PhD Candidate (m/f): Building disaster resilience through collaborative image-based damage mapping and other volunteered geographic information approaches

The department of Earth Systems Analysis (ESA) of the Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC)/ University of Twente in Enschede, the Netherlands, has a vacancy for a PhD Candidate m/f, to work on a project entitled

"Building disaster resilience through collaborative image-based damage mapping and other volunteered geographic information approaches"

Your challenge

The project is part of a large-scale research project funded through the Horizon 2020 funding scheme of the European Commission, entitled "Integrating Risk Perception and Action to enhance Civil protection-Citizen interaction" (RiskPACC).

The project is led by the Fraunhofer Institute for Technological Trend Analysis (Germany), and overall has 20 participating organisations from 10 European countries. The overall aim of RiskPACC is to build better individual and collective disaster resilience via citizen participation. The project address what is termed the risk perception action gap (RPAG), i.e. the problem that both citizens and civil protection agencies (CPA) need to be involved in the effort to build lasting resilience, thereby raising risk awareness and preparedness. RiskPACC employs a co-creation approach to inventorize resilience-building initiatives and best practices as well as the specific needs of CPAs and citizens, and proceeds to develop tools and approaches to address those needs. This includes a framework and methodology to understand and close the RPAG, a repository of best practices, and tooled solutions based on new forms of digital and community-centred data and associated training guidance, which will be tested in 7 different case studies.

ITC will bring in expertise in geomatics and Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI), and in particular image-based damage mapping and involvement of volunteers, as well as knowledge in the area of climate change impacts and adaptation, urban resilience, differential social vulnerabilities and climate change.

It will be your responsibility to address the following specific problems, often in collaboration with other project partners:

  • as a key focus, develop an ICT tool for improved collaborative image-based damage mapping;
  • develop novel ways to instruct and monitor volunteer mappers, including via serious gaming approaches;
  • develop training material for the developed tools;
  • better understanding of how disaster resilience and risk perception can be improved, also via stakeholder engagement;
  • analyse the specific GPAG in both citizens and CPA, and existing best practices;
  • participate in the co-creation process with stakeholders, in the context of selected case studies.

Your profile

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

  • have an MSc degree, obtained no more than 5 years ago, related to geoinformatics/ remote sensing, and ideally with prior experience in citizen science/VGI and disaster risk management. Experience in ICT tool development, programming, and serious gaming, as well as prior scientific publications, are further assets.
  • be at ease engaging with scientist from different disciplines (ICT, social science, civil protection) and cultures, to maximise the results from this research. This is due to the large number of project partners and research questions to be addressed by different experts, and dependencies with tasks and work packages of other partners.

The project involves supervisors from ITC's Earth Systems Analysis (ESA) and Urban and Regional Planning and Geo-information Management (PGM) departments, and requires occasional work in the field in connection with the planned case studies. In addition independent participation in project meetings, conferences or teleconferences may be necessary. Preparation of project deliverables (reports, etc.) is also needed. 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 four years. Salary and conditions will be in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO-NU) of the Dutch Universities.

  • A starting salary of € 2,395 in the first year and a salary of € 3,061 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 41 holiday days in case of full-time employment;
  • Professional and personal development programs
  • Cost for moving to Enschede may be reimbursed.

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

Please submit your application before 12 July 2021 (on the UT's vacancy page choose "Apply Now" below). Your application must contain a detailed Curriculum Vitae and a letter elaborating the motivation for the application. The RiskPACC project will begin on 1 September 2021, hence we would like you to start working as soon as possible. Job interviews (likely via Skype/ MS Teams) will likely be held in early-mid August.

Applications submitted by email will not be considered.

Committee members

Prof. Dr. N. Kerle (
Dr. D. Reckien (
Dr. R. Lemmens (

posted: 22 June 2021     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.