ITM has a long tradition of interdisciplinary research into infectious diseases (e.g. malaria, Chikungunya, Zika, sleeping sickness, leishmaniasis, helminthiasis, COVID-19). Throughout the evolution of infectious diseases, pathogens have increasingly passed from animals to humans, with dramatic consequences, as exemplified by the recent Covid pandemic. Some farming practices such as use of antibiotics can increase the risk of harmful zoonoses. Animals and vectors are also often intrinsic parts of the life cycle of several pathogens that affect humans (zoonoses) and these infections can disproportionately affect subsistence communities throughout the world who are disproportionately exposed to domestic and wild animals. This human-animal interface entails multiple research needs and opportunities, including in the areas of (i) zoonotic and drug-resistant pathogens emerging from livestock; (ii) the microbial spillover from wild and domesticated animals, (iii) the discovery of unknown pathogens or unknown variants, (iv) the discovery of unknown animal reservoirs for known pathogens. A comprehensive understanding of the human-animal interface is more important than ever to combat infectious diseases.
Recognizing that pathogen-, vector-, animal- and human host populations interact with each other and with the environment, the Eco-Epidemiology Research Group in ITM’s Biomedical Sciences Department applies a whole system (One Health, Eco-health) approach to understand the transmission and to improve the prevention, control and/or elimination of infectious diseases. We do this by interdisciplinary research, combining field epidemiology and ecology with lab-based research and modelling.
To complete the Eco-Epidemiology Research Group, we are seeking an outstanding scientist to set up and lead the One Health Unit, focussing on research on pathogens at the human-animal interface and the prevention and control of zoonoses.The candidate will be expected to develop a comprehensive, competitive and innovative research programme, in collaboration with Units of the Departments Biomedical Sciences, Clinical Sciences and Public Health and in line with the institutional research priorities. This position will be dedicated to research and generating high-quality research output (80%), and also includes limited teaching assignments and other service assignments (20%).
- You will develop innovative research on pathogens of human importance at the interface between animals and humans. You will develop your own research line within the quadriad pathogen-vector-host-environment and as such will be at the centre of a large collaborative network.
- You will develop synergies with researchers working on zoonotic diseases, entomology, eco-health and modelling, at ITM and beyond.
- Establish novel research collaborations with international partners in low and middle income countries and build research capacity through relevant research and education.
- You will fullfill limited teaching assignments at postgraduate, Master and PhD level as well as in specialized short courses at ITM.
- You will apply for, and secure internal and external competitive funding to build your research team and to develop your research programme. You are expected to compete for an European Research Council (ERC) grant.
- You publish in high impact journals and build up international reputation and visibility.
- You provide expert advice to national and international bodies/stakeholders in the field of One Health.
- You will take up hierarchic responsibilities regarding management, safety and quality.
- You contribute to the vision, strategies and departmental and institutional policy development.
- You have a PhD in veterinary medicine, biology, biomedical sciences or an equivalent field.
- You are recognised internationally as leading researcher, or either a researcher with high research potential, in the field of One Health research, demonstrated by a matching excellent output of high-quality, peer-reviewed research on biology and ecology of pathogens. You have a well-developed strategy for your future research that has the potential to result in world-leading publications.
- You have a strong academic track record in the field of One Health Research, including PhD supervision, successful high-level competitive grant writing and experience as leading project principal investigator.
- You have a sound knowledge of, and proven experience in research on pathogens at the human-animal interface.
- Working experience in/with tropical and/or low- and middle-income countries is an asset.
- An active productive network of researchers in your field is an asset.
- You have a strong interest in collaborative research and a track record in successful collaborative research with other disciplines.
- You are fluent in English, written and spoken. A good command of Dutch or willingness to learn is desirable. Knowledge of other languages such as French or Spanish is an asset.
ITM is committed to building a diverse, equitable and inclusive institute. We strive for excellence and relevance, integrity, sustainability and persistence and fairness. Your assignment contributes to our mission. We value human dignity and diversity, academic creativity and a critical spirit, solidarity and cooperation, and the well-being of employees, students, patients and clients. We offer you:
- A full-time appointment. 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.
- A salary set according to the pay scales of ITM and the Flemish universities and to your work experience with some supplementary benefits, such as private pension scheme and meal voucher subscription.
- An attractive research starting grant.
- A collegial research environment and mentorship with attention to work-life balance and individual growth and development.
- An immigration and relocation assistance package.
To apply for this post, send the ITM’s application form or your CV (compliant with the application form), together with your letter of motivation to firstname.lastname@example.org. The apllication form can be downloaded above.
The closing date for receipt of applications is 28 February 2022 .
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