Are you a motivated and curious individual with a strong interest in remote sensing, urban analytics, urban green space, and urban heat islands? Do you have an MSc degree in geography, environmental science, urban studies, or a similar relevant field, and are you proficient in programming with R/Python and/or GEE? Then we have the perfect opportunity for you!

The Laboratory of Geo-information Science and Remote Sensing (GRS) at Wageningen University is looking for an aspiring PhD to investigate the impact of urban form on vegetation fragmentation, urban heat islands and population well-being.

We start developing an urban standard using the rich datasets available in the Netherlands, before expanding to a global urban study. As a PhD researcher you will:

  • Work together with an interdisciplinary team of experts in remote sensing, statistics, and economics.
  • Quantify built environment and vegetation metrics (in 3D) of the landscape to represent urban morphology and link these metrics with population health and well-being, as well as vegetation health.
  • Investigate scaling relationships, incorporating building heights and density, in relation to the urban heat islands and urban tree cover.

This research will contribute to a better understanding of scaling relationships in urban environments and the influence of urban form on population well-being under a globally changing climate.

The research is hosted within the Laboratory for Geo-information Science and Remote Sensing, and will be supervised by prof. dr. Kirsten de Beurs. This PhD programme is also a part of PE & RC, a collaborative research and PhD training institute coordinated by Wageningen University (WU). Central focus of the collaboration is the PhD programme that is embedded in a coherent and productive research environment that aims to perform academic research of the highest quality.

Your qualities; As a PhD researcher you must have:

  • A completed (or about to be completed) MSc degree in geography, environmental science, urban studies, or a similar relevant field;
  • Strong interest in or related experience in using urban-focused remotely sensed images in space and time;
  • Proficiency in programming, preferably with R/Python and/or GEE;
  • Excellent English language skills;
  • Motivation, curiosity, and willingness to work in a highly dynamic team;
  • Meet all the entry requirements of the WUR PE&RC PhD programme;

This position is available from August 2023, with a duration of four years. Strong candidates that will graduate before September 2023 are encouraged to apply too.

We offer you:

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:

  • study leave, and partially paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional compensation / holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.

In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team.

The gross salary for the first year is € 2.541,- per month rising to € 3.247,- in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale P). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months, which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well.

There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere. You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the “ Best University ” in the Netherlands for the 18th consecutive time.

Coming from abroad: Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer for international employees. Our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.

Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen University & Research’s International Community page contains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen.

Do you want more information? For more information about this position, please contact prof. dr. Kirsten de Beurs, Professor of Remote Sensing, by email: For more information about the procedure, please contact Noorien Abbas, Corporate Recruiter, by

Do you want to apply? You can apply directly by uploading your CV and motivation letter using the apply button on the vacancy page on our website, which will allow us to process your personal information with your approval. This vacancy will be listed up to and including July 31st 2023. We aim to schedule the first job interviews in the middle of August ’23.

Equal opportunities: Wageningen University & Research (WUR) employs a large number of people with very different backgrounds and qualities, who inspire and motivate each other. We want every talent to feel at home in our organisation and be offered the same career opportunities. We therefore especially welcome applications from people who are underrepresented at WUR.

Wageningen University & Research: The mission of Wageningen University & Research is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment.

With its roughly 30 branches, 7,200 employees (6,400 fte) and 13,200 students and over 150.000 participants to WUR’s Life Long Learning, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. The unique Wageningen approach lies in its integrated approach to issues and the collaboration between different disciplines.

Apply now

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