Doctoral Researcher (PhD Candidate) in Remote Sensing for Regenerative Agriculture in East Africa
The University of Helsinki is among the leading multidisciplinary research universities in the world. In addition to its 11 faculties, the University includes several independent institutes, some of which are jointly operated with other universities. Some 35,000 students are currently pursuing an undergraduate or a postgraduate degree at the University of Helsinki.
Measured in number of students and teachers, the Faculty of Science at the University of Helsinki is the largest science faculty in Finland. There are some 6,000 students taking a basic degree. Out of them, some 1,000 are postgraduates. There are some 500 international students, and over 200 researchers and teachers from abroad.
We are looking for a highly motivated Doctoral researcher (PhD candidate) to join remote sensing group at Earth Change Laboratory (ECHOLAB). The post is located at the Department of Geosciences and Geography, at Faculty of Science. Research at the Department of Geosciences and Geography spans all of Earth, from the glaciers in Antarctica to bustling metropolises. Earth and its changes throughout time are studied, for example, through the regional differentiation of cities and states, long-term environmental changes, tectonics and the structure and development of the planet.
We are recruiting a Doctoral Researcher, who will be part of the international research team working on Regenerative agricultural systems for climate resilience in agroecological gradient in East Africa (REACT) project funded by Academy of Finland.
REACT aims to develop new knowledge on water, soil, biodiversity, and land management to improve resource use efficiency for regenerative smallholder agricultural systems in different agroecological zones in Kenya. We develop research-based measures with local agricultural stakeholders to enhance the climate resilience of cropping systems. The project will contribute to this systemic change by identifying efficient adoptable pathways to improve plant water availability and stable soil organic carbon sequestration for improved water retention in variable conditions. This targets to ensure long term productive and resilient regenerative farming systems for maintaining food security whilst operating within current and future environmental limits under climate change.
Remote sensing research in REACT aims to provide new insights on the feasibility of Earth observation data to characterize smallholder cropping systems, particularly related to regenerative agriculture, which is crucial for developing spatial indicators for improved planning and monitoring of management interventions.
The Doctoral Researcher will be employed for four years at the University of Helsinki. In addition to conducting research and writing the PhD thesis, Doctoral Researcher complete a study program equivalent to 40 ECTS in the Doctoral Programme in Atmospheric Sciences (https://www.helsinki.fi/en/research/doctoral-education/doctoral-schools-and-programmes/doctoral-school-in-natural-sciences/doctoral-programme-in-atmospheric-sciences). Typical time to complete PhD at University of Helsinki is four years.
The objective of PhD project is to develop remote sensing methods for classifying smallholder cropping systems, and targeting, evaluating and scaling-up interventions on regenerative agriculture. You will perform field studies and biophysical measurements in Kenya, conduct satellite image time series analyses for the study sites in different agroecological zones, and use machine learning methods for data analysis. University of Helsinki has a research station in the Taita Hills, Kenya (https://blogs.helsinki.fi/taita-research-station/), which serve as a logistic base for the field studies in the area.
Requirements and eligibility criteria
- M.Sc. in a suitable field, such as geography, agricultural sciences, geoinformatics, remote sensing, or equivalent. Successful candidate is assumed to have previous experience on use of remote sensing data.
- Demonstrated capacity in data analysis
- Experience in carrying out research independently and working in a team
- Excellent written and oral communication skills in English
- Good time management and project management skills
The requirements for conducting a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki can be found at: https://www.helsinki.fi/en/research/doctoral-education/eligibility-and-educational-documents. The researcher must not be already in possession of a doctoral degree at the date of the recruitment. Researchers who have successfully defended their doctoral thesis but who have not yet formally been awarded the doctoral degree will not be considered eligible. Salary and benefits
Salary and benefits
The salary is based on the salary system of Finnish universities. The starting gross salary of a Doctoral Researcher is typically about 2 200 – 2 400 € per month, and raises gradually as the PhD work progresses (i.e., after initiation of publishing and after reaching the midpoint of the experimental work required for the doctoral degree, judged by the supervisor who estimates the proximity of the public defense).
The University of Helsinki invests in the welfare of its employees by offering preventative occupational health services and general medical care. Read more about the employee benefits at the University of Helsinki and why the University of Helsinki is an excellent career choice: https://www.helsinki.fi/en/about-us/careers
How to apply
Please submit your application via our recruitment system latest 6 September 2022. The starting date of the positions is 1 October 2022, or as agreed. Questions of the positions should be addressed to University Researcher Janne Heiskanen (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The application should include
- a motivation letter, including brief overview of past research and other experience supporting completion of the PhD degree (max 1 page)
- a complete CV with full contact details, education/previous degrees obtained, prior work/research experience, and list of possible publications and theses with links to their online versions (if available)
- copy/copies of the diploma(s) of previous degree(s)
- contact information of one or more previous supervisors, employers, or other references
The University of Helsinki welcomes applicants from a variety of gender identities, and linguistic and cultural backgrounds.