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Sixty percent of all human infectious diseases are transmitted from animals, and microbes of animal origin cause 75% of emerging infectious diseases. These microbes 'spill over' due to increasing contact among wildlife, livestock, and people driven by exponentially growing anthropogenic changes caused by human activities and the impacts of these activities on the environment. Over the past ten years, several outbreaks and pandemics occurred with varying duration and intensity. Between 2012 and 2017, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recorded more than 1,200 outbreaks in 168 countries, with a further 352 infectious disease events in 2018. Some of these have been localized, while others have spread globally in a short period. The risk of pandemics is increasing rapidly, with more than five new diseases emerging in people every year, any one of which has the potential to spread and become pandemic. The advances in genomic sequencing and the increasing availability of these data make it more feasible to map disease distribution and changing risks. We are looking for a motivated colleague interested in combining spatial data science, health and modelling to complement our existing strengths in geohealth.
The circulation and evolution of diseases are driven by a range of factors (environmental factors, host-related factors and the pathogen itself) and how they interact in space and time. By developing models and analytical techniques to combine genetic information of diseases with geographic information we can detect where diseases are prevalent, and where sources of disease infections are located. By developing spatial-temporal models we can assess how diseases are circulating, where changes are taking place and how diseases may be diffusing and evolving. Furthermore, by integrating different geographies we can explore what may be driving patterns of disease and changes in these patterns and the pathogen.
You will establish a research line in disease modeling that could focus on one or more of the following: spatial and temporal disease prediction, change analysis, or disease analytics. Outputs will be useful for gaining further insights into health risks and outcomes, providing policy-relevant knowledge, designing interventions and fine-tuning disease and outbreak response plans.
Based on the identified opportunities, pursue and attract funding that builds on ITC's geospatial expertise and intersects with health. You will contribute to the definition and development of geohealth data, and services that may be published in a geoportal or contribute to existing geoportals (e.g. nextstrain), publish results in scientific journals, where you embrace Open Science and principles of FAIR data, and focus on creating impact beyond the pure academic process, and actively contribute to the development of educational materials and teach classes in face-to-face and online education. You will also actively work towards strengthening our national network as this position is part of furthering the national earth and environmental sciences domain.
University of Twente (UT)
- A PhD in the field of epidemiology, phylogenetics, ecology or health sciences, geospatial sciences, and/or data sciences
- Working experience in epidemiological or spatial modelling, preferably related to phylogenetic or disease modelling and diffusion (e.g. machine learning, geoAI or statistics)
- Proven ability and enthusiasm to work in a range of international and interdisciplinary contexts
- Demonstrated scientific creativity that has resulted in recent and relevant high-quality scientific publications in international journals
- Experience in managing projects and writing project proposals
- Competence in open-source programming languages, such as R or Python
- Excellent communication skills
- An excellent command of English
- A willingness to travel to low and middle income countries
- An interest in education and in contributing to the capacity development mission of ITC
- An aptitude for teaching at the master level in English, for which you have or are willing to obtain, a university teaching qualification
- A team-work mentality
Conditions of employment
- An inspiring international environment.
- Initially employed for one year, after which your position can become permanent, subject to a successful evaluation.
- Gross monthly salary between € 3,974.- and € 6,181.- (depending on experience and qualifications, job profile Assistant Professor level 2 or 1).
- 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
- A total of 41 holiday days in case of fulltime employment
- Professional and personal improvement programmes
The Department of Earth Observation Science (EOS) is engaged in education, research and capacity building on earth observation, image analysis and geo-health. The department develops and applies methods for the extraction of large scale geo-information from airborne and terrestrial sensors. It holds expertise in laser scanning technology, sensor integration, point cloud processing, scene understanding and 3D landscape and building modelling. The expertise of the department covers spatial statistics, image analysis, deep learning, monitoring and data integration. Geo-health relates the dynamics of diseases to the geo context. This is done by modelling the spread of diseases and their explanatory variables and includes the understanding of the emergence of diseases at various scales.