PhD position - Measuring and modelling vegetation traits

As a member of the Helmholtz Association, Forschungszentrum Jülich makes an effective contribution to solving major challenges facing society in the fields of information, energy, and bioeconomy. It focuses on varied tasks in the area of research management and utilizes large, often unique, scientific infrastructure. Come and work with around 6,100 colleagues across a range of topics and disciplines at one of Europe’s largest research centres.

The Plant Sciences Division (IBG-2) of the Institute of Bio- and Geosciences (IBG) investigates the dynamics of plant processes and the interaction of plants with the environment. Plant science at Forschungszentrum Jülich plays a leading role at national and international level in the field of plant phenotyping, i.e. in the quantitative and non-invasive recording of structural and functional properties of plants important for agricultural and horticultural plant breeding. In this context, IBG-2 is developing new sensors and measurement concepts and integrate them into semi- and fully automated systems. One focus of the institute is the use of optical sensors to promote the automated measurement of plant traits under field conditions. Ground-based measurements are complemented by UAV, aircraft and satellite-based remote sensing approaches.

This PhD position is embedded in the recently selected excellence cluster PhenoRob, where IBG-2 is leading partner. The PhD student will be imbedded in the activities of this excellence cluster and will have access to a wide range of training and qualification measures that are offered by this cluster.

We are offering a

PhD position - Measuring and modelling vegetation traits

Activities and responsibilities

  • Employment of different sensors from top-of-canopy gantry systems and UAVs to measure vegetation traits from selected crop plants in the field. The sensors include RGB cameras, multispectral cameras, cameras to measure solar-induced fluorescence, and thermal cameras
  • Develop processes to spatially register these imaging data and aggregate the data on a common grid
  • Use inversion of radiative transfer modeling to derive quantitative crop traits
  • Derive time series of validated vegetation traits that can be interpreted for their temporal and spatial dynamics
  • Interpretation of the results, correlation of remote sensing data with other measurements that are provided within the PhenoRob consortium
  • Presentation of the results at scientific conferences and in scientific publications

Qualification profile

  • University degree in geophysics, biology, agriculture or a related field of study
  • Very good to outstanding grades in studies, as well as a thesis in a related discipline
  • Background knowledge and proven interest in processing and interpretation of spectrally resolved imaging data and other imaging data
  • Knowledge on data processing and georectification of remote sensing and/or phenotyping data
  • Knowledge in interpretation and retrieval of vegetation traits from hyperspectral imagery
  • Knowledge of radiative transfer inversion and the interpretation of solar-induced fluorescence would be beneficial
  • Interest in working in an interdisciplinary research group (excellence cluster) with close cooperation to people from machine learning, artificial intelligence and robotics

We offer

  • Possibility to develop own scientific profile in the merging topic of "remote sensing of solar-induced fluorescence"
  • Integration in a world-leading research group in this field with a stimulating scientific environment
  • Wide range of training opportunities that are provided by the Forschungszentrum Jülich and the graduate school of the excellence cluster
  • Position that is limited for four years
  • Outstanding scientific and technical infrastructure – ideal conditions for successfully completing a doctoral degree
  • Continuous, professional support by your scientific supervisor
  • Pay in line with 75 % of pay group 13 of the Collective Agreement for the Public Service (TVöD-Bund).
Forschungszentrum Jülich aims to employ more women in this area and therefore
particularly welcomes applications from women.

We also welcome applications from disabled persons.

Send application to

The job will be advertised until the position has been successfully filled. You should therefore submit your application as soon as possible. We look forward to receiving your application via our

Questions about the vacancy?
Contact us by mentioning the reference number 2019D-226:
Please note that for technical reasons we cannot accept applications via email.

While applying for the job please refer to jobvector and use the following reference number: 2019D-226

About Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH

Das Forschungszentrum Jülich leistet als Mitglied der Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft wirksame Beiträge zur Lösung großer gesellschaftlicher Herausforderungen in den Bereichen Information, Energie und Bioökonomie. Es bearbeitet vielfältige Aufgaben im Forschungsmanagement und nutzt große, oft einzigartige wissenschaftliche Infrastrukturen. Arbeiten Sie zusammen mit rund 5.900 Kolleginnen und Kollegen...
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