PhD in Civil Engineering and Geosciences - Mapping, Monitoring and Characterising Landslides with Satellite Radar and Optical Observations

Newcastle University

Value of award

100% tuition fees at the UK/EU rate and an annual stipend of £14,553 (2017-18). 

Number of awards


Start date and duration

September 2017 for 3 years.


Landslides represent one of the major natural hazards faced by society and can be triggered by a range of factors including earthquakes, rainfall and water level changes.

The principal aims of this project are therefore: (i) to develop satellite radar/optical image processing methodologies appropriate for landslide detection and mapping, (ii) to monitor and characterise active landslides, and (iii) to evaluate the potential of SAR for the assessment of future landslide hazard. It provides an exciting framework to develop tools that will be of great benefit to society and will enable the successful candidate to work in a rapidly developing scientific environment. There are great opportunities to collaborate with research colleagues in one of our current areas of interest, focusing on East and South Asia, e.g. China, India and Nepal. The specific objectives of this studentship can be refined according to the student’s background and interests.

This studentship is jointly funded by the NERC Centre for the Observation and Modelling of Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Tectonics (COMET) and British Geological Survey (BGS). The student will be hosted with in the Geomatics research group in the School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences at Newcastle University and the Earth Observation group at BGS. The student will benefit from the shared expertise of Geosciences staff in several research institutions, and will attend regular meetings where the research of these various groups is presented and discussed. There will be opportunity to travel to national and international scientific meetings to present research results, and we aim to see all students publish 2-3 papers in leading scientific journals during their PhD. Upon completion, the student will be well equipped for a career in academia or industry.

For further details, please contact:


Centre for the Observation and Modelling for Earthquakes and Tectonics (COMET) and British Geological Society (BGS)

Name of supervisor(s)

Professor Zhenhong Li, School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Newcastle University plus Dr Colm Jordan and Dr Tom Dijkstra (BGS)

Eligibility Criteria

We are looking for students with a quantitative background (remote sensing, geophysics, physics, mathematics, engineering, geomatics/geo-informatics) with an interest in Earth Sciences and Natural Hazards. The funding is for UK/EU applicants only.

How to apply

All applicants should complete the University’s online postgraduate application form. Only mandatory fields need to be completed. However, you will need to include the following information:

  • Insert the programme code 8040F in the programme of study section
  • Select ‘PhD School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences (Geomatics)’ as the programme of study.
  • Insert the studentship code CI736 in the studentship/partnership reference field
  • Attach a covering letter and CV. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship and quote reference number CI736.
  • In addition to a CV and covering letter, the applicant is requested to email the supervisor a research proposal (maximum 3 pages).


For further details, please email Professor Zhenhong Li.

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Northern England