At the Institute of Bio- and Geosciences – Agrosphere (IBG-3) we conduct research to improve our understanding of biogeochemical and hydrological processes in terrestrial systems. A combination of experiments, modelling and innovative observation technologies is used to bridge the gap between model, process and management scale. Its research contributes to the sustainable and resource-conserving use of soils and water and to the quantification of the effect of climate and land use change on terrestrial ecosystems. We offer a competent and interdisciplinary working environment, as well as an excellent framework in the areas of experiments and modelling.

The monitoring of water, heat and carbon exchange between plants and the atmosphere provides important early warning information for agricultural management during extreme events, such as heatwaves. The AgroC crop growth model simulates gross primary productivity (GPP) and net ecosystem exchange (NEE) using gap-filled meteorological data, measured/reported plant specific parameters and soil characteristics. In an available coupled mode with SCOPE, AgroC can assess carbon and water related plant fluxes as well as sun-induced fluorescence. However, there is a potential to exploit remote sensing spectral data to full extent if AgroC is coupled properly to leaf and canopy radiative transfer models (RTM). This also enables AgroC to forward simulate optical spectra, including sun-induced chlorophyll fluorescence (SIF).

The approach not only facilitates the quantification water and carbon budgets, but also further assist in tracking the net radiation partitioning into soil evaporation, canopy transpiration and photosynthesis, which is highly relevant for the accurate representation in climate and crop models. In this framework we are seeking for a PostDoc and a PhD Student, whereas the PostDoc will work on RTM, coupling the RTM to AgroC, and model inversion techniques and the PhD Student will work on crop parameter estimation using Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) observations and investigating the relationship between optical/thermal data and vegetation fluxes.

Your tasks in detail as a PhD student in remote sensing of ecosystem functioning:

  • Drone based monitoring of agricultural fields and data processing, an automated drone system is available for this purpose
  • Use AgroC/RTM model to describe relationships between plant parameters and remote sensing observations
  • Apply machine learning techniques to accelerate plant monitoring for future near real-time decision support
  • Contribute to an international research team, publish in international journals and present results at international conferences

Your Profile:

  • University (MSc) degree in either biology, geosciences, remote sensing, computer science, physics or applied mathematics
  • Knowledge in the areas of plant science, remote sensing, hydrology, soil sciences
  • Demonstrated programming skills with Python, R and/or Fortran
  • Ability to work independently as well as collaboratively in an international, interdisciplinary team across institutes, very good communication and organizational skills
  • Very good command of the English language
  • Willingness and ability to perform field work

Our Offer:

We work on the very latest issues that impact our society and are offering you the chance to actively help in shaping the change! We offer ideal conditions for you to complete your doctoral degree:

  • Vibrant international and interdisciplinary work environment on an attractive research campus, ideally situated between the cities of Cologne, Düsseldorf, and Aachen
  • Attendance at national and international conferences and workshops
  • Possibility for further scientific and technical training through international experts
  • Further development of your personal strengths, e.g. through an extensive range of training courses; a structured program of continuing education and networking opportunities specifically for doctoral researchers via JuDocS, the Jülich Center for Doctoral Researchers and Supervisors
  • Targeted services for international employees, e.g. through our International Advisory Service
  • The employment of doctoral researchers at Jülich is governed by a doctoral contract, which usually has a term of three years. Pay is in line with 75% of pay group 13 of the Collective Agreement for the Public Service (TVöD-Bund) and additionally 60 % of a monthly salary as special payment („Christmas bonus“). Further information on doctoral degrees at Forschungszentrum Jülich including
  • We welcome applications from people with diverse backgrounds, e.g. in terms of age, gender, disability, sexual orientation / identity, and social, ethnic and religious origin. A diverse and inclusive working environment with equal opportunities in which everyone can realize their potential is important to us.

Apply now

We look forward to receiving your application by 30.9.2022

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