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PhD/postdoc position on long term effects of biochar

22.10.2018 - University of Liège, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, Belgium

The University of Liège offers a PhD or postdoc position within the multidisciplinary research team of the CHAR project at Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech.

Do you want to understand how a soil amendment such as biochar interacts with native soil on the long term (> 100 years)? Do you love geophysics and like to apply your physics, mathematics and programming skills to an agricultural system? Do you enjoy working an in multidisciplinary team? Then we are keen to get to know you!

We are looking for a highly motivated candidate to take up a PhD or postdoc position within the multidisciplinary research project CHAR together with 2 other PhD candidates, a postdoc and their academic supervisors. The position is available within the collaborative project CHAR between three faculties of ULiège: Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, Sciences, and Engineering, and in close collaboration with the Centre for Environmental Sciences (Earth and Life Institute; UCLouvain). The PhD position is fully funded for 3 years, starting on November 2018 or asap.

The project focuses on the responses of cropping systems to the variations of pedological and hydraulic soil properties induced by charcoal accumulation over more than 150 years. The system is analogue to biochar (a carbon rich solid phase produced by pyrolysis) accumulation, a soil amendment whose long-term impacts on the soil-plant system are yet to be investigated. You will work with the other PhD students on the same field site with different techniques and at different scales. We will target multiple charcoal-enriched soil spots and their adjacent reference soils. As such, we will be able to study the long-term response of the soil-plant system to charcoal enrichment.

The research topic for this position is situated at the intermediate scale and will use geophysical methods such as ERT and IP to assess the spatio-temporal patterns of soil hydraulic properties and root water uptake and their relationship to charcoal enrichment (supervised by Prs. F. Nguyen and S. Garré, in Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech Campus). The other two PhDs are working on the soil biogeochemical cycles and the crop performance (remote sensing).

a MSc degree or equivalent in geophysics, physics, soil or geo science, engineering, or related discipline. A strong background in physics or geophysics, applied mathematics, and numerical methods is an asset. Interest in soil science and agriculture is a plus.

General requirements
• English language proficiency;
• Team player and field work
• Written and oral communication skills

Interested candidates should send a CV, a motivation letter and the names and addresses of three referees before 1st of November by e-mail to Frederic Nguyen (

Feel free to contact us ( (Coordinator), (promotor) , (promotor)) for specific questions prior to submitting your application.
For more information on the University, follow this link:
And the faculty Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, near to which the field site is located:
For more information on becoming a PhD student at the ULiège, follow this link: