Remote Sensing Specialist (Cryosphere Monitoring Lead)

Kathmandu, , NP


The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) is a regional intergovernmental learning and knowledge sharing centre serving eight regional member countries in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH)—Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan. Our aim is to influence policy and practices to meet environmental and livelihood challenges emerging in the region. To do this, we bring together researchers, practitioners, and policymakers from the HKH and around the globe to generate and share knowledge, support evidence-based decision making, and encourage regional collaboration. ICIMOD delivers impact through its six Regional Programmes—Adaptation to Change, Transboundary Landscapes, River Basins, Cryosphere and Atmosphere, Mountain Environment Regional Information System, and Himalayan University Consortium. These regional programmes are supported by the four Thematic Areas—Livelihoods, Ecosystem Services, Water and Air, and Geospatial Solutions and strengthened by Knowledge Management and Communication. ICIMOD seeks to reduce poverty and vulnerability, and improve the lives and livelihoods of mountain women and men, now and in the future.
The vastness and remoteness of much of the Hindu Kush Himalayan region has often been a barrier to development and to research. Over the past two decades, ICIMOD has worked to breach this barrier by developing and institutionalizing remote sensing and geographic information systems as a tool to support development policies and to assist science-based decision making at multiple levels. In particular, it has worked with both international and regional partners to provide access to data and information, to integrate analysis and modelling, and to develop interactive mapping and spatial visualization. The result is that ICIMOD is now internationally regarded as a regional resource centre for geo-information and earth observation applications with a specific mountain focus. ICIMOD is also committed to capacity building in this area; the regional member countries have benefited from ICIMOD’s short courses and training programmes and have gone on to establish GIS hubs in their own countries.
ICIMOD’s Cryosphere Initiative focuses on understanding the importance of the cryosphere for downstream communities in the HKH. The initiative and its implementing partners in the region have established a Cryosphere Monitoring Programme to assess cryosphere water resources, cryosphere-related disaster risks, and scenarios for future water availability using an integrated approach of field measurements, remote sensing, and modelling.
Together with its regional and international partners, the initiative is enhancing the capacity of institutions in ICIMOD’s regional member countries to co-produce and share relevant data and knowledge about the cryosphere and to increase scientific knowledge of the cryosphere. The work will contribute to the development of effective measures and policies for water resources and risk management in the HKH.

Responsibilities and tasks

Under the direct guidance and supervision of the Regional Programme Manager and under the overall guidance of the Theme Leader for Geospatial Solutions, the Remote Sensing Specialist will be primarily responsible for the application of earth observation and geospatial tools for cryosphere monitoring. S/he will be primarily responsible for achieving the objectives of ICMOD’s cryosphere programme, and for designing and implementing innovative remote sensing based research on the status of the cryosphere and related processes in the HKH. S/he will also lead the preparation of the publication of research results in peer-reviewed journals. Specific responsibilities include:
  • Lead remote sensing based research, training, and capacity building of the resource base in the region on the status and dynamics of cryosphere and related processes in the HKH.
  • Coordinate the generation of a comprehensive glacier inventory for the HKH and reassess past inventories for change assessments in selected basins/sub-basins under the HKH Cryosphere Monitoring Programme. 
  • Develop further training curricula, training manuals, and other necessary teaching/training materials for remote sensing based glacier mapping and monitoring with the team and coordinate the capacity building of regional partner institutes on glacier mapping and monitoring.
  • Enhance the existing semi-automatic methodology for glacier mapping by including thermal bands using international knowledge and best practices.
  • Develop and coordinate an up-to-date regional glacier database of the Hindu Kush Himalayan region (Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan) using remote sensing and geographic information systems tools and techniques with the team.
  • Develop and coordinate the remote sensing component of the annual report on the status of the cryosphere in the HKH.
  • Coordinate detailed investigations (annual/biannual) of glacier area and glacier length changes, including the selection of priority sub-basins for mass balance field work.
  • Coordinate regional and international forums/workshops/conferences on the cryosphere theme.
  • Assist the development of concept papers and project proposals on various themes specific to snow/glaciers and climate change as needed.
  • Work as a forward thinking, creative team player within ICIMOD to support other activities and promote institutional goals.
  • Provide advisory services in the field of glaciers and glacial lakes through correspondence, direct contact with visitors to ICIMOD, and visits to relevant institutes.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Post graduate degree (PhD preferred) with at least five years of relevant work experience.
  • Demonstrated experience using remote sensing for cryosphere research, snow/ice monitoring, and spectral characteristics of snow and ice relevant to optical and microwave remote sensing.
  • Demonstrated understanding of geophysics of mountains including the snow/glacier dynamics, mass balance, and surface melt characteristics. 
  • Proven record of publications in peer reviewed scientific journals. 
  • Experience in programming such as Python, Java script and R.


  • Content knowledge: basic knowledge of earth observation and geospatial information applications in the context of cryosphere monitoring.
  • Management and coordination: ability to design and coordinate innovative research, understanding of project cycle, including operational planning and monitoring.
  • Networking and stakeholder management: ability to establish networks with strategic institutions and effectively communicate with stakeholders.
  • Impact and results orientation: proactive approach to mentoring and capacity building for in-house team members and partners.
  • Social/team competency: ability to work smoothly and effectively with others in the team to establish constructive ideas or solutions that meet the team objective
  • Flexibility: ability to easily adapt to changing contexts, technologies, and approaches when necessary and make improvements in one’s work area.
  • Report writing: ability to contribute to the preparation and consolidation of reports and publications in peer reviewed scientific journals.

Duty Station

The duty station is Kathmandu; frequent travel and field work will be required


Two years, with a probation period of six months, with the possibility of an extension subject to performance, programme activities, and ICIMOD’s future funding levels.


Salaries and benefits at ICIMOD are competitive compared to other regional organizations; remuneration is commensurate with experience and qualifications.

Gender and Equity Policy

Qualified and eligible women candidates and those from disadvantaged backgrounds are highly encouraged to apply. ICIMOD implements a gender equity policy and is supportive of working women. It operates a day-care centre on campus and is committed to the integration of gender issues at organizational and programmatic levels. 

Method of application

Applicants are requested to apply online before 27 Nov 2017 through ICIMOD’s online application system.

Only shortlisted candidates will be notified.