PhD: Using Radar for Vegetation Water Stress (2)

Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

Delft, Netherlands 🇳🇱

he Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences of Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) provides leading international research and education, with innovation and sustainability as central themes. Research and education are closely interwoven and address societal challenges. The Faculty consists of the departments of Transport and Planning, Structural Engineering, Geoscience and Engineering, Water Management, Hydraulic Engineering, and Geoscience and Remote Sensing.

Within the faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, the Water Resources section focuses on water resources management and hydrology. The section is led by Prof. N.C. van de Giesen and Prof. H.H.G. Savenije and has three part-time chairs for specialised fields. The group encompasses a research staff totalling 16 FTE and over 40 PhD students. Twenty MSc students graduate each year.

In the Water Resources Management group, a broad, interdisciplinary approach is applied to water management issues. The tools used range from data assimilation and remote sensing to real-time control and legal and stakeholder analysis. The issues studied include floods and droughts, climate change, water pollution, international conflicts, and IWRM. The group has an excellent international research reputation and is well embedded in the international research community. A significant part of the research is done in strong collaboration with international research institutes and industry.

Job description

These two PhD positions are funded by a Vidi grant focused on developing radar as a tool for the early detection of water stress. Both successful candidates will be based in Delft but will conduct radar experiments during the growing seasons in Florida.

The first PhD candidate will focus on quantifying the contributions to backscatter from an agricultural canopy and identifying the onset of water stress. His/her tasks will include radar instrument installation, measurement set-up, data processing and analysis, and EM modelling. The candidate will also further develop an existing sensor to measure the leaf dielectric constant.

The second PhD candidate will focus on monitoring and characterising the response of the canopy to drought. His/her tasks will include plant and soil sensor installation, field measurements, data processing and analysis, and hydrological/physiological modelling.


Applicants for the first position are expected to have an MSc degree (or the equivalent) in one of the following areas: applied physics, electrical engineering, experimental geoscience, or a closely related field.

Applications for the second position are expected to have an MSc degree (or the equivalent) in one of the following areas: plant sciences, hydrology, agronomy, earth science, or a closely related field.

Excellent mathematical, analytical and scientific programming skills are essential for both candidates. Applicants must be proficient in spoken and written English and hold a driver’s license.

Conditions of employment

The TU Delft offers an attractive, customisable compensation and benefits package, including a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. An International Children’s Centre offers day care, before- and after-school care and an international primary school. Dual Career Services offers support to accompanying partners. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.
As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment; an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor; and a Doctoral Education Programme aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills. Please visit for more information.

Information and application

For more information about these positions, please contact Susan Steele-Dunne, phone: +31 (0)15-2781377, e-mail: [email protected] To apply, please submit the following documents: (1) your letter of application (1 page), (2) your CV, including contact details of one or two references (e.g., previous supervisors) and proof of English language proficiency, (3) a list of grades. Please e-mail your application by 15 December 2016 to Barbara Tabak, [email protected]
When applying for either of these positions, please refer to vacancy number CITG16-42.

Enquiries from agencies are not appreciated.