Post doc: Geospatial mapping of soil and land use - in time and space

The Department of Agroecology at Aarhus University in Foulum, Denmark, is offering one to two postdoctoral positions within the above mentioned area, starting 01.05.2021 or as soon as possible thereafter. The successful candidate(s) will be based at the Soil Physics and Hydropedology Section. The position(s) will be available for a 3-year period.

The successful candidate(s) will be part of a soil physics and hydropedology research environment focusing on understanding soil physico-chemical and hydrological processes as well as achieving quantitative insight into the spatial distribution of soil characteristics on a local, regional and national scale.

Furthermore the postdoc(s) will be a part of Center for Sustainable Landscapes under Global Change - Sustainscapes. This is a newly established research centre focused on establishing research-based insight and sustainable solutions for the recovery and maintenance of biodiversity and biobased production across landscapes. The centre is based on a 6-years project funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

Research area and project description:
The candidate(s) will provide national-scale mapping of historical to future changes in land use and soil properties. The candidate(s) will work on the following key aspects: (1) Digitalisation of historical maps for obtaining time-series of land use and agricultural practices. Focus will be on mapping and detecting changes in land use and bio-based production since 1850. (2) Digital soil mapping and change detection of recent and ongoing land use practices (e.g., mowing, cropping, grazing) based on remotely sensed data with a temporal focus from 1980 till today. (3) Exploring how the relationship between soil properties, agricultural yield, and the biodiversity change in relation to land use changed across time. (4) Modelling the impact of future climate change on soil properties and agricultural yield.

Remote sensing provides new opportunities to map, detect and monitor changes in soil variability, ecosystem processes, structural, functional, and taxonomic diversity, as well as agriculture and forestry production. The candidates will be part of a team that combines innovative approaches and technologies, especially efficient algorithms, big data mining & handling, as well as drone- & satellite-based remote sensing.

The results of this work will contribute substantially to address two of SustainScapes overall goals: (1) Understand how historical ecosystem degradation affect our ability to maintain biodiversity and production under future global change? (2) Develop an online decision and change detection tool to support local initiatives working towards the maintenance of biodiversity alongside bio-based production.

Qualifications and specific competences
We are searching for a highly motivated candidate with a PhD and a strong research background in e.g., remote sensing, soil physics, agronomy, environmental engineering, biology, or geography. Experience in spatial mapping using various statistical methods e.g. machine learning for digital soil mapping or biogeographical mapping

We look for the following specific qualifications:

  • Proven capabilities in handling and analysing large geospatial data sets
  • Knowledge about soil physico-chemical processes
  • Experience with laboratory measurements of soil characteritics
  • Knowledge on obtaining, processing, and analysing remotely sensed data
  • Strong knowledge of programming languages (e.g., R, Python)
  • Excellent knowledge in statistical analyses and modelling
  • Proven ability to publish at a high level and in key journals within the field in a timely manner
  • Good collaboration skills across different groups of employees
  • It is a prerequisite that you are good at communicating in English

The Department of Agroecology
At the Department of Agroecology we study interactions between soil, plants, animals, humans and the environment in different agroecosystems for the production of food, feed, biomaterials and energy. Thus, we contribute to both fundamental knowledge generation and the attainment of sustainable production systems via state-of-the-art research, contracted policy advice, and education. We offer state-of-the-art laboratory, green house, semi-field and field scale research facilities, advanced computing capacities as well as an extensive national and international researcher network. The department has a staff of approximately 275 people including 56 senior academics, 37 junior researchers and postdocs, and 60 PhD students. More information can be found here.

The Department of Agroecology offers
  • An informal and multicultural research environment with high professionalism, where accountability, commitment, helpfulness, flexibility and close collaboration is a prerequisite solving the core tasks
  • A good social environment with activities and routines that make it possible to talk across and strengthen the collegial relationship, and where mutual trust, respect, kindness and professional sparring are emphasized
  • A flexible workplace with good work-life balance
  • Possibility of membership of staff association, access to gym and free fruit scheme
  • An exciting and varied working environment, where two days rarely resemble each other. We are often busy and we work creatively for solutions to societal challenges

Place of Work
The place of work is Aarhus University, Campus Foulum, Blichers Allé 20, 8830 Tjele. The affiliation will be with the Department of Agroecology.

More information can be obtained from Section Manager Mogens H. Greve (greve@ago.au.dk), Department of Agroecology, Aarhus University.

Application procedure
Shortlisting is used. This means that after the deadline for applications – and with the assistance from the assessment committee chairman, and the appointment committee if necessary, – the head of department selects the candidates to be evaluated. All applicants will be notified whether or not their applications have been sent to an expert assessment committee for evaluation. The selected applicants will be informed about the composition of the committee, and each applicant is given the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that concerns him/her self. Once the recruitment process is completed a final letter of rejection is sent to the deselected applicants.

Letter of reference
If you want a referee to upload a letter of reference on your behalf, please state the referee’s contact information when you submit your application. We strongly recommend that you make an agreement with the person in question before you enter the referee’s contact information, and that you ensure that the referee has enough time to write the letter of reference before the application deadline.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to ensure that letters of reference received after the application deadline will be taken into consideration.

Formalities and salary range
Technical Sciences refers to the Ministerial Order on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Danish Universities under the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.

The application must be in English and include a curriculum vitae, degree certificate, a complete list of publications, a statement of future research plans and information about research activities, teaching portfolio and verified information on previous teaching experience (if any). Guidelines for applicants can be found here.

Appointment shall be in accordance with the collective labour agreement between the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. Further information on qualification requirements and job content may be found in the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff at Danish Universities.

Salary depends on seniority as agreed between the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Confederation of Professional Associations.

All interested candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of their personal background. Research activities will be evaluated in relation to actual research time. Thus, we encourage applicants to specify periods of leave without research activities, in order to be able to subtract these periods from the span of the scientific career during the evaluation of scientific productivity.

Aarhus University offers a broad variety of services for international researchers and accompanying families, including relocation service and career counselling to expat partners. Read more here. Please find more information about entering and working in Denmark here.

Aarhus University also offers a Junior Researcher Development Programme targeted at career development for postdocs at AU. You can read more about it here.

The application must be submitted via Aarhus University’s recruitment system, which can be accessed under the job advertisement on Aarhus University's website.

Aarhus University
Aarhus University is an academically diverse and research-intensive university with a strong commitment to high-quality research and education and the development of society nationally and globally. The university offers an inspiring research and teaching environment to its 38,000 students (FTEs) and 8,000 employees, and has an annual revenues of EUR 885 million. Learn more at www.international.au.dk/

Deadline: 28 February 2021

 


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