(Ref. ZAP-2013-187)

Occupation : Full-time
Place : Leuven
Apply no later than : June 30, 2014
In the Science, Engineering & Technology Group, Faculty of Engineering Science, Department of Mechanical Engineering at KU Leuven there is a full-time vacancy among senior academic staff in the area of biomanufacturing. We are looking for internationally oriented candidates with an excellent research record in biomanufacturing and with educational competence within the field of biomedical engineering.Mechanical Engineering, being one of the oldest engineering disciplines, is showing more vitality than ever before. Questions on the sustainability of energy supply, the mobility problem in our main agglomerations, healthcare for an ageing population, and safeguarding our welfare by continuing industrial innovation, point to the major challenges our society is facing. The Mechanical Engineering department is already ‘making’ the future by creating solutions fulfilling the needs of our future society. We do this by addressing these challenges in research but perhaps even more by preparing the future generations of engineers. An educational programme with emphasis on research-driven problem solving in socio-economic relevant fields is our major lever to a better future. The department has a staff of about 250 strong, including 24 full-time professors, and over 400 third year bachelor and master students. The department is involved in a large number of research projects and is also well connected to the industry interfaces of the university and to government-sponsored technology transfer institutes at Flemish and European level. Over the years, the department has accumulated a unique research infrastructure supporting our research. The department is particularly active in spin-off creation, which is illustrating the socio-economic relevance of our research. Many of these spin-offs are technology leaders in their fields, and their products and services have world reputation.

24 2009 Biomanufacturing of the Cell Mechanical Environment

KU Leuven is a hub for research and education in the field of biomedical technology. The university witnesses many interdisciplinary initiatives between the engineering and biomedical sciences (as e.g. coordinated by the Leuven Medical Technology Center, www.kuleuven.be/LMTC). The master programme in biomedical technology (mirc.uzleuven.be/BMT/) provides a broad, high quality education, as was also recently confirmed by an independent accreditation committee, and at the same time guarantees a stable offer of highly talented PhD students for biomedical engineering research.
You will be a member of the Biomechanics section (www.mech.kuleuven.be/en/bme), being a multidisciplinary group with broad expertise in terms of computational and experimental biomechanics of human structure and function, and collaborating extensively with various biomedical sciences research groups. Its research activities span different length scales, from the human body down to intracellular scales. It focuses among others on mechanobiology, a field that studies the interaction between the mechanical micro environment and cell fate. In order to do so, an integrative, interdisciplinary approach is being followed, consisting of a direct coupling between (multiscale) computer modelling and (in vitro) experiments. One of its applications is tissue engineering, a field that has gained conisderable attention at KU Leuven ( see e.g. www.kuleuven.be/prometheus). In addition, the department has built up a strong, international reputation in terms of technologies, relevant for biomanufacturing, such as additive manufacturing and micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS), being research subjects of the Production Processes (www.mech.kuleuven.be/pp/) and Micro and Precision Engineering (www.mech.kuleuven.be/micro/) research groups. Both are already active within the biomedical engineering field.
Each of these research groups boasts an extensive national and international network, in academia as well as industry, its research being funded by a wide portfolio of projects (among others European funding within the Seventh Framework programme and the European Research Council). Apart from the groups’ own research infrastructure, central, shared Research Facilities are being provided for among others nanotechnology and precision measurements (http://set.kuleuven.be/research_facilities).
By means of this academic position in biomanufacturing, the department of Mechanical Engineering wants to strengthen its research in the tissue engineering field, by creating synergies between the more fundamental mechanobiology research on the one hand, and more applied, technology-driven research on additive manufacturing and micro engineering on the other hand.



You will be expected to develop an excellent research program in biomanufacturing that is complementary to and in collaboration with the already mentioned research groups at the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and related groups at KU Leuven. Research will focus on the development of innovative hardware technology for the biomanufacturing of living tissues that emphasises mechanobiological principles. This technology must enable to control geometrical and mechanical cues at submicron scale and to recreate cell mechanical environments that mimic the native ones, in order to modulate cell fate. At the same time, technology must result in translating and scaling to tissue sizes that are relevant for the study of tissue function, disease and regeneration.

You must be able to acquire competitive research funding, set up national and international research collaborations, supervise PhD students and generate scientific output that adheres to the highest international standards.


You ensure high-quality education within the Bachelor and/or Master programs of Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering of the Faculty of Engineering, with a clear commitment for the quality of the programme as a whole. You also contribute to the pedagogic project of the faculty through the supervision of master theses and as a promoter of PhD students.

You develop your teachings in accordance with KU Leuven’s vision on activating and researched-based education and make use of the possibilities for the educationalist professionalisation offered by the faculty and the university.


The Department of Mechanical Engineering has an excellent track record in translating research findings into products and services. The candidate is expected to explore collaboration with industrial partners as well.


You have a PhD in engineering with an emphasis in biomanufacturing and that demonstrates experience with interdisciplinarity at the interface between engineering and biomedical sciences.

You have a strong research profile. The quality of your research is proven by publications in international, leading journals. International experience is an important advantage.

If you have recently been admitted to the degree of doctor, it is important that you support your research and growth potential with academic references.

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

You possess organisational skills and have a cooperative attitude. You also possess leadership capacities within a university context.

An excellent command of English is required. KU Leuven provides courses in academic English.

The administrative and educational language at KU Leuven is Dutch. If, at your appointment, you do not speak Dutch at all or do not speak it well, KU Leuven will provide a training offer that must equip you to be able to teach in Dutch within three years. If your teaching assignment is completely in a language other than Dutch, then it is expected that you have mastered the Dutch language to a level that will allow you to participate in the administrative meetings.


We are offering full-time employment in an intellectually challenging and interdisciplinary environment. KU Leuven is a research-intensive, internationally oriented university that carries out both fundamental and applied scientific research. It is highly inter- and multidisciplinarily focused and strives for international excellence. In this regard, it actively works together with research partners in Belgium and abroad. It provides its students with an academic education that is based on high-quality scientific research.

You will work in Leuven, a historic, dynamic and lively city located in the heart of Belgium, within 20 minutes from Brussels, the capital of the European Union, and less than two hours from 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; after this period and a positive evaluation, they are permanently appointed (or tenured) as an associate professor.


For more information please contact Prof. dr. ir. Dominiek Reynaerts, tel.: +3216322640, mail: dominiek.reynaerts@mech.kuleuven.be.
For problems with your online application, please contact solliciteren@kuleuven.be.