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Postdoc Geoinformatics for disaster damage and recovery assessment

Job description

One of the knowledge fields of the Faculty ITC of the University of Twente (UT; is disaster risk management, with different chair groups covering hazard modelling, risk assessment, risk-based urban planning, the role of climate change, but also the link to the humanitarian sector/ the Red Cross. The use of geoinformation is what all research groups have in common. More widely within the UT our research is further strengthened by a research center on resilience engineering, but also work on risk economics.

The focus field of the chair group for this postdoc is the use of remote sensing for the assessment of changing hazards, elements-at-risk, vulnerability and capacity. This could be before a disaster as a contribution to elements-at-risk mapping and characterization, e.g. using machine learning approaches, but also for post-disaster damage assessment and recovery assessment. Extensive research with several completed PhD projects has been done in the last ca. 15 years in this group. The initial focus has moved from the use of satellite imagery to data acquired with drones/UAV, and in ongoing work we also link image-based recovery assessment to macroeconomic modelling to explain the observed recovery. Much of our work has been done in the context of European research projects (FP7/H2020), for example RECONASS (, INACHUS (, or the ongoing PANOPTIS ( project that focuses on damage to road infrastructure. In September we will start another project that will focus on supporting first responders, including through the use of indoor UAV swarms (see In addition we have carried out large international risk management projects, such as CHARIM (, or a national-scale multi-hazard risk assessment project in Georgia (

Our research in recent years has focused primarily on the use of advanced computer vision methods for efficient 3D scene reconstruction from stereo imagery, as well as on machine learning to detect damage. Several articles using CNN-based deep learning were recently published by the group. Lastly, the group is also interested in the use of VGI/citizen science to support pre-disaster risk assessment and post-disaster response and recovery, in particular focusing on human factors questions.

Funding is now available for a 2-year full-time postdoc to help advance the research in the group. Given the wide scope of problems addressed and methods used in this chair group, the postdoc can focus on one of the topics below: 

  1. support the ongoing research projects by adding novel and relevant additional research questions that benefit from the ongoing work and expertise in the project consortia;
  2. support development of machine learning approaches for generation of elements-at-risk and hazard databases using cloud-based computing tools;
  3. expand our research on recovery assessment that links advanced remote sensing and economic modelling;
  4. help build up a knowledge node in the field of impact assessment and support of auditing and accountability needs with remote sensing, for example to provide impact evidence for donors who support post-disaster recovery;
  5. help expand our knowledge on image-based functional damage and recovery assessment, i.e. going beyond the traditional focus on physical features; or
  6. develop research that addresses the geoinformation needs of humanitarian organisations such as the Red Cross, building on existing links with 510 global (

Your profile

We are looking for a creative and highly motivated candidate. You should:

    • have a PhD degree related to geoinformatics, with proven expertise in areas such as advanced remote sensing, computer vision or photogrammetry, and good programming skills.
    • prior expertise in disaster risk management will be an asset, though the range of possible research topics allows for some diversity in backgrounds.
    • interest to work in a highly international environment.

Information and application

For more information, you can contact Prof. Dr. Norman Kerle ( You are also invited to visit our homepage.

Please submit your application before 1 July 2019 (choose “apply now” below). Your application should contain a detailed Curriculum Vitae and a letter elaborating the motivation for the application. Applications that do not include both documents will not be considered.

We are aiming at filling the position as soon as possible. Job interviews (likely via Skype) will be held in early-mid July 2019.

Our offer

We offer you an inspiring multidisciplinary and challenging international and academic environment. The university offers a dynamic ecosystem with enthusiastic colleagues in which internationalization is an important part of the strategic agenda.

You will be fulltime employed for two years. Depending on available finances there may be an possibility to extend the position. Salary and conditions will be in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO-NU) of the Dutch Universities.

  • Gross monthly salary between € 2.709,- and € 4.274,- depending on experience and qualifications (job profile Researcher level 4).
  • A holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and a year-end bonus of 8.3%.
  • Excellent support for research and facilities for professional and personal development.
  • A solid pension scheme.
  • Minimum of 41 holiday days in case of full-time employment.

The organization

The University of Twente. We stand for life sciences and technology. High tech and human touch. Education and research that matter. New technology which leads change, innovation and progress in society. The University of Twente is the only campus university of the Netherlands; divided over five faculties we provide more than fifty educational programmes. We have a strong focus on personal development and talented researchers are given scope for carrying out groundbreaking research. We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company.

We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status or disability status. Because of our diversity values we do particularly support women to apply.

The Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC) of the University of Twente provides international postgraduate education, research and project services in the field of geo-information science and earth observation using remote sensing and GIS. The aim of ITC's activities is the international exchange of knowledge, focusing on capacity building and institutional development in developing countries and emerging economies.

Postdoc Geoinformatics for disaster damage and recovery assessment
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