The departments of Earth Systems Analysis (ESA) and Earth Observation Science (EOS) of the Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC)/ University of Twente in Enschede, the Netherlands, have a vacancy for a

PhD Candidate "Increasing the resilience of transport infrastructure through the use of satellites, UAV/drones and sensors, and advanced photogrammetry and machine learning"

Your challenge

The project is part of a large-scale research project funded through the Horizon 2020 funding scheme of the European Commission, entitled "Development of a decision support system for increasing the resilience of transportation infrastructure based on combined use of terrestrial and airborne sensors and advanced modelling tools" (PANOPTIS). The project is led by AIRBUS and has 14 participating organisations from 10 European countries. The overall aim of PANOPTIS is to provide a comprehensive resilience platform for diverse transport infrastructure (TI). This includes climate-change based hazard hot spot analysis, systems for routine monitoring of TI elements such as road surfaces and surroundings using satellites, vehicle-based drones as well as sensors, and fixed sensors installed along the TI corridor. The system needs to support continuous assessment of the TI condition, early warning, as well as monitoring during or right after disaster events, with focus on damage assessment. While the project covers many distinct research elements, including climate modelling and vulnerability assessment, ITC's role is focused on the integrated use of drone, mobile sensor system and satellite information and damage assessment, as well as linking of damage information back to hazard and risk assessment, as well as resilience. The technical challenges are focused on photogrammetric processing of drone imagery, data fusion, as well as advanced machine learning (e.g., with CNN).

It will be your responsibility to address the following specific problems:

  • development of a conceptual framework for routine road corridor monitoring with drones and satellite imagery,
  • development of algorithms/methodologies for automated assessment of infrastructure degradation/ road surface damage using sensors installed on vehicles, placed along the road and on drones,
  • methods for rapid assessment of damage to the TI elements for different disaster scenarios (e.g. landslides, flooding),
  • supporting dynamic hazard and resilience assessment done by other partners with road degradation and damage information,
  • contributing to the development of an operational TI monitoring procedure.

Your profile

We are looking for a creative and motivated candidate. You should:

  • have a MSc degree, obtained no more than 5 years ago, related to geo informatics or robotics, with excellent expertise in photogrammetry/remote sensing or computer vision and good programming skills.
  • Have prior knowledge in disaster risk management. The use of UAVs will be an asset.
  • Be at ease engaging with scientist from different disciplines (engineering, climatology, robotics, etc.) and cultures, to maximise the results from this research. This given the large number of project partners, which leads to many research issues needing to be addressed by different experts, and dependencies with tasks and work packages of other partners.

The project is shared between ITC's ESA and EOS departments, and requires occasional work in the field (experiments in Spain and Greece are planned), and independent participation in project meetings, conferences or teleconferences may be necessary. Preparation of project deliverables (reports, etc.) is also necessary. As PhD Candidate some limited teaching in ITC courses may be required.

Our offer

We offer you an inspiring multidisciplinary and challenging international and academic environment. The university offers a dynamic ecosystem with enthusiastic colleagues in which internationalization is an important part of the strategic agenda.

You will be fulltime employed for a period of 4 years. Salary and conditions will be in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO-NU) of the Dutch Universities.

  • A starting salary of 2.222 in the first year and a salary of 2.840 in the fourth year gross per month;
  • A holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and a year-end bonus of 8.3%;
  • A solid pension scheme;
  • Minimum of 29 holiday days in case of full-time employment;
  • Professional and personal development programs
  • Cost for moving to Enschede may be reimbursed

Pending final budget approval by the European Commission, the project will likely begin in June of 2018, and we would like you to start working as soon as possible to have time to prepare before the project starts. Job interviews (likely via Skype) will be held in the week starting 7 May 2018. Please submit your application via (choose "apply now"). Please submit your application (detailed Curriculum Vitae and a letter elaborating the motivation for the application) through the form by 1 May 2018.

Information and application

For more information you can contact Prof. Dr. Norman Kerle ( or Dr. Francesco Nex ( You are also invited to visit our homepage.

posted: 16 April 2018     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.