Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Open PhD position: Remote sensing of land cover / land use change for soil monitoring (iMSoil-2013-01)

Within the Swiss National Research Programme NRP 68 (Sustainable Use of Soil as a Resource), we are looking to fill a PhD position within the approved project ‘Integrated modelling framework to monitor and predict trends of agricultural management and their impact on soil functions at multiple scales’ (iMSoil). The aim of iMSoil is to develop and implement an integrated modeling framework as an extended soil monitoring tool for soil nutrients and pollutants in Switzerland. This enables detection and prediction of trends in land use change, agricultural management and their impact on soil functions at multiple scales.

We therefore invite applications for a PhD position in the area of remote sensing of land-cover / land-use change for soil monitoring.

The remote sensing component of the project quantifies land-cover and land-use change in Switzerland. It uses combined and integrated approaches based on spatial, temporal and spectral observations to physically assess quantitative changes of relevant soils. The results will be used in an integrated modelling framework to improve the spatial and temporal accuracy of model predictions for nutrients and pollutant cycling in Swiss agro-ecosystems and soils.

The successful applicant will be based in Zurich and working for both, the University of Zurich (UZH – and Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon Research Station (ART – Supervision will be through Michael Schaepman, Rogier de Jong (UZH) and Armin Keller (ART). 

Upon start, applicants must have a completed masters degree in (Environmental) Physics, Environmental Science, Soil Science, or Geography, preferably with a certain degree of specialization in remote sensing of land cover change or using physically based remote sensing approaches. Applicants must be able to pursue data-oriented computational research as well as experimental approaches and fieldwork to validate model predictions. Good numerical skills and literacy in programming is an asset. A good standard of written and spoken English is required. The position may start as of May 1, 2013 (or as soon as possible thereafter) and is limited to 3+1 years. Salaries correspond to the Swiss National Science Foundation regulations of PhD salaries.

We are looking for a highly motivated, enthusiastic and independent person with a passion for quantitative science to join our team. We offer outstanding working conditions, a high quality of life in Zurich, and an excellent supporting environment.

Please send your application (including position reference ‘iMSoil-2013-01’) as one single PDF file (motivation letter, complete CV, and names of 2 references) to, no later than March 25, 2013. For further questions, please contact

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