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PhD Candidate “Deep Learning for Mapping Glacier Areas, Surface Characteristics and Mass Balance”

Job description

Your tasks

Glaciers are under pressure in the current climate warming trend. The aerial extent and mass balance, a measure of mass loss or mass gain of a glacier, represent the “health state” of a glacier. They are recognized as essential climate variables by the world meteorological organization. Due to the sheer number of glaciers of roughly 200.000 worldwide and their inaccessibility, satellite data have been a valuable source to map glacier area and glacier mass balance around the globe during the last decades.

Earth observation satellites, including optical and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) sensors, allow for systematic and continuous glacier monitoring worldwide. Satellite images have enabled researchers to map the extent of glaciers and glacier surface types (glacier facies, i.e., snow, firn, ice). Multi-temporal information on the glacier surface elevation and proxies (snow cover, albedo) which are highly correlated with the glacier mass balance, have been used to estimate mass changes. Today, the ever-growing amount of satellite data motivates the development of new methodologies based on machine learning to optimize the information retrieved from large data sets of multi-modal and multi-temporal satellite data.

The PhD research activity aims to design deep learning methods to automatically analyze temporal series of remotely sensed data and map glacier area, glacier surface characteristics, and infer glacier mass balance. The PhD candidate will take advantage of the latest developments in convolutional neural networks to design deep architectures capable of fusing optical and SAR data for glacier facies analysis within the same network. Combining multiple data sources within a big geodata analysis framework, the candidate will design a deep learning approach to infer the glacier mass change.

Your profile

Your Profile

  • You have an MSc degree in remote sensing,  computer science, electrical engineering, geoscience, physics or a related field
  • You have a strong background in machine learning, remote sensing, statistics, and strong skills in programming (e.g., in Python, R)
  • You have experience with remote sensing data analysis
  • You are passionate about addressing environmental problems and curious about monitoring glaciers
  • You have demonstrated scientific creativity that has preferably resulted in a scientific publication
  • You have excellent communication skills and good English language proficiency
  • You have an affinity with a multi-cultural education environment, excellent work ethics, and commitment to the job

Our offer

Our offer

We offer a position in an inspiring and challenging multidisciplinary and international environment for a period of four years. You will work in close collaboration with researchers at the University of Oslo (Norway) and the EURAC research institute (Italy). Salary and conditions will be in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement (CAO-NU) of the Dutch Universities.

  • A starting salary of € 2,395.00 in the first year and a salary of € 3,061.00 in the fourth year gross per month;
  • A holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and a year-end bonus of 8.3%;
  • A solid pension scheme;
  • Minimum of 41 holiday days in case of full-time employment;
  • Professional and personal development programs;
  • Costs for moving to Enschede may be reimbursed.

Information and application

Information and application

For more information about this position, you can contact Dr. C. Persello (c.persello@utwente.nl) or Prof. Dr. Ir. A. Stein (a.stein@utwente.nl). You are also invited to visit our homepage.

Please submit your application before 31 August 2021 (choose “apply now” below). Your application must include:

  • A cover letter (maximum 2 pages), emphasizing your specific interest in the position and outlining your relevant skills and experience, including a list of names and contact information for three referees
  • A full Curriculum Vitae
  • Official transcripts from all universities attended

About the department

The Department of Earth Observation Science (EOS) of the Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), University of Twente in Enschede, the Netherlands, has a vacant full-time position for a PhD candidate in the area of remote sensing data analysis for glacier monitoring. The candidate will work in the project MASSIVE (Machine learning to infer surface mass balance of glaciers by means of snow cover, in-situ measurements and volume changes from earth observation)

About the organization

The Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC) provides international postgraduate education, research and project services in the field of geo-information science (GIS) and earth observation. We use remote sensing and GIS for collecting spatial data. Our aim is to contribute to the international exchange of knowledge, focusing on capacity building and institutional development in developing countries and emerging economies. As part of a ‘people-first' university of technology, we ensure that everything we do is aimed at maximum impact on people and society through the sustainable utilisation of science and technology. We also seek to sustain and expand our role as a leader in academic social entrepreneurship.

University of Twente (UT)

University of Twente (UT) has entered the new decade with an ambitious, new vision, mission and strategy. As ‘the ultimate people-first university of technology' we are rapidly expanding on our High Tech Human Touch philosophy and the unique role it affords us in society. Everything we do is aimed at maximum impact on people, society and connections through the sustainable utilisation of science and technology. We want to contribute to the development of a fair, digital and sustainable society through our open, inclusive and entrepreneurial attitude. This attitude permeates everything we do and is present in every one of UT's departments and faculties. Building on our rich legacy in merging technical and social sciences, we focus on five distinguishing research domains: Improving healthcare by personalised technologies; Creating intelligent manufacturing systems; Shaping our world with smart materials; Engineering our digital society; and Engineering for a resilient world.

As an employer, University of Twente offers jobs that matter. We equip you as a staff member to shape new opportunities both for yourself and for our society. With us, you will be part of a leading tech university that is changing our world for the better. We offer an open, inclusive and entrepreneurial climate, in which we encourage you to make healthy choices, for example, with our flexible, customisable conditions.

PhD Candidate “Deep Learning for Mapping Glacier Areas, Surface Characteristics and Mass Balance”
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