Postdoc position on assisted migration of plant species to shape future functional ecosystems (ref. BAP-2023-246)

Updated: 7 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 08 Jun 2023

13 May 2023
Job Information

KU Leuven
Research Field

Biological sciences » Biodiversity
Researcher Profile

Recognised Researcher (R2)

Application Deadline

8 Jun 2023 - 23:04 (Africa/Abidjan)
Type of Contract

Job Status

Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?

Reference Number

Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?


Offer Description

The sGlobe lab is part of the division Forest, Nature and Landscape of the KU Leuven. We aim to improve our understanding of the effects of global change on biodiversity and the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems. We combine big data with state-of-the-art modelling techniques, fieldwork and drone imagery to extract patterns and answer ecological questions on large spatial scales. One of our key research areas is to develop global change-robust solutions for the biodiversity crisis. More information? See

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Accelerating climate change is moving ecosystems rapidly beyond the bounds of historical variability. Many of the traditional conservation approaches trying to maintain a status quo are no longer effective. Rather than resisting change, we need to guide transforming ecosystems towards preferred ecological outcomes. Assisted migration, the active translocation of species to mimic range expansion under climate change, is a widely proposed adaptive management strategy. But it is also controversial, as it disrupts long-held views on biological conservation. Focusing on risks and ignoring benefits has hampered scientific research on assisted migration and halted necessary conservation innovation. Yet, the costs of inaction are too high and time is running out. In FUTURENATURE, we will approach the assisted migration of plant species from an innovative functional perspective, shifting the focus from minimising the impact of translocated species to maximising their contribution to the functioning of novel communities. We will advance our understanding of how assisted migration can safeguard functioning ecosystems by combining the wealth of large observational databases, state-of-the-art joint species distribution models and a cutting-edge climate change experiment.


We will hire one postdoctoral researcher for the FUTURENATURE project. The successful candidate will closely collaborate with two PhD students, and the project PI, prof. Koenraad Van Meerbeek. This position will harness the big data and ecoinformatics revolution in order to simulate the performance of novel, artificially assembled plant communities. The performance of these novel plant communities will be tested under future climate change scenarios in a cutting-edge, ambitious climate change experiment. With the knowledge gained, we will be able to shape ecosystems capable of withstanding climate change and maintaining their functions under changing conditions. In addition, the postdoc will be involved in capacity building and outreach to stimulate future research and implementation of assisted migration actions. The successful candidate is expected to apply for a postdoc fellowship at the Flemish research foundation (FWO).


General profile of the candidate

  • You hold a PhD degree in ecology (or in a related field) or you will have obtained it by the time you start working
  • You have strong expertise in terrestrial ecology and geospatial/statistical modelling. Proven SDM (species distribution modelling) skills are a plus!
  • You are an expert in programming languages such as R or python
  • You have proven abilities to publish at a high international level
  • You have a passion for nature and biodiversity
  • You are fluent in English, both written and oral
  • You are a team player with good communication skills


  • A full-time postdoctoral position (2 years) following a positive evaluation after one year. There is a possibility to extend the position for one year.
  • Starting date: November 2023
  • The successful candidate will be based at the division Forest, Nature and Landscape in Leuven (Belgium)
  • Your monthly scholarship amount is calculated according to the payscale for postdoctoral assistants ( )
  • You will receive eco-cheques, a bicycle and a bicycle allowance or a full reimbursement of public transport costs for commuting. See here (… ) for full benefits including holidays and bonuses
  • Collaboration in a young and dynamic international scientific team. A healthy life-work balance is important for us



The application must be in English and include a motivation letter and a CV (including the number of citations and H-index from Google Scholar, a full list of publications, as well as copies of diplomas for Master’s and PhD degrees).

Application deadline: 8th of June 2023 | Notification of selection for interview: Mid of June 2023 | Interviews (online): End of June 2023


For more information please contact Prof. dr. Koenraad Van Meerbeek, mail: .

You can apply for this job no later than June 08, 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 .

Research Field
Biological sciences » Biodiversity
Education Level
PhD or equivalent

Additional Information
Work Location(s)
Number of offers available
KU Leuven
Postal Code
Parijsstraat 72b

Where to apply



Parijsstraat 72b Leuven

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