows, undertaking data analyses and writing reports.
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The main responsibility is to complete the necessary work components of the deliverables to analyse the C-factor across Flanders using already developed methods. This will include:

  • Familiarisation with the RUSLE soil erosion model and it’s usage in Flanders, as well as developing an in-depth knowledge of the C-factor;
  • Running and adapting already developed Python scripts to analyse the C-factor for different crop cultivations in singular and across multiple years;
  • Adaptation and documentation of Python scripts to meet deliverable needs;
  • Undertaking statistical analysis;
  • Report writing and presentation of results to meet the project deliverables.


  • We are looking for a highly motivated geoscientist (MSc Geography, Geology, Environmental Sciences, ...) with some knowledge of erosion processes.
  • Knowledge of remote sensing for vegetation.
  • Experience with programming in Python.
  • You have some experience with GIS software (Arcmap, QGIS, Google Earth) and are familiar with geographical data presentation.
  • Comfortable in writing high quality reports and delivering work according to deadlines.
  • Students that are about to graduate in July 2024 can also apply.


  • We offer a position as a researcher for a minimum of 6 months, possibly with an extension up to one year;
  • Start of the employment is negotiable but ideally between 1 July and 1 September 2024.
  • You will work in a stimulating research environment with many members working on historic sediment dynamics and with international links;
  • A part-time employment (70-80%) is an option with the possibility to extend the duration of the employment with a few months;
  • Salary is according to barema 43, corresponding to a gross salary of approx. 3950 euro/month (full-time; no work experience);
  • Candidates that are interested in pursuing a PhD on a similar topic in erosion/geomorphology/remote sensing can prepare an application for a PhD scholarship with FWO before the end of February 2025. 


For more information please contact Prof. dr. Gert Verstraeten, tel.: +32 16 32 64 11, mail: gert.verstraeten@kuleuven.be or Mr. Francis Matthews, tel.: +32 16 32 53 08, mail: francis.matthews@kuleuven.be.

KU Leuven strives for an inclusive, respectful and socially safe environment. We embrace diversity among individuals and groups as an asset. Open dialogue and differences in perspective are essential for an ambitious research and educational environment. In our commitment to equal opportunity, we recognize the consequences of historical inequalities. We do not accept any form of discrimination based on, but not limited to, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age, ethnic or national background, skin colour, religious and philosophical diversity, neurodivergence, employment disability, health, or socioeconomic status. For questions about accessibility or support offered, we are happy to assist you at this email address.

Job details

Remote sensing for the C-factor for soil erosion modelling in Flanders
Oude Markt 13 Leuven, Belgium
Application deadline
2024-05-30 23:59 (Europe/Brussels)
2024-05-30 23:59 (CET)
Save job

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About the employer

KU Leuven is an autonomous university. It was founded in 1425. It was born of and has grown within the Catholic tradition.

Visit the employer page