PhD Position in Using Synthetic Aperture Radar and Tomography to Map and Monitor Patterns in Forest Fire Risk
University of Twente Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation

Job description

This PhD research aims to exploit SAR tomography (TomoSAR) to define a new framework for the estimation of forest fuel attributes and fuel maps in forest fire risk areas. It will use Sentinel-1 SAR to investigate deviations of spatio-temporal patterns in canopy moisture. This information is needed by planners, land managers and emergency services. The test site (Gabon) is an area with an increased risk of forest fires. For the fuel maps, the project will evaluate and assess the framework at a local scale using multi-baseline airborne SAR images, which will be processed in order to synthesize 3D data in a TomoSAR configuration. Possibilities and limitations of forest fuel mapping using SAR tomography are identified. The TomoSAR configuration is used for monitoring purposes, using high resolution remote sensing data. The study will include aspects of representativeness, to ensure that the method is robust and can be transferred to other forests. Validation and assessment of tomographic experiments for forest fuel mapping will be performed with existing field data and lidar data. A field visit to collect additional forest data may be included. Future applicability of the developed framework will be in using a new generation of spaceborne SAR sensors and particularly the future NASA-ISRO (NISAR) system.

Your profile

  • You have an MSc degree in the field of Remote Sensing with attention to SAR.
  • You have good knowledge of mathematics, and strong skills in programming (e.g., in Python, R and/or Matlab)
  • 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


Additional information about this position can be obtained from Dr. Hossein Aghababaei, (email:, Dr. Wietske Bijker (email: or Prof. Alfred Stein (email: You are also invited to visit our homepage.

Please submit your application before 15 April 2020 (choose “apply now” below). Your application should include:

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

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 four years. Salary and conditions will be in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement (CAO-NU) of the Dutch Universities.

  • A starting salary of € 2,325.00 in the first year and a salary of € 2,972.00 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.

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.

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