Applicants are invited for a PhD fellowship/scholarship at Graduate School of Technical Sciences, Aarhus University, Denmark, within the Agroecology programme. The position is available from 1 April 2023 or earliest possible thereafter. Title: PhD position in assimilating remote-sensing data into agroecosystem model

Research area and project description:
Department of Agroecology at Aarhus University, Denmark, is offering a PhD position in integrating remote-sensing data and process-based agroecosystem modelling, starting 01-04-2023 or earliest possible thereafter. The position is available for a 3-year period.

Food security, climate change and loss of biodiversity represent three of today’s major environmental sustainability challenges. Finding solutions to these challenges requires studies that extend across multiple spatial and temporal scales. The Pioneer Center Land-CRAFT was established in June 2022 to undertake fundamental and applied research that addresses these issues. The center brings together experts on climate impact research and process-based modelling of biogeochemistry, agronomy, biology and geography from Aarhus University and University of Copenhagen, as well as international partners. Field experiments, digital technologies — including modelling and remote sensing, as well as interactions with stakeholders are key components of Land-CRAFT.

The successful candidate will work on a project exploring innovative techniques for directly using remote sensing data in a data-fusion framework to improve our capability of simulating carbon, nitrogen, and water fluxes in agroecosystem modeling routines from site to landscape scale (with special focus on Danish agricultural systems), while at the same time making the research more directly relevant to decision making (via a decision support tool).

You will use the framework iteratively through multiple rounds of the model- data feedback loop for better simulating the yield as well as environmental impacts of different management practices, specifically regarding soil N2O emissions and impacts on soil C changes, and for developing automated modelling forecasts that continuously integrate new observations.

A key focus is to seamlessly integrate satellite-derived data as inputs and drivers of models, e.g. information on crop performance, crop rotations, field management etc., and to use this information to iteratively improve crop simulations and, if possible, soil parameterization, i.e. parameters used to describe crop growth, plant nutrient and water uptake or soil water content. Performing such advanced simulations will allow to make models ready for real time site simulations for field sites as well as to scales of farms to agricultural landscapes. 

Qualifications and specific competences:
We are searching for a highly motivated candidate who has:

  • A MSc relevant to modelling in agricultural or biological sciences,
  • Experience and skills in programming languages (e.g. Python/R) and analytical skills in model evaluation (strongly preferred), as well as experience with remote-sensing satellite data handling (advantage),
  • An interest in data assimilation,
  • Basic knowledge in agronomy and remote sensing,
  • An ability and interest to collaborate across disciplinary boundaries, and will be an active part of the research environment across campus sites and universities,
  • An interest in sustainable agriculture and motivation to contribute to green transition,
  • An ability to communicate effectively in English, and will contribute to dissemination, teaching, and reporting research results in high-impact scientific journals,
  • Good scientific and technical writing skills,
  • Collaborative and interpersonal skills, and will contribute positively to the social working environment.

Place of employment and place of work:
The place of employment is Aarhus University, and the place of work is Land-CRAFT, C.F. Møllers Alle 4, 8000 Aarhus C

Applicants seeking further information are invited to contact:

How to apply:
Please follow this link to submit your application. Application deadline is 30 January 2023 at 23:59. Preferred starting date is 1 April 2023 or earliest possible thereafter. 

Please note:

  • The programme committee may request further information or invite the applicant to attend an interview.
  • Shortlisting will be used, which means that the evaluation committee only will evaluate the most relevant applications.

Aarhus University’s ambition is to be an attractive and inspiring workplace for all and to foster a culture in which each individual has opportunities to thrive, achieve and develop. We view equality and diversity as assets, and we welcome all applicants. All interested candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of their personal background. Salary and terms of employment are in accordance with applicable collective agreement. 

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