PhD candidate / Research Assistant in Computer Vision for Satellite-based Monitoring of Armed Conflicts

Updated: about 1 month ago
Job Type: Permanent

In der aktuellen Covid-19 Situation laufen die Rekrutierungen weiter. Es kann dabei allerdings zu Verzögerungen kommen. Vielen Dank für Ihr Verständnis.


100%, Zurich, fixed-term

The Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing group (Prof. Konrad Schindler) is looking for a candidate with an interest in performing cutting edge research, strong motivation, and a desire to learn. She/he will work on a project in the EcoVision Lab in cooperation with the Institute for Computational Science at University of Zurich, ICRC, UN, OECD, and CSS ETH, aiming to develop a deep learning approach for monitoring armed conflicts at country-scale, using dense time series of optical and SAR satellite imagery.


Project background

Satellite images offer a non-intrusive means to observe surface changes that hint at conflict events (e.g., burning of settlements, movements of assailant or fugitive groups). Remote sensing complements on-the-ground activities and is particularly valuable to gather information in areas that are remote or pose high security risks. Humanitarian organisations like the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) require such information to verify and document violations of humanitarian law. In the project, we will develop an automated monitoring approach that combines modern visual AI with free Copernicus imagery, notably Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2. The new approach will enable monitoring of conflict areas in near-realtime, to strengthen our partners’ early warning capabilities, facilitate quick assessment of humanitarian impact in the aftermath of conflict events, and support the existing documentation process.


Job description

The aim of the project is to develop a deep learning approach for monitoring armed conflicts at country-scale, using dense time series of optical and SAR satellite imagery. This includes

  • detailed definition of monitoring tasks and data sources, in collaboration with the project partners
  • preparation of a suitable research dataset
  • design and implementation of a machine learning-based monitoring system
  • large-scale testing and performance evaluation.

We offer an exciting and stimulating environment to study and work in: ETH has several internationally recognized research groups dedicated to computer vision, machine learning and remote sensing, and we also collaborate with several other institutions and companies in Switzerland and abroad.


Your profile

An ideal candidate will have

  • an excellent degree (M.Sc., M.Eng. or equivalent) in Computer Science, Data Science, Geospatial Engineering / Geomatics, or a related field (e.g., Electrical Engineering, Applied Mathematics)
  • strong mathematical understanding, and
  • programming experience, preferably in Python

Prior experience in machine learning, computer vision and remote sensing is a plus, fluency in English is required (both written and spoken).


ETH Zurich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.

Working, teaching and research at ETH Zurich
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