Postdoctoral position - Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, with experience in GIS data integration and spatial statistics

Fields of experience and interest

Physical geography, photogrammetry, remote sensing, GIS, spatial statistics, forestry, forest management, forest sciences, earth sciences, environmental sciences, (geo)ecology


Scientists at ETH's Institute of Terrestrial Ecosystems Research (ITES) work on a multitude of questions aiming to foster the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems and their life-supporting services as challenged by environmental change. The use of remotely sensed data, spatial data analyses, and data integration is therefore an essential part of our research. Our GIS unit focuses on the use of remote sensing technology, photogrammetry, and geospatial data analyses for research and management of terrestrial ecosystems with a particular focus on forest management and (geo)ecology including plant-soil interactions.

Our GIS unit operates under joint leadership of ITES groups Forest Resources Management (Profs. Griess) and Soil Resources (Prof. Doetterl). To augment the unit's strengths in the areas of remote sensing and spatial data analysis we are looking for an outstanding postdoctoral researcher with the according expertise, who is forward thinking in their creative- and scientific agenda, enthusiastically engages with the public and university, and excels in the classroom.

Job Description

As a member of the GIS unit you will spend roughly 40% of your time on teaching, 40% on research, and 20% on administrative aspects related to teaching and research.


You will be responsible to further integrate current research of various ITES unity into our GIS, remote sensing and spatial data curriculum. To achieve this goal, you develop and deliver of a new graduate level (MSc) course focusing on remote sensing, spatial data analysis and statistics, and optimisation. The course will be first taught in spring 2023. With our graduate students enrolled in the Master's program "Environmental Sciences" - and specifically those majoring in "Forest and Landscape Management" - in mind, you will design and teach a course that will ensure that graduates get in touch with the most recent scientific advancements in the field.

Additionally, you will mentor and work with student researchers, and contribute to the successful delivery of existing courses in our graduate and undergraduate curriculum.


To support our own interests, and to lay the foundation for your future career in academic- or industrial research you are expected to develop your own research agenda. You will lead research activities in acquisition, processing, and inversion of the vast quantity of data that remote sensing offers, using spatial statistics, machine learning, or data-driven approaches in general, including the required uncertainty analysis and quantification of accuracy. Key research areas may include, but are not limited to:

  • Advanced forest inventory techniques using high spatial resolution optical remote sensing imagery and LIDAR.
  • Plant-soil interactions using remote sensing and spectral data acquisition
  • Geospatial data analyses in from landscape to planetary scale using satellite imagery
  • Application of remote sensing imagery to computer visualization
  • Ecosystem and carbon accumulation and turnover modeling for biodiversity, production and greenhouse calculations
  • Detection of damaging agents in forests using spectral forest condition mapping
  • Large-scale analyses of biogeochemical cycles

You will assist with organisational and oversight responsibilities on various ongoing and future projects.

Applicant skills and requirements

  • You have a scientific background in Landscape or Forest Ecology, Forest Management or Physical Geography with a focus on Geoecology and soil, demonstrated by a competitive record of peer-review publications in international journals.
  • You hold a doctoral/ PhD degree in a relevant discipline obtained from an internationally recognised university no longer than 5 years ago.
  • You have advanced technical expertise in GIS and remote sensing applications for research including spatial statistics and data integration
  • You have published your research in at least one of the following areas: photogrammetry, remote sensing, GIS, earth sciences, geography, remote sensing
  • You have proven experience in developing and delivering courses at University level and are familiar with and interested in cutting edge teaching approaches.
  • You are interested in developing new research areas as well as helping more junior researchers develop their research skills.
  • You enjoy working in an open, diverse and cooperative environment and you have an interest in environmental science integration through teaching and outreach activities
  • You have excellent written and spoken skills in English. Knowledge of German, French, and/ or Italian is a plus.

Terms of employment

This is a full-time position with a starting term of one year, with the opportunity for an extension to three years, based on satisfactory performance. We are seeking a longer-term commitment from and aim to support a continuation of this position beyond 3 years, which will be subject to satisfactory performance and availability of funding.

The desired starting date is February 1st, 2022. A different starting date can be negotiated. The position is open until filled. Place of work will be ETH Zürich, Switzerland.


Please include the following information with your application:

  • Letter of motivation, no more than 2 pages in length, describing your motivation to apply for this specific posting, your career goals, as well as a short description that separately and clearly addresses how you possess each of the qualifications listed above.
  • A detailed and current CV.
  • Publication list.
  • Copy of PhD diploma or equivalent.
  • Contact details of 2-3 references.
  • Any additional material you wish to share

All documents must be combined in a single file in PDF format and must not be compressed. Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal.

ETH strives to be a workplace free from discrimination and with equal opportunities for all.


Contact Ariane Hangartner for further information.

posted: 09 November 2021     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.