PhD or Post-doc position: Microwave Remote Sensing of Vegetation

PhD or Post-doc position: Microwave Remote Sensing of Vegetation

Published Deadline Location
24 Jul 1 Sep Delft

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Job description

The project goal is to understand and operationally use the dynamic vegetation parameters derived from the Advanced Scatterometer on the Metop satellite series to monitor vegetation water dynamics and drought.

The Advanced Scatterometer on the Metop series makes it possible to monitor radar backscatter as a function of incidence angle. These variations are encapsulated in the so-called “dynamic vegetation parameters”. Our latest research showed that the seasonal, inter-annual and diurnal variations in these parameters reflect vegetation phenology and moisture content variations in soil and vegetation. In this project you will use machine learning to improve our understanding of the ASCAT dynamic vegetation parameters and develop a measurement operator to allow their assimilation into a land surface model. 

This position is funded by an NWO User Support for Space Research grant with an eScience component. The candidate will work closely with an eScience engineer from the Netherlands eScience Center ( and international science team members. 

Starting date is ASAP, and no later than 1 January 2020.




Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


Candidates must have a MSc. (PhD position) or PhD (post-doc position) in Civil/Env. Engineering, Earth Science, Meteorology, Physical Geography, Remote Sensing/Earth Observation, Applied Physics or similar. A strong track record and interest in microwave remote sensing, land surface modeling and machine learning is essential. Demonstrated expertise in programming (e.g. Matlab/Python, R, IDL, C++ or similar) and scientific computing are essential. Excellent written and oral communication skills are required.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 3 or 4 year contract.

TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. 

As a PhD your salary in the first year will be EUR 2.325 gross per month and in the fourth year EUR 2.972 gross per month (both based on fulltime employment). You will be offered a contract for 4 years. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment; an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor; and a Doctoral Education Programme aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills. Please visit for more information. 

As a postdoc your salary will be based on your experience, but the minimum will be EUR 3.389 gross per month and the maximum EUR 4.274 gross per month (both based on fulltime employment). As a postdoc you will be offered a 3 years contract.   


Technische Universiteit Delft

Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) is a multifaceted institution offering education and carrying out research in the technical sciences at an internationally recognised level. Education, research and design are strongly oriented towards applicability. TU Delft develops technologies for future generations, focusing on sustainability, safety and economic vitality. At TU Delft you will work in an environment where technical sciences and society converge. TU Delft comprises eight faculties, unique laboratories, research institutes and schools.


Faculty Civil Engineering and Geosciences

Within the faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, the Water Resources group ( focuses on hydrology and water resources management. The research group includes a 20 faculty members, 8 post-docs, 35 PhD students, and around 60 MSc students per year. Research topics include floods and droughts, climate change, international conflicts and IWRM. The group has an excellent international research reputation and is well embedded in the international research community. A significant part of the research is done in strong collaboration with international research institutes and industry.

Within the Water Resources group, Prof. Steele-Dunne's group uses microwave remote sensing to monitor vegetation water dynamics with a view to an improved understanding of the role of vegetation in the earth system. Satellite imagery, ground-based radar experiments, in-situ measurements and radiative transfer models are used to improve our understanding of microwave interactions with vegetation. Data assimilation is used to combine the advantages of satellite data and land surface modeling to monitor soil and vegetation in agricultural and natural systems.  

Faculty of Civil Engineering & Geosciences ( is committed to outstanding international research and education in the field of civil engineering, applied earth sciences, traffic and transport, water technology and delta technology. The research covers global social issues and is closely connected to education as well as the work of a wide range of knowledge institutions. CEG is convinced that Open Science helps to realise these goals and supports its scientists in integrating Open Science in their research practice. Faculty of CEG comprises 28 research groups in the following seven departments: Materials Mechanics Management & Design, Engineering Structures, Geoscience and Engineering, Geoscience and Remote Sensing, Transport & Planning, Hydraulic Engineering and Water Management.     


  • PhD; Postdoc
  • Engineering
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €2325—€4274 per month
  • University graduate
  • CiTG19.51


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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