PhD in InSAR slope monitoring

Project title: The use of InSAR for evaluating the condition of infrastructure slopes

Supervision team: Shane Donohue and Eoghan Holohan (University College Dublin, UCD)

Project description:

Geotechnical infrastructure slopes are an essential part of the transportation and flood defence networks that require sustainable, cost-effective management, while maintaining an appropriate service level to meet social, economic and environmental needs. Recent extreme weather has highlighted their vulnerability to climate variations, with the resulting slope failures severely impacting transportation users and operators, and the wider economy. As these variations are projected to become more extreme, climate resilient infrastructure is becoming an increasingly important national priority.

Recent advances in multi-temporal, Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) techniques, have enabled ground motion monitoring using satellites with previously unachievable accuracy. This project will apply satellite based ground motion monitoring to assess pre-failure movement trends of critical geotechnical infrastructure slopes in Ireland and the UK. This data, in combination with other geotechnical, geophysical and geological data, will be used to develop models of slope failure on a network scale.

Position Description: This is a four-year full-time PhD position that is funded by Science Foundation Ireland, Geological Survey of Ireland and the Environmental Protection Agency under the SFI Frontiers for the Future Programme. The PhD stipend is €18,500 per annum, with a contribution to EU fees of €5,500 per annum. The successful candidate will be based in the School of Civil Engineering, University College Dublin.

Candidate Experience:

Essential criteria:

  • The candidate should have a Masters degree in a project-related discipline (e.g. geophysics, geotechnical engineering, geology, geoinformatics, data analytics, etc.).
  • Experience in processing and/or analysing satellite remote-sensing data, especially InSAR data.

Desirable criteria

  • Experience in use of commercial InSAR processing software (E.g. Gamma, SARscape, SARproz).
  • Skills and experience in programming and in use of scripting software (e.g. Python).
  • Ability to quickly develop related research skills and knowledge.
  • Driving license

Application: Please e-mail a CV (max. 2 pages) and a cover letter (max. 1 page) outlining your experience and motivation to Assoc. Prof. Shane Donohue ( The deadline for applications is the 30th September 2020 at 17.00. Intended start date is 1st January 2021.

posted: 27 August 2020     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.