Portrait of Geoffrey Houbrechts

New 2023 Lecturers Honoured


Lecturer in fluvial geomorphology.

Could you briefly describe your background, your research topics and your conception of university teaching?

It was during my2nd candi that my research into rivers really began. After obtaining my bachelor's degree in 2000, I was hired for a year as a researcher in the Laboratoire d'Hydrographie et de Géomorphologie fluviatile to study the impact of dredging on the Semois. This enabled me to gain more experience, publish my first article and prepare a doctoral thesis on the use of slag to date and reconstruct fluvial processes. Then, thanks to a grant from the FRIA (2002-2005), and a collaboration with a Polish researcher, Tomasz Kalicki, a specialist in fluvial paleoenvironments, I continued my research, notably on the evolution of the alluvial plains of Ardennes rivers. I defended this thesis in 2005, then obtained an FNRS post-doc grant and did a post-doc in Lyon in 2010 in Prof. Jean-Paul Bravard's laboratory, before being recruited as a first assistant in Geography in 2011 and thus being able to pursue an academic career.

This research is still ongoing, but now the field of study extends beyond Belgium's borders, as I am involved in research using slag to study watercourses in Haute Marne, Normandy and Poland, notably by supervising doctoral theses. There are still many issues to be studied, such as the impact of mills on watercourses, but also of land clearing since the Neolithic period, climate change and dredging.

Most of my teaching focuses on geomorphology and is directly linked to my research activities and those carried out by my laboratory team. Practical fieldwork is an essential component of my courses. Indeed, the fact of observing on one's own helps not only to establish knowledge, but also to arouse students' curiosity, to master data collection techniques, to formulate hypotheses and to work in groups. What's more, fieldwork enables us to appreciate the spatial and temporal scales of geomorphological processes. 


Geoffrey Houbrechts

© Photo : ULiège - B.Bouckaert - English translation :

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