Context and research challenge

Climatic changes seemed to have a generally positive impact on agricultural productivity when water was not limiting. However, future climate changes are likely to include further increases in mean temperature (about 2–4 °C globally) with significant drying in some regions, as well as increases in frequency and severity of extreme droughts, hot extremes, and heat waves. Recent studies of increased crop mortality and die-offs triggered by drought and/or high temperatures suggest that at least some of the world’s agricultural ecosystems may be already responding to climate change. This raises concern that crops may become increasingly vulnerable in response to future warming and drought, even in environments that are not normally considered water-limited such a Belgium.

In Belgium, water use for irrigation has increased significantly the past years, putting additional pressure on the already limited water resources. To properly understand the impact of drought in agricultural production, advanced remote sensing systems will be developed. Main focus will be on the detection and monitoring of stress phenomena across a wide range of site conditions, as well as the quantification of yield losses as a result of these stresses. It holds a strong potential for identifying priority areas for implementing suitable adaptation strategies.


Use of satellite image processing techniques to monitor drought stress (temperature, evapotranspiration) as well as quantify yield losses.

With this call, we invite researchers to submit their resumé (including track-record) and a one-page project description, that will be the basis for selecting candidates with whom we will collaborate for developing a competitive MSCA-PF proposal. 


Belgian agronomical research centres, Insurance companies

Deadline application to VITO

Interested candidates should submit their resume (incl. track record) and a one-page note describing the project for which a Marie Curie grant will be applied, as soon as possible and no later than Friday 2 April 2021 17h Brussels time.


Successful candidates will be supervised by Laurent Tits. He obtained his master in Bioscience Engineering in 2009 and his PhD in 2013 at the KU Leuven, Belgium, where he focused on the use of EO data in orchards. He is currently the team leader of the agricultural applications team at VITO Remote Sensing, Belgium. With his team, current agricultural applications of EO data encompass the broad range of very precise UAV data for detailed monitoring and phenotyping, up to the general monitoring of all the agricultural production areas on a global scale and everything in between. The activities encompass both reseach and feasibility studies as operational services.

Further information can be obtained from Laurent Tits via e-mail:

Deadline MSCA-PF 2021

Wednesday 15 September 2021 17h Brussels time.

Target start date

The EU informs the results on the MSCA-PF applications in February 2022. Succesful candidates are expected to be available to start within the following months and no later than summer 2022.


We invite applicants to propose a more detailed and focused research approach within the scope of this MSCA-PF Fellowship as a part of their application. We are primarily looking for experienced researchers who wish to use this period as an opportunity to further develop their research and skills, and to develop longer-term research collaborations with VITO and other institutions conducting research in the field.

The candidates as in principle must be eligible for a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship – please refer to the conditions to be set-out in the Horizon Europe MSCA-PF-2021 Work Programme, including taking into account the new MSCA Green Charter principles.

The following assets will be advantageous:

  • An excellent track record in research, necessary for being able to develop a competitive Marie Curie Fellowship application;
  • Already published relevant research work in prestigious scientific journals;
  • An open and cooperation-oriented nature, but with strong abilities for independent research work;
  • highly proficient in spoken and written English.

Initially, we offer assistance in developing competitive Marie Curie Individual Fellowship proposals.

Then, to successful applicants to the Marie Curie programme, we offer;

  • An exciting opportunity at VITO, the independent Flemish research organisation driven by the major global challenges. Our goal? To accelerate the transition to a sustainable world;
  • Participation in a dynamic professional research & innovation community;
  • Flexible working conditions;
  • An inclusive and friendly work environment;
  • On-boarding assistance and other services.