Postdoctoral Researcher in the Retrievals of Soil Moisture

Aberystwyth University - Department of Geography & Earth Sciences

(Full time and Fixed term for 2 years)

To promote a flexible workforce, the University will consider applications from individuals seeking full time, part time, job share, or term time only working arrangements.

We are seeking to appoint a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Retrievals of Soil Moisture (SM) from Earth Observation (EO) datasets to join the team of an international collaborative project involving academic institutes from UK and China, bringing together expertise in earth observation modelling, soil moisture monitoring, agricultural technology and autonomous robots. The project is funded by UK Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC).

The project seeks to develop agri-tech solutions to help alleviate the issue of water management in agriculture through development of a system for accurately measuring soil moisture distribution across a field. The project will deploy new soil moisture sensors based on measuring properties of fast neutrons (cosmic-ray sensors). A mesh of static sensors will be deployed to provide large scale measurements whilst a mobile sensor will be deployed on a bespoke autonomous vehicle to measure soil moisture variation within a field.

This Postdoctoral Research is focussed on the area of satellite-derived SM retrievals. Primary tasks for the post holder include the spatio-temporal retrievals of soil moisture from satellite sensors (mainly SAR and in particular Sentinel-1). The project will further investigate cutting-edge research topics around the satellite-derived SM retrievals such as the synergies of SAR data with optical sensors (e.g. Sentinel-3), existing SM operational products (e.g. the one from ASCAT or SMOS) and/or land biosphere models. Ground observations of SM as well as of other relevant parameters acquired from operational validated networks at different ecosystem regions from in-situ observational networks will be used for validating the satellite-derived estimates. In addition, other relevant satellite products will be used in validating the derived SM maps.

This position offers the opportunity to engage in international collaboration within an ambitious team, to work with state-of-the-art hardware and software, and to benefit from excellent support to produce and disseminate original research contributions. In addition, opportunities for teaching at University modules as part of candidate professional development will be discussed. You should possess a PhD or equivalent in Earth Observation, Computer Science, Engineering or related subjects. They will have excellent skills in programming and systems integration (particularly in C++, Java, Python). Experience in areas including (but not limited to) data assimilation methods in SM retrievals, development of EO software tools, operational products development or benchmarking, High Performance Computing (HPC), sensor fusion, land biosphere models would also be an advantage. Evidence of authorship of research outputs of international standing is essential, as is the ability to work collaboratively as part of a team, including excellent communication skills.

The full-time position is available for a 24 months appointment (subject to satisfactory progress review which will be conducted in month 10 of the post), starting in late autumn 2016.

Potential applicants wishing to discuss the post informally may contact Dr. George P. Petropoulos (; +44-0-1970-621861).

Closing Date: Midnight, 30 October 2016

Interview Date: 14th of November 2016

For information and application forms please go to

We are a Bilingual Institution which operates a Welsh Language scheme and is committed to Equal Opportunities.

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