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Current NCEO career openings

NCEO Director of Data Assimilation plus 3 PhD Studentship vacancies:

NCEO is seeking a new Director of Data Assimilation. This role will be a permanent substantive Chair in the Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, with the NCEO role attached for an initial period of up to five years.

The NCEO Director of Data Assimilation will lead DA activities in the multi-centre UK National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO) as the Director of the DA Division. This will include: Driving forward the NCEO programme in DA to improve environmental modelling and better exploit satellite observations of the Earth through long-term sustained research. Working with the NCEO Director and as a member of the Executive Team to shape, deliver and grow a successful National Capability which is valuable to the research community, government and industry. Supervising (or co-supervising) established NCEO researchers in DA at Reading, and work nationally with NCEO DA staff at other institutions in a visioning, collaborative and supportive leadership role.

Successful candidates will have:

An outstanding research reputation, appropriate for a professorial appointment, as evidenced by publication track record, grant capture, and typical esteem indicators such as invitations to speak, membership of relevant committees and panels, and so on.

Excellent knowledge and experience of data assimilation techniques applied in environmental sciences.

Ability to work and lead developments within the University setting and more widely, including management of complex interlocking demands and priorities.

Details and how to apply are here
Closing Date – 31st July 2018

The interviews are expected to take place in September 2018.


PhD in Machine Learning and Earth Observation Data Analysis within an African Crop Pest Risk Information Service.

A 5-year multi-million pound project funded by the International Partnership Program of the UK Space Agency is currently working to create a Pest Risk Information Service (PRISE) to help reduce yield losses to crop pests and diseases in Africa farming. This system will use Earth Observation, meteorological and in situ data to provide real-time pest risk forecasts to smallholder farmers, helping them take preventive action and increase resilience to pest outbreaks. The core of the PRISE system is a series of biological models of pest development driven by satellite Earth Observation, and the PhD will explore the potential utilization of machine learning within the these and will test whether they may perform better than bio-physical and statistical modelling. The project is a case studentship between King’s College London and Assimila Ltd and the student will also receive regular input from CABI who are the partners with responsibility for the biological models of pest development. In addition to satellite remote sensing, machine learning and modelling skills, fieldwork and travel to a number of African countries working with PRISE will be a significant component of this PhD.
CASE partner: Assimila Ltd (UK SME in Reading). CABI will also be a non-CASE partner.
Main supervisor: Prof. Martin Wooster (Dept of Geography, King’s College London)

More details are here

2 PhD studentships at the Centa Doctoral Training Partnership:

Crop health monitoring from advanced airborne hyperspectral sensing – University of Leicester – Professor Hartmut Boesch

High Resolution Thermal Imaging Data for Earth Observation Research and Services – University of Leicester – Professor John Remedios

Temperature is a fundamental property of the Earth. Its change is understood by all to be a key metric of change in the Earth system, e.g. climate trends. What is equally apparent in scientific research is that the temperature of the land surface is an important driver across a wide range of interesting environmental science from forestry to agriculture and from hydrology to urban sustainability. At the forefront of world research, there is an increasing focus on the significant opportunity to transform satellite remote sensing of land surface temperature (LST) in which our research group plays a leading role.

This project will develop new methods to study the changing temperature of the Earth’s surface, targeting particularly the major challenge, recognised by environmental scientists and international space agencies, of capturing LST at both local (100 metres or less) and regional/continental scales consistently. Relating these data to the needs of rapidly changing human population and activities provides an integral backdrop to the project acknowledging the role of LST change in both rural and city-scale environments.

The project proceeds in two main parts: one part concerns novel determination of LST and application of it through data analysis to key case study regions; the second concerns the folding of results into the design of new thermal infra-red instrumentation for satellites in collaboration with our CASE partner, Airbus.

A key to progressing our ability to obtain LST at the 100 m scale is to develop methods which determine the two physical parameters of land surface temperature (LST) and emissivity simultaneously, with quality and precision. We can then apply these data to the huge thermal datasets produced by satellite sensors operating in space now and in the near future. Examples of current instruments include ASTER, MODIS, Seviri, SLSTR which will be joined in the near future by Hyspiri on the International Space Station. Mathematical techniques, including artificial intelligence (AI), will be applied to relevant instruments such as ASTER and Hyspiri, to generate novel data sets.

The beauty of being able to derive precise LST is that the algorithms used to do this, if designed correctly, can also be used to study the essential characteristics of future instruments and to guide trade-off choices in their design. Furthermore, similar techniques can also be used to investigate potentially autonomous and intelligent operations, e.g. the targeting of observations from space. Working with our CASE partner, Airbus, the student will ensure a close connection between environmental science and space mission development. A particularly important aspect is the so-called Sentinel-8 mission being studied in the UK and elsewhere. World-wide, there is a huge interest in new LST sensors!

Partners and collaboration (including CASE)
This project will be a cooperation between the National Centre for Earth Observation team (NCEO; www.nceo.ac.uk) at the University of Leicester and Airbus UK who have offered to provide CASE support for this studentship. This includes funding for periods of time when the student will work at the premises of Airbus in Stevenage. The partnership between NCEO, Leicester and Airbus is long-standing; all three organisations have extensive experience of Earth Observation (EO) and are recognised internationally for their capabilities. Working with Airbus will give the student an excellent opportunity to work in an industrial organisation with high professional competence.

Further Details
Professor Remedios is Director of NCEO which is a national centre funded by NERC and distributed across key Earth Observation (EO) groups at Universities and research laboratories. The student will have a chance to be part of a national EO community complementing the environmental science focus of Centa. This project would be supported by NERC through funds associated with the UK government’s Industrial Strategy.

Closing date 13th July

For more information and to apply click here