6-month Postdoc position at University of Geneva

Are you an Environmental/Land Change specialist, Remote Sensing specialist, computer scientist or data scientist with Remote Sensing skills? Do you thrive in an interdisciplinary environment? Are you excited to explore new research areas at the interface of Environmental and Computer Sciences? Are you a proactive learner with a computational background?

If so, this Postdoc position is for you!

Important: this is a 6-month position from July to December 2019

The Institute for Environmental Sciences (ISE) and the Informatic Department of the University of Geneva together with UN Environment/GRID-Geneva invites applications for a Postdoc to be part of the Swiss Data Cube team, an interdisciplinary research project within ISE research Hub “Digital Sciences for Environment and Health”.

The specific objective of this Postdoc position concerns Land Change Science and how Earth Observations (EO) can be used to monitor and assess environmental changes and support sustainable development. In particular, we wish to explore how remotely-sensed EO data together with machine and/or deep-learning techniques can be used to generate enhanced land cover maps at a national scale.

TheSwiss Data Cube (SDC – http://www.swissdatacube.ch) is an innovative analytical cloud-computing platform allowing users the access, analysis and visualization of 35 years of optical (e.g., Sentinel-2; Landsat 5, 7, 8) and radar (e.g., Sentinel-1) satellite Earth Observation (EO) Analysis Ready Data. Importantly, the SDC minimizes the time and scientific knowledge required for national-scale analyses of large volumes of consistently calibrated and spatially aligned satellite observations.

Currently, the official source of LC/LU information (Arealstatistik) is produced, every 6-12 years, by visual interpretation of aerial photos and assigning a LC and a LU category to each sample point from a regular 100m grid cell.  Even if this data set is useful, thanks to its thematic richness, neither the reduced spatial resolution, nor the update frequency allows providing accurate and timely information to better understand the dynamic of LC/LU changes and their impact on ecosystem across the country. Efficient and effective LC/LU change and projections require higher spatial (i.e. 30m) and temporal (i.e., yearly) data products to build consistent time-series. Remotely-sensed Earth Observations (EO) acquired by satellites, since 1972, can be a reliable source for gathering effective LC/LU information. However, At the national scale, various attempts have been done to use satellite imagery but no mechanisms are currently routinely generating accurate, consistent and regular LC/LU data. These large volumes of freely and openly available EO data are still underutilized and not effectively used for national environmental monitoring. Therefore, mapping and monitoring LC/LU changes remains a challenge that is not adequately addressed at the national scale. The aim of this research position is to start developing new methodologies for the automatic production of consistent and reliable yearly, medium-to-high resolution (spatial, temporal, thematic) time-series of LC/LU data and its (future) change across Switzerland so as to inform national and regional environmental policies and planning.

Candidates who bring onboard innovative directions of research, particularly by using new tools, methods and approaches (e.g. machine learning and Artificial Intelligence, advanced statistical and modelling approaches) are particularly encouraged to apply.

We are looking for a highly motivated, independent person, keen to develop new computational/statistical/remote sensing techniques at the interface of Environmental and Computer Sciences. We offer outstanding working conditions in Geneva, in close proximity to International (UN Environment, …) and Federal (e.g., FOEN) Organizations . You will be under the supervision of Prof. Bastien Chopard (Computer Department) and Dr. Gregory Giuliani (Institute for Environmental Sciences & UN Environment/GRID-Geneva). You will collaborate closely with other research groups, notably the EnviroSPACE Lab (headed by Prof. Anthony Lehmann) at ISE.

This Postdoc position is funded for 6-month period through core funding of UNIGE, Faculty of Science, Computer Department. The salary is commensurate with the pay scale of the University of Geneva.
Starting date: July 1st, 2019

You are required to have completed (by the time of Postdoc start) a PhD level degree in a relevant field such as Remote Sensing/geomatics, computer/data science. Experience with research in remote sensing is an asset. Programming skills are considered a strong asset. You will also have a good standard of written and spoken English, with French as a plus. To apply, send your curriculum vitae with a motivation letter, your academic transcripts, and the contact details of two referees in a single PDF document to Prof. Bastien Chopard <bastien.chopard@unige.ch> and Dr. Gregory Giuliani <gregory.giuliani@unige.ch>, by 20 June 2019.