Researcher agricultural hydrology and groundwater-soil-plant interactions (ILVO)


Do you want to contribute to sustainable water management and explore the role agriculture can play? Do you like hydrological modelling at different scales and linking those models to other disciplines? Do you also like to be out in the field to do measurements putting those models to the test and do you enjoy working with an interdisciplinary team to do so? Then you are the colleague we are looking for!

Job description in brief

The past summers have shown that Flemish agriculture is very sensitive to drought. Climate scenarios show that both the amount of precipitation and the number of days with precipitation in summer will decrease. In addition, extreme peak rainfall events will also occur more often. The need for smart agricultural water management will therefore only become more acute. To quantify the impact of water scarcity on agriculture and to test the efficiency of
solutions, there is a need for adapted model ensembles that allow us to represent the links between groundwater, soil, climate, crop and management. Several ongoing projects use such model ensembles for a variety of applications ranging from smart drainage over the effectiveness of local infiltration techniques to quantifying the impact of drought and rising groundwater tables on agriculture in Flanders.

What do you do as a researcher at ILVO?

You are responsible for the deployment of groundwater, land-surface, vadose zone and crop models in different projects in collaboration with other ILVO colleagues and partner institutions.
Your work mainly consists of the following tasks:

  • You perform modeling work answering the research needs in different projects on water management, agriculture and climate
  • You follow up on the latest developments of available models, calibration methods and sensitivity analysis
  • You develop model frameworks that can represent the interactions between groundwater, soil water, climate and crops
  • You carry out fieldwork with other researchers to calibrate and validate these models, for example through geophysical methods, groundwater and soil moisture measurements
  • You perform scenario analyses to assess expected effects of climate change You collect and process data and write scientific publications You will stay up-to-date with the literature and development around the relevant topics
  • You publish and report your findings and results at (inter)national symposia and meetings

Our organisation

Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (ILVO) is a multidisciplinary research institute of the Flemish government, with a focus on supporting sustainable agriculture, horticulture, fisheries and food research.
Drawing on the 5 important ILVO values - Positivity, Proactivity, Professionalism, Working Together and Being an Example, we are steadily growing ILVO as a socially relevant center of expertise. We work together within a culture of open, honest discussion and mutual trust.
And ... now you might be able to play a role in this wonderful story! We employ more than 670 people, about half of which are researchers. Approximately 35% of the personnel works for the Flemish government; the rest is employed by ILVO's Own Capital funding based on project and contract research.

Your Profile

  • You have a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering (Hydrogeology), Bioengineering (Soil and Water Management), Science or equivalent
    If you have a foreign diploma, we ask you to obtain equivalence recognition. You can apply for this at NARIC Vlaanderen (NARIC-Vlaanderen - NARIC-Vlaanderen).
  • You can work with one or more hydrological models relevant to water management in an agricultural context
  • You have an affinity with programming (e.g. in Python)
  • You have a good knowledge of English (spoken + written)
  • You have at least 2 years of experience within a consultancy, engineering or research environment

Personal competences

  • You can analyse a problem and propose and implement a research approach
  • You can translate model results to other researchers and stakeholders.
  • You take initiative and can work independently
  • You like to work with a focus on results
    Plus points:
    • You have knowledge of hydrogeophysics
    • You have knowledge of or experience in sustainable agriculture

Our offer

We offer you a full-time, open-ended contract (depending on the financing minimum 2 years, extendable up to 4 years) with a competitive salary based on your degree. You will be recruited in the salary scale A165 or A166 (depending on your diploma). You can make a gross and net calculation of your monthly salary, a holiday bonus and your end-of-year allowance via Relevant experience can be considered for financial seniority.
Additional: Hospitalization and group (life) insurance, commuting allowance (bicycle – public transport), meal vouchers (7 €/day) and a total of 35 holiday days based on last year's performance (private scheme)

Start: between October and December 2021

How to apply?

You can apply online via Jobs - ILVO Vlaanderen and this at the latest until 30/07/2021. If you cannot apply online, you can request the application form via
Candidates found fit (based on CV screening) will be invited for a selection interview on 16/08/2021 (date subject to change). Please include a telephone number and e-mail address where you can be reached during the day and block this date in your agenda.

For more info please contact

Job content: Sarah Garré, senior onderzoeker, 092722866, sarah.garré
Conditions: Caroline Buyst, HR-specialist, +32 9 272 25 12,