The University of Cordoba (Universidad de Córdoba in Spanish or UCO) dates back to the Andalusian region’s Moorish roots. It started off as the Universidad Libre de Córdoba (the Free University) in 1868, made up of the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of the Law. However, it was eventually replaced by the University of Cordoba and was chartered in 1972.

It now offers undergraduate and postgraduate studies with a focus on humanities, health sciences and physical sciences. Renowned for its natural and health sciences courses especially, it offers degrees in nursing and medicine that are closely tied with the Reina Sofia University Hospital.

There are three main campus sites: the Humanities and Legal and Social Sciences Campus, which is integrated in the urban centre; the Health Sciences Campus, in the west of the city; and the Agrifood, Science and Technology campus of Rabanales, in the east of the city.

PhD position at University of Cordoba, Spain:

Topic: Monitoring and Diagnosing Forest Decline in Broadleaf Species with Remote Sensing

Organisation: Department of Forestry Engineering, University of Cordoba

Research Field: Forestry or Agricultural Science, Remote Sensing, Data Science, Computer Science, Mathematics, Biology, Geography, Environmental Science, Ecology or closely related discipline.

Application deadline: 17/09/2022

Job status: Full-time employment contract to pursue a PhD. This contract covers a gross monthly salary of 1572.30 euros for three years.

Start date: 1/12/2022

Project description: Forest decline, a worldwide phenomenon for decades, has devastating consequences for the economy and the environment. It has been mostly attributed to the combined effects of abiotic and biotic stress. In many cases, trees die within one year after the symptoms are visible. Thus, it is essential to detect decline as early as possible. Furthermore, detecting the first signs of decline and understanding the driver factors would enable us to apply effective management practices, such as phytosanitary treatments, culling, or clearance of affected trees.

One approach has been proposed: forest functional plant traits (PT) alterations respond quickly to stress and can, therefore, provide key early warnings of catastrophic changes that cause irreversible damage. However, the testing of this approach is severely hampered by the need to quantify PTs from spectral data. And this is not a straightforward task since the interpretation of spectral data from forest canopies is highly affected by the confounding effects of variations in vegetation structure, understory and soil composition. Thus, PTs’ specific and temporary response to each type of stressor remains largely unknown, limiting their current use in early decline detection worldwide.

This project will exploit a powerful new approach to assess the PT alterations related to the joint interaction between biotic and abiotic sources of stress and will reveal ground-breaking information to understand the underlying triggers in the abiotic and biotic stressors interaction driving forest decline and the early prediction of forest health conditions. Results will provide a new framework urgently needed to determine the most effective strategies to prevent global forest susceptibility and tree mortality.

  • REQUIRED EDUCATION LEVEL Other: Master Degree or equivalent


Candidates must normally hold an undergraduate degree plus a recognised master’s degree in Forestry or Agricultural Science, Remote Sensing, Data Science, Computer Science, Mathematics, Biology, Physical Geography, Environmental Science, Ecology or closely related discipline.

This scholarship is open to candidates of any nationality.

Specific Requirements

Applications are open to highly motivated and independent students from any country with a background in environmental and natural science, remote sensing, statistical analysis, programming, field data, lab work and modelling.

Other Skills

Self-learner, self-motivated, curious, and team worker;

Fluency in English, spoken and written

Analytical approach

Problem-solving skills

Communication and Building Effective Relationship

Knowledge Sharing and Continuous Improvement

How to apply: Applicants must send the documents described below.

-Curriculum vitae (CV)

-Motivation letter

-Two reference letters

Informal inquiries before the deadline are welcome by emailing the project supervisor.

Where to send the application: Rocío Hernández-Clemente,

Application deadline: 17/09/2022

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