Staff directory

Olivier Dewitte

Olivier Dewitte
Department: Earth Sciences
Division: Natural hazards
Job Title: Physical geographer
Specialisms: Geomorphology, spatial modelling, remote sensing, climatology
Phone: 32 2 769 5452

Ph.D. in Sciences (14 March 2006), Geography. University of Liège

M.Sc. in Cartography and Remote Sensing (Oct. 1999 – Oct. 2001). Inter-university degree (ULg, ULB, UCL)

M.Sc. and B.Sc. in Geography (Sept. 1995 – Sept. 1999). University of Liège


May 2013 to present: Senior scientist, Department of Earth Sciences, Royal Museum for Central Africa, Belgium

Oct. 2012 to April 2013: Postdoctoral researcher, Department of Geography, University of Liège, Belgium

Dec. 2011 to Sept. 2012: Postdoctoral researcher, Department of Geology and Soil Science, Ghent University, Belgium

Dec. 2008 to Nov. 2011: Postdoctoral researcher, Institute for Environment & Sustainability (IES), European Commission - Joint Research Centre (JRC), Italy

Oct. 2006 to Nov. 2008: Postdoctoral researcher, Department of Geography, University of Liège, Belgium

Oct. 1999 to Sept. 2006: Research - Teaching assistant, Department of Geography, University of Liège, Belgium


2020 Award to PhD student: Natural Hazards Section Award for Graduate Research given by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) to Elise Monsieurs for her PhD research on “The potential of satellite rainfall estimates in assessing regional landslide hazard in Central Africa”.

2013 Marie Curie fellowship "Back to Belgium Grant”, co-funded by the European Commission (FP7-PEOPLE-COFUND-2008) and BELSPO: 2-year postdoctoral research grant at Ghent University (Belgium). “Predicting soil properties in humid tropical Africa”. (Declined)

2012 Qualification “Maitre de Conférences”, Section 23 - “Géographie physique, humaine, économique et régionale”; Section 35 - “Structure et évolution de la terre et des autres planètes”; Section 36.- " Terre solide : géodynamique des enveloppes supérieures, paléobiosphère"

2008 Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowships for Career Development (IEF): 2-year postdoctoral research grant at the University of Durham (UK). “The impacts of climate change on landslide reactivation in temperate environments”. (Declined)

2008 Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF): International postdoctoral grant for 3-month mobility at the Science and Technology Faculty of Tangier, Abdelmalek Esaâdi University (Morocco). “Mapping landslide processes in the Rif area (Morocco): an approach combining remote sensing and GIS tools”. (Declined)


Olivier Dewitte is a geographer with a broad knowledge and understanding of processes and quantitative research methodologies in geomorphology, natural hazards and land degradation. He is employed as a senior scientist at the Department of Earth Sciences of the Royal Museum for Central Africa (Tervuren, Belgium). His current research interests are mainly on landslide and soil erosion related topics in several regions of sub-Saharan Africa (Burundi, Cameroon, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Uganda.

In 1999, Olivier Dewitte graduated from the geography master programme at University of Liège (ULg) with a focus on geomorphology and global climatology. Then, from 1999 to 2006, he worked as a research/teaching assistant at ULg where he taught practicals and tutorials in several fields of physical geography, geomorphology and climatology. During that period he completed in 2001 an inter-university master degree in cartography and remote sensing (ULg, ULB, UCL). In 2006 he completed a PhD in geomorphology (ULg) on landslide hazard analysis using remote sensing and geostatistical modelling approaches. Before joining RMCA, Olivier Dewitte held postdoc positions at ULg (2006 – 2008, and 2012), Ghent University (2011-2012) and the Joint Research Centre (DG JRC, Italy) of the European Commission (2008-2011).

Key interests and expertise:

• Earth surface processes and quantitative geomorphology

• Natural hazard assessment in data-scarce contexts

• Land degradation and environmental changes

• Remote sensing applied to ground deformation and hillslope dynamics

• Specific interest for landslide, flash flood and gully erosion processes

• Extensive field experience in Africa

• Capacity building spirit and cooperation activities