PhD scholarship in Mapping extreme sea ice features from a combination of remote sensing and in situ data

Updated: about 1 month ago

If you want to pursue a career as a scientist and you are looking for the best possible foundation for fulfilling your dreams and ambitions, it is right here in front of you. At DTU Space we seek candidates with a strong interest in altimetry remote sensing for a PhD position in “’Mapping extreme sea ice features from a combination of remote sensing and in situ data”.

Start date: September 1st , 2021.

You will break new ground at the absolute forefront of what is possible within the sea ice remote sensing. You will join forces with a team of international leading scientists, who are heavily involved in remote sensing of the cryosphere. The PhD will be a joint DTU-NTNU program and you will be awarded with a double degree in the end.

Responsibilities and qualifications
Your overall focus will be to strengthen the department’s competences within using and understanding remote sensing data from state-of-the-art altimetry missions, i.e. ESAs CryoSat-2 and NASAs ICESat-2 missions, to develop highly innovative methods to derive surface roughness in the Arctic on multiple scales (from regional to pan-Arctic) of sea ice pressure ridges, and to a less extent icebergs. The aim is for you to derive surface roughness and use it to investigate the effect on multi-frequency altimeter range retrieval and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) thickness retrievals, in order to improve the existing sea ice thickness algorithms from altimetry and to reduce their uncertainties. 

Through DTU Space’s involvement in the ESA CryoSat-2 Validation Experiment (CryoVEx) airborne campaigns, we will together fully utilize these measurements with multi-frequency laser and radar technologies to support the algorithm development, as well as the validation of the derived surface topography. This, combined with additional available reference data from ground-based observations (upward looking sonars, MOSAiC Expedition), will allow us to explore the multi-frequency perspective beyond current state-of-the-art.  

Your work will add cutting-edge Arctic research to support climate studies, improve models, and prepare the scientific readiness level for the future dual-frequency Sentinel Expansion High Priority Candidate Mission (CRISTAL), as well as support safe ship navigation in ice covered waters to protect humans and the pristine Arctic environment.

You will work in close collaboration with colleagues at both DTU–NTNU and UNIS, and with academic partners in both Denmark, as well as abroad. To follow the DTU-NTNU program you will be granted a unique study environment, together with several PhDs and Post Docs in related fields.

Your primary tasks will be to:

  • Develop methods to take full advantage of combining multi-frequency satellite and airborne altimeter data sets
  • Publish the new findings in the international peer reviewed literature
  • Present your research at international conferences and participate in relevant project meetings
  • Communicate effectively with colleagues and be able to work as part of a team to achieve ambitious goals
  • Teach and co-supervise BSc and MSc student projects
  • Potentially participate in Arctic field campaigns
  • Stay 1 year at NTNU

We expect the candidate to have:

  • Experience in working with large satellite data sets and development of algorithms
  • At least basic knowledge of altimetry and its use in polar regions
  • Good expertise in programming, e.g. in Python, R, or other high-level programming languages.

You must have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide .

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here .

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Senior Scientist, Henriette Skourup, , or Professor René Forsberg,

You can read more about DTU Space at and at

If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark .

Application procedure
Your complete online application must be submitted no later than 28 June 2021 (Danish time).

Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here )
  • Letter of recommendations are encouraged

You may apply prior to ob­tai­ning your master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

DTU Space has about 190 employees, an annual turn-over of about 140 MDKK and it is located at the Lyngby Campus of the Technical University of Denmark together with 19 other institutes within the technical sciences. As the National Space Institute, DTU Space is the leading institution of public space activities in Denmark. The mission of the Institute is to conduct research, development, public sector consultancy, education, and innovation at the highest international level within the following areas: Space Technology & Instrumentation, Earth Observation & Geoscience and Space- & Astrophysics.

Technology for people
DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today. DTU has 12,900 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. DTU has campuses in all parts of Denmark and in Greenland, and we collaborate with the best universities around the world.

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