27 June 2018

JOB: Call for Research Professorships, KU Leuven (DEADLINE 28 SEP 2018)


Each year a number of research professors can be appointed. These positions are financed by a university fund called 'BOF' (Bijzonder Onderzoeksfonds) that is funded by the Flemish Government. This type of positons are also called 'BOFZAP'. ZAP is an acronym for academic positions at KU Leuven (Zelfstandig Academisch Personeel). Each year a limited number of BOFZAP positions are made available for excellent researchers with a high-quality research program. These positions are primarily research-oriented, but the applicants must be prepared to undertake limited teaching assignments according to the BOF-decree. Candidates must be willing to take additional teaching duties after the 10-year period.
An overview of the current research professorships at the KU Leuven can be found via this webpage.


The applicant must meet the following conditions:
  • At the start of the mandate the candidates must have at least 3 full years of experience in scientific research, counting from the day of their PhD defense. The board of the BOFZAP advisory Committee may authorize exceptions because of extraordinary potential and track record.
  • These professorships are not meant for ZAP members with a KU Leuven appointment of more than 20%.
  • The candidate must be a highly internationally recognized researcher in the field (senior BOFZAP) or a researcher with high research potential (junior BOFZAP), which is illustrated by internationally recognized scientific publications. Candidates also possess the appropriate didactic skills.


Up to 16 full-time BOFZAP positions are vacant. The number of vacant positions depends on the available budget.
The BOFZAP positions are open for candidates from all research disciplines and scientific domains. For some of these positions a research profile is defined (with 9 specific research profiles for this call). So you can apply for a position in any kind of research disciplines, or you can choose to join one of the following research profiles:
 information concerning the BOFZAP profiles will be made available soon.
There are two BOFZAP categories:
1. Junior BOFZAP: young researchers with at least 3 years and less than 7 full years of postdoctoral experience at the time of appointment (from the date the PhD was awarded until October 1, 2019).
2. Senior BOFZAP: advanced researchers with at least 7 years of postdoctoral experience at the time of appointment (from the date the PhD was awarded until October 1, 2019).
Important remarks:
  • There is no quota on the number of BOFZAP positions in each category.
  • For junior BOFZAP an extension of the eligible period of up to 1 year may be allowed in case of eligible career breaks, which must be properly documented. Eligible career breaks include maternity and / or paternity leave and other valid medical reasons.


Candidates will be appointed in an academic staff position (ZAP), with a rank depending on the junior and senior candidate's qualifications. A junior BOFZAP is basically appointed in a Tenure Track position, without excluding a higher academic position.
Start-up grantAll BOFZAP researchers receive a BOF start-up grant of 100.000 euro for the two first years (not combinable with other research funding as ERC, VIB or Odysseus). During the start-up grant the BOFZAP researcher must submit at least one research project to an external funding agency. A project application to Internal Funds is possible in accordance to the general guidelines of Internal Funds 2018-2019.


The openings for research professorships (BOFZAP positions) will be published at the beginning of June 2018 by the Research Coordination Office in consultation with the Human Resources Department of the KU Leuven. Prior to the BOFZAP candidacy, applicants must consult a principal investigator (PI) at KU Leuven with whom the planned research activities are discussed. The PI must be a member of the academic staff at KU Leuven.
The application process will proceed in two phases:
1. Pre-application (September 28 at 5 pm)
 All BOFZAP applicants must submit a pre-application via the DOC webapplication.  The deadline for submission of the pre-application is September 28th, 2018 at 5 pm. The link to the web application will be made available early July.
The pre-application contains: 
  1.  personal data; 
  2. Biosketch (mandatoray attachlment, max.  2 pages) Use standard template and upload pdf in application tool);
  3. Detailed curriculum vitae with a full publication list included (use standard template and upload pdf in application tool); 
    In the CV a link must be provided to the full online publication list: Lirias for KU Leuven researchers and ResearcherID for Non-KU Leuven researchers.
  4. Name of the principal investigator (PI) at the KU Leuven with whom preliminary the planned research activities are discussed. Each applicant must have the support of at least one PI at the KU Leuven who accompanies the BOFZAP application both at administrative and scientific issues. This PI must be a member of the Academic Staff at the KU Leuven.
Following the pre-selection deadline, the DOC will contact the dean or the department chair concerning the possible financial incorporation in the policy plans after mid term (after 5 years) and long term (after 10 years).

As of October 12th, 2018 the DOC will inform all candidates who have submitted a pre-application, regarding the positive or negative decision to submit a full BOFZAP application. This decision is binding.

2. Full Application (November 5th 
at 5 pm)
The instructions for the full applications will be communicated by the DOC along with the decision on the full proposal.
The full application is written in English and consists of four parts.
Part 1: Four appendices uploaded in PDF-format in an on-line application.
  • Apendix 1: Biosketch (mandatoray attachlment, max.  2 pages) Use standard template and upload pdf in application tool)
  • Appendix 2:
    a) Detailed curriculum vitae with a full publication list included (use standard template and upload pdf in application tool) including studies, career history, scientific research, editorial activities, invited lectures, research grants and current research projects, current and finished PhDs, scientific prizes and awards, long stays abroad, organizing of seminars, participation in committees, and if applicable, valorisation activities, societal impact, teaching experience, ...
  • b) In the CV a link must be provided to the full publication list: Lirias for KU Leuven researchers and  ResearcherID for Non-KU Leuven researchers. 
  • Appendix 3: list of the candidate's five most important publications and/or realizations. For each publication/realization an abstract or summary and a brief comment is required explaining why the publication and/or realization was selected.
  • Appendix 4:
    a) proposal of the research program for the coming five years with a maximum of five pages, the reference list not included. The proposed research program should be situated in a wider context, has a broad relevance and indicates cooperation opportunities within the KU Leuven.
    b) National and international perspective of the planned research in Leuven. (max. 1 page)
Part 2: a list of at least 15 international referees not linked to a Belgian university. For each referee a list of three publications is required indicating the expertise of the referee that is also addressed in the application of the candidate. The given referee cannot have any form of conflict of interest with the candidate: no collaborations or publications with the candidate during the last five years and no former colleagues. The referees are active in geographically sufficiently diversified scientific institutions (this information must be delivered through an on-line application form). Candidates who re-apply and following the full procedure, are required to give at least 8 new referees. Candidates are not allowed to contact these referees with respect to their BOFZAP application.
Part 3: a recommendation letter by the principal investigator at KU Leuven, with whom the applicant discussed the planned research activities. This recommendation letter considers the quality of the candidate, the credentials as a researcher, the proposed research, and the expected integration into the research of the unit.
Part 4: availability of the candidate for the seminar, at least 4 data within the given time frame (November 14 - December 7): form and instructions will be made available early July.


Based on scientific criteria, a shortlist of BOFZAP candidates will be drawn up by the Executive Body of the BOFZAP Advisory Committee. A negative decision is binding.  As forthe BOFZAP profiles, the Executive body of the BOFZAP advisory committee will request a recommendation with a motivated shortlist from the chairman of the relevant faculty advisory committee, who also appoints one expert in order to follow the discussion and to draw up the final shortlist in the Executive bodyfor the relevant BOFZAP profile. 

Following the pre-selection deadline, the DOC will contact the dean or the department chair concerning the possible financial incorporation in the policy plans after mid term (after 5 years) and long term (after 10 years). Based on this information, the Vice Rector of the Sciences Group concerned and the Vice Rector for Research decide whether the candidate is allowed to submit a full application. A negative decision is binding.
Candidates who have applied earlier will be informed whether they need a full new application, depending on the earlier assessment outcome contact Christelle Maeyaert.

Final selection
The final selection is based on the recommendations of two parallell committees:
 1.  The BOFZAP Advisory Committee evaluates:
  • The candidate's research quality.
  • The candidate's research proposal. 
The scientific criteria for the assessment of junior and senior BOFZAP are equal, but the focus differs. For junior BOFZAP the focus is particulary on the high research potential of the candidate whereas for senior BOFZAP the past performance, leadership qualities and the international position in the scientific field will be of importance.

Applications are assessed on the basis of reviews by international referees and by members of the BOFZAP Advisory Committee. International referees are chosen 1) from a list of fifteen referees given by the candidate, 2) a DOC database and 3) proposed by the members of the BOFZAP Advisory Committee. 
The BOFZAP candidates will be offered the chance to reply to the anonymous evaluation report of the external referees with respect to the research program. This will be before the meeting of the Board. This reply, further referred to as rebuttal, will be added to the application. This rebuttal will be organized from 7 to January 9, 2019.
The BOFZAP Advisory Committee consists of all members of the Research Council with the rank of at least associate professor. With exception of the pre-selection, the Vice Rectors of the three scientific Groups do not participate in the discussion of the BOFZAP Advisory Committee as they are involved in the final selection at a later stage. The internal regulations of the Research Council apply. The composition of this Committee is approved by the University board.  More information about the composition:
For both categories the organization of a seminar is obligatory and will be organized by the Research Coordination Office (DOC). The members of the Faculty Advisory Committee involved will be invited and can ask questions to the candidates, especially regarding the educational part of the application and the services. The seminar will take place between November 1 and December 7. Upon final submission, all candidates will be asked to give their availabilities within this period: form and instructions.
2.  The Faculty Advisory Committee evaluates amongst other things the candidate's didactical and management qualities.  The faculty advisory committee determines whether atrial lesson and / or other activities can be organized, such as a consultationabout possible collaborations and embedding in the Leuven research group.

The result of both committees (BOFZAP Advisory Committee and Faculty Advisory Committee) is the input for the further decision making process by the Special Academic Council (meeting will take place on February 5, 2019). In this stage of the selection procedure the global research and education policy of the university is taken into account.
Gender balance is pursued in case of BOFZAP appointments: maximum three-fifths of the academic staff members with a PhD are of the same sex. As long as this target is not reached on the level of the concerned scientific group, within this group and with equal qualifications, priority will be given in principle to candidates of the underrepresented gender. These qualifications are evidenced by the advice of the BOFZAP Advisory Committee and the Faculty Advisory Committee. This priority is not automatically and unconditionally given because the assessment always takes the personal situation of each candidate into account.

Language requirement
The official administrative 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 administrative meetings.
Before teaching courses in Dutch or English, you will be given the opportunity to learn Dutch respectively English to the required standard.

The KU Leuven pursues a policy of equal opportunity and diversity and encourages underrepresented groups at the university to apply.


The candidates will receive feedback on the decision by the dean of the Faculty and possibly the Vice Rector of the scientific group.
For the evaluation that is made by the BOFZAP Advisory Committee, candidates are given the opportunity to make an appointment through the DOC for a feedback meeting with the Vice Rector for Research and the president of the BOFZAP Advisory Committee (who is also the president of the Research Council). The candidates will also receive the full reviews made by the referees without compromising the identity of the referees involved.


Friday, September 28 2018Declaration of intent.


(source: KULeuven)

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