Postdoc LiDAR Habitat Monitoring

Postdoc LiDAR Habitat Monitoring

Published Deadline Location
14 May 16 Jun Amsterdam

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Job description

Do you have experience with the ecological analysis of LiDAR data from airborne laser scanning surveys? Are you familiar with habitat and vegetation assessments using airborne remote sensing? Are you interested in developing pipelines and automated processing workflows for LiDAR metric extraction using parallel and distributed computing in a cloud environment?

The Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) at the University of Amsterdam is looking for an ambitious and highly motivated Postdoc in LiDAR habitat monitoring for a 30-month (2.5 year) position within the European-funded project MAMBO.

The central objective of the project MAMBO (Modern Approaches to the Monitoring of BiOdiversity) is to make use of advancements in technology for biodiversity monitoring in Europe. A core task of the project is to advance the automated execution of workflows for habitat condition metrics from LiDAR and drone imagery for EU habitat monitoring. By deriving high-resolution LiDAR metrics of vegetation and terrain for measuring habitat condition from massive (country-wide) datasets it will enable the cost-efficient nature management and monitoring of biodiversity and ecosystems. This requires the processing of LiDAR point clouds using High Performance Computing (HPC) pipelines and parallel and distributed computing on remote (cloud) infrastructures.

Your work will be embedded in the Biogeography & Macroecology (BIOMAC) lab of the Theoretical and Computational Ecology Department at IBED. It will involve collaborations with an international team of researchers across Europe and connect to Dutch biodiversity projects such as LTER-LIFE and the biodiversity monitoring demonstration sites of ARISE.

What are you going to do?
You will advance and upscale the automated calculation of habitat condition metrics derived from LiDAR based on country-wide airborne laser scanning surveys or site-specific drone flight campaigns. In this context, you will develop and apply scalable and distributed solutions for LiDAR metric computation and automated workflow deployment in cloud environments. You will produce large-scale (country-wide) data products of habitat condition metrics with high resolution and make them findable and accessible via multiple portals. You will also contribute to webinars and a technical workshop dedicated to train interested stakeholders in using the developed tools.

Tasks and responsibilities:
  • Handling and processing massive LiDAR point clouds derived from country-wide airborne laser scanning surveys or site-specific drone flight campaigns to derive habitat condition metrics;
  • Using (or extending) existing high-throughput workflows (e.g. Laserfarm) and free and open source cross-platform Python tools (e.g. Laserchicken) for the standardized retrieval of vegetation structure metrics;
  • Developing new Jupyter Notebooks for LiDAR habitat condition metrics calculations and automating workflow deployment and efficient computing on remote infrastructures such as LifeWatch ERIC, the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), or public clouds (e.g. Azure and Google);
  • Generating and publishing broad-scale, high resolution datasets of LiDAR habita condition metrics for multiple countries and/ or multiple time periods;
  • Giving lectures and talks and contributing to teaching workshop participants on using the developed tools;
  • Working with ecologists, remote sensing scientists, computer scientists and stakeholders from various research institutes, universities, and nature reserves;
  • Writing publications in peer-reviewed journals to present the scientific results or developed tools;
  • Applying open science principles (e.g. data papers, open source code, metadata specifications).

What do you have to offer?
Your experience and profile:
  • A PhD in LiDAR, remote sensing, physical geography, Earth science, landscape ecology or a closely related field;
  • Interest, passion and experience in using LiDAR data for ecology and biodiversity science;
  • Exceptional quantitative skills and profound experience in processing LiDAR point clouds (e.g. scripting/programming in Python) and handling of remote sensing datasets;
  • Familiarity with Jupyter Notebooks and computational workflows;
  • Experience in High Performance Computing (HPC) processing pipelines and parallel and distributed computing;
  • Willingness to work in a multidisciplinary team (remote sensing, ecology, computer science; software engineering);
  • Proficiency in scientific writing and successful and strong track-record of publications;
  • Ability to speak and communicate in English at an academic level;
  • Ability to work independently and self-motivated;
  • Work experience in a European country.

Our offer
We offer a temporary employment contract for 38 hours per week for a period of 12 months, with the possibility to the extend the contract for another 18 months upon a positive evaluation of your performance. The preferred starting date is as soon as possible.

The gross monthly salary, based on 38 hours per week and dependent on relevant experience, ranges between € 3,226 to € 5,090 (scale 10). This does not include 8% holiday allowance and 8,3% year-end allowance. The UFO profile Researcher, level 4 (Post doc Researcher) is applicable. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Universities of the Netherlands is applicable.

Besides the salary and a vibrant and challenging environment at Science Park we offer you multiple fringe benefits:
  • 232 holiday hours per year (based on fulltime) and extra holidays between Christmas and 1 January;
  • multiple courses to follow from our Teaching and Learning Centre;
  • multiple courses on topics such as leadership for academic staff;
  • multiple courses on topics such as time management, and an online learning platform with 100+ different courses;
  • 7 weeks birth leave (partner leave) with 100% salary;
  • partly paid parental leave;
  • the possibility to set up a workplace at home;
  • a pension at ABP for which UvA pays two third part of the contribution;
  • the possibility to follow courses to learn Dutch;
  • help with registration at UvA- Housing for a studio or small apartment when you’re moving from abroad.

Are you curious to read more about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits, take a look here.

About us
The University of Amsterdam is the Netherlands' largest university, offering the widest range of academic programmes. At the UvA, 30,000 students, 6,000 staff members and 3,000 PhD candidates study and work in a diverse range of fields, connected by a culture of curiosity.

The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 8,000, as well as 1,800 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the functioning of the brain.

The Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics is one of eight research institutes of the Faculty of Science at the University of Amsterdam. The research at IBED aims to unravel how ecosystems function in all their complexity, and how they change due to natural processes and human activities. At its core lies an integrated systems approach to study biodiversity, ecosystems and the environment. IBED adopts this systems approach to ecosystems, addressing abiotic (soil and water quality) and biotic factors (ecology and evolution of plants, animals, and microorganisms), and the interplay between those.

The IBED vision includes research encompassing experimental and theoretical approaches at a wide variety of temporal and spatial scales, i.e. from molecules and microorganisms to patterns and processes occurring at the global scale. The University of Amsterdam has excellent high performance computing facilities. Furthermore, IBED has a dedicated computational support team with specialized knowledge of bioinformatics, (geo)database management and scientific programming. IBED also works with non-academic partners to deliver transdisciplinary science for society.

The position is embedded in the Department of Theoretical and Computational Ecology (TCE) at IBED which focuses on understanding the complexity of ecological systems by using theoretical and advanced computational approaches. A key research focus is to address how organisms cope with changing environmental conditions and how nature and life is distributed across our planet.

Within TCE, the position is embedded in the Biogeography & Macroecology (BIOMAC) lab, a research group which aims to quantify how biodiversity and abiotic components of the Earth system vary across space and time, how they interact, and how responses of species and ecosystems to changing environmental conditions can be predicted and forecasted. The group covers a wide variety of scientific backgrounds, including ecology, data science, conservation science, physical geography, Earth science, and global change biology.

Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.

Any questions?
Do you have any questions or do you require additional information? Please contact:
  • Dr. W. Daniel Kissling Associate Professor of Quantitative Biodiversity Science
  • T: +31 (0)20 525 8423
  • Email:

Job application
If you feel the profile fits you, and you are interested in the job, we look forward to receiving your application. You can apply online via the button below. We accept applications until and including June 16, 2024.

Applications should include the following information (all files besides your cv should be submitted in one single pdf file):
  • a letter of motivation
  • a CV (with the months, not just years, when referring to your education and work experience, names of 2(-3) referees, and a list of publications.

Only complete applications received within the response period via the link below will be considered.

A knowledge security check can be part of the selection procedure.

(for details: National knowledge security guidelines)

We will invite potential candidates for interviews soon after the closing date.

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritize diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

No agencies please.


University of Amsterdam (UvA)


  • Postdoc
  • Natural sciences
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €3226—€5090 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 12998


University of Amsterdam (UvA)

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Science Park 904, 1098XH, Amsterdam

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