PhD Fellow in Physical modelling of EM-scattering and SAR-imaging

University of Tromsø
June 21, 2023
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
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Working Time:Full time
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Faculty of Science and Technology

PhD Fellow in Physical modelling of EM-scattering and SAR-imaging UiT The Arctic University of Norway

UiT The Arctic University of Norway with its main campus located in Tromsø is the northernmost university in the world. Its focus on climate and environment is clearly dictated by the geographical location at the edge of the Arctic. The main task of the Faculty of Science and Technology is to conduct research and teaching at high national and international level. Prioritized research areas include energy, climate, environment, maritime, marine, nano-, space- and information technology; addressing both general topics and topics relevant for the High North.

The position

The Department of Physics and Technology announces a vacant PhD fellow position in the area of Physical modelling of EM-scattering and SAR-imaging. The position is affiliated with the Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Tromsø - The Arctic University of Norway (UiT) and the work will be conducted in the Earth Observation research group.

The Earth Observation research group consists of five permanent academic staff and several postdoctoral and PhD fellows and is doing research on multi-sensor remote sensing for High North monitoring using microwave radar sensors, in combination with multi- and hyper spectral sensors. The group collaborates with national and international research groups and has several collaboration projects with industry.

The successful candidate will be building upon research from the nearly completed Centre for Integrated Remote Sensing and Forecasting for Arctic Operations (CIRFA), a centre for research-based Innovation (SFI) granted in 2014 by the Research Council of Norway.

The position is for a period of four years. The nominal length of the PhD programme is three years. The fourth year is distributed as 25 % each year and will consist of teaching and other duties. The objective of the position is to complete research training to the level of a doctoral degree. Admission to the PhD programme is a prerequisite for employment, and the programme period starts on commencement of the position.

The workplace is at UiT in Tromsø. You must be able to start in the position within a reasonable time after receiving the offer.

The position's field of research

The ESA Sentinel satellites are of great interest for operational users producing societally useful products. The synthetic aperture radar (SAR) sensor on Sentinel-1 can reliably provide information about the Earth's surface even through cloud cover and in darkness and is ideal for the polar regions. The research of the PhD position should focus on physics aware SAR image classification approaches, in which knowledge of scattering physics or other type of prior geophysical information is exploited in the classification process. To achieve this, the proposed project aims to gain a better understanding of the underlying physics of radar backscattering from the ocean and sea ice cover and to thereby develop or improve existing image analysis algorithms and their physical interpretation.

As an example, recently developed sea ice classification algorithms, based on automatic SAR data processing, have taken advantage of a radar incidence angle behaviour to provide sea ice mapping products of interest to the World's meteorological ice services for ship navigation and climate science.


For further information about the position, please contact Associate professor Anthony Paul Doulgeris:

  • email:[email protected]
  • or Professor Wolfgang Dierking:

  • email: [email protected]
  • or Professor Torbjørn Eltoft:

  • email: [email protected]
  • Roles and responsibilities of the Research Fellow

    The PhD Fellow will be benefitting from and building upon the ocean and sea ice remote sensing work of CIRFA, and their incidence angle aware algorithms. Both theoretical and empirical approaches will be explored and validated against our large archive of satellite and field data collected on expeditions in the Arctic.

    With guidance from the supervisory team, the research may expect to include:

  • Exploring theoretical scattering models and geophysical model functions to extract generalised physical property characteristics, e.g. incidence angle behaviour.
  • Exploring real data to extract empirical physical characteristics and limits, and for validation of potential models.
  • Modifying the existing SAR statistical modelling with improved incidence angle, or other, physical relationships. Considering polarimetric matrix, texture or decomposition extensions of the physically explainable modelling.
  • Applying and extending SAR mapping tools for ocean, sea ice and other marine applications, in collaboration with the Norwegian or international sea ice services.
  • Qualifications

    This position requires a master's degree or equivalant in physics, mathematics/statistics, or electrical engineering. If you are near completion of your master's degree, you may still apply.

    The suitable candidate must have:

  • Experience with SAR remote sensing
  • Basic understanding of EM-wave scattering and propagation
  • Background in signal and image processing
  • Good skills in programming and English language
  • A strong background in physics or experience with numerical modelling would be an advantage, likewise any previous experience related to ocean, sea ice or Sentinel-1 remote sensing.

    Other desired skills include:

  • Independence and self-motivation
  • Creativity and ability to think outside the box
  • Excellent work ethics and commitment to the job
  • International experience is an advantage. Emphasis is also given to personal suitability.

    As many as possible should have the opportunity to undertake organized research training. If you already hold a PhD or have equivalent competence, we will not appoint you to this position.

    Admission to the PhD programme

    For employment in the PhD position, you must be qualified for admission to the PhD programme at the Faculty of Science and Technology and participate in organized doctoral studies within the employment period.

    Admission normally requires:

  • A bachelor's degree of 180 ECTS and a master's degree of 120 ECTS, or an integrated master's degree of 300 ECTS.
  • A master's thesis with a scope corresponding to at least 30 ECTS for a master's degree of 120 ECTS.
  • A master's thesis with a scope corresponding to at least 20 ECTS for an integrated master's degree of 300 ECTS.
  • In order to gain admission to the programme, the applicant must have a grade point average of C or better for the master's degree and for relevant subjects of the bachelor's degree. A more detailed description of admission requirements can be found here.

    Applicants with a foreign education will be subjected to an evaluation of whether the educational background is equal to Norwegian higher education, following national guidelines from NOKUT. Depending on which country the education is from, one or two additional years of university education may be required to fulfil admission requirements, e.g. a 4-year bachelor's degree and a 2-year master's degree.

    If you are employed in the position, you will be provisionally admitted to the PhD programme. Application for final admission must be submitted no later than two months after taking up the position.

    Inclusion and diversity

    UiT The Arctic University of Norway is working actively to promote equality, gender balance and diversity among employees and students, and to create an inclusive and safe working environment. We believe that inclusion and diversity are a strength and we want employees with different competencies, professional experience, life experience and perspectives.

    If you have a disability, a gap in your CV or immigrant background, we encourage you to tick the box for this in your application. If there are qualified applicants, we invite at least one in each group for an interview. If you get the job, we will adapt the working conditions if you need it. Apart from selecting the right candidates, we will only use the information for anonymous statistics.

    We offer

    We offer an interesting project within a highly invovative centre environment, opportunities to travel and meet other leading scientists within the field, independence in work, a fantastic work environment with nice colleagues, good remuneration, and a cosy hometown of Tromsø surrounded by the stunning landscape of Northern Scandinavia.

    Remuneration for this postition normally starts at 532 200 NOK/year.

    More practical information for working and living in Norway can be found here: https: //


    Your application must include:

  • Application and motivation letter (max 1 page)
  • CV (max 2 pages)
  • Diploma for bachelor's and master's degree
  • Transcript of grades/academic record for bachelor's and master's degree
  • Explanation of the grading system for foreign education (Diploma Supplement if available)
  • Documentation of English proficiency
  • Three referee contacts, preferably including the master thesis supervisor
  • The full master thesis (or draft if incomplete), plus any relevant academic publications.
  • Qualification with a master degree is required before commencement in the position. If you are near completion of your Master degree, you may still apply and submit a draft version of the thesis and a statement from your supervisor or institution concerning completion of your master studies. You must have completed your degree before October 1, 2022.

    All documentation to be considered must be in a Scandinavian language or English. Diplomas and transcripts must also be submitted in the original language, if not in English or Scandinavian. We only accept applications and documentation sent via Jobbnorge within the application deadline.

    General information

    The appointment is made in accordance with State regulations and guidelines at UiT. At our website, you will find more information for applicants.

    A shorter period of appointment may be decided when the PhD Fellow has already completed parts of their research training programme or when the appointment is based on a previous qualifying position PhD Fellow, research assistant, or the like in such a way that the total time used for research training amounts to three years.

    Remuneration for the position of PhD Fellow is in accordance with the State salary scale code 1017. A compulsory contribution of 2 % to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund will be deducted.

    We process personal data given in an application or CV in accordance with the Personal Data Act (Offentleglova). According to the Personal Data Act information about the applicant may be included in the public applicant list, also in cases where the applicant has requested non-disclosure. You will receive advance notification in the event of such publication, if you have requested non-disclosure.

    UiT - Developing the High North

    UiT is a multi-campus research university in Norway and the northernmost university of the world. Our central location in the High North, our broad and diverse research and study portfolio, and our interdisciplinary qualities make us uniquely suited to meet the challenges of the future. At UiT you can explore global issues from a close-up perspective.

    Credibility, academic freedom, closeness, creativity and commitment shall be hallmarks of the relationship between our employees, between our employees and our students and between UiT and our partners.


    21st June 2023


    UiT The Arctic University of Norway


    Tromsø - Romsa


    Fulltime (1 positions) Fulltime (%)


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