Remote Sensing Analysis of the Interactions Between Natural Hazards and Urban Sprawl in Mountainous African Environment
The Royal Museum for Central Africa (RMCA) is one of the 10 Federal Scientific Institutions (FSIs) under the supervision of the State Secretary for Federal Science Policy. It is therefore both a scientific institute and a museum.
The RMCA (Natural Hazards Service), in partnership with the Department of Geography (Cartography and GIS Research Group) of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), is hiring a research assistant for a doctoral project dedicated to remote sensing applied to natural hazards. This project aims to explore the spatio-temporal evolution of natural hazards of geological and geo-hydrological origins (i.e., landslides, flash floods, gully erosion, volcanism, earthquakes) and urbanisation on a regional scale in Central Africa (D.R. Congo, Rwanda, Burundi). More specifically, the PhD student will use optical and radar spatial remote sensing techniques to create time series allowing the study of the interaction between natural hazards and urbanisation. The first scale of investigation will be regional. Based on the patterns of hazard-urban interactions identified at this level, the PhD student will deepen the analysis at a more local scale with site-specific studies where very high resolution imagery (spatial, UAV), as well as historical aerial photographs (RMCA collections) are used in combination with ground-based measurements. This doctoral project will be carried out under the co-supervision of Prof. Dr. Benoît SMETS (RMCA/VUB) and Prof. Dr. Frank CANTERS (VUB), in collaboration with Dr. Olivier DEWITTE (RMCA), Dr. François KERVYN (RMCA) and Prof. Dr. Matthieu KERVYN (VUB).
As a research assistant, your responsibilities will be to:
- Carry out doctoral research (development of methods, analyses,...), mainly based on optical and radar remote sensing techniques.
- Actively collaborate with the research teams of the RMCA and the VUB.
- Occasionally contribute to teaching activities organised at the VUB in the field of remote sensing.
- Update and expand the RMCA's regional databases on natural hazards in Central Africa.
- Synthesise research results in peer-reviewed articles.
- Present the results to academic, stakeholders and the general public, at meetings, forums, workshops and conferences.
- You have a MSc in Geomatics, Geography, Earth Sciences or equivalent.
- You have experience in optical and/or radar remote sensing.
- You have good programming skills (preferably Python).
- You have a broad interest in one or more one or more of the following topics: natural hazards, geomorphology, environmental change.
- You enjoy challenges and working on research with societal relevance.
- You enjoy interacting with other researchers and achieving common goals; you appreciate teamwork, but are also able to work independently.
- You are proficient in English and have excellent scientific writing and presenting skills.
- Knowledge of French and/or Dutch is an asset.
- A competitive 4-year doctoral scholarship, with an initial one-year renewable contract.
- A salary based on the scales of the Belgian federal government (SW10 gross amount 38.093,08 EUR, indexed annual salary).
- A pleasant and dynamic working environment.
- An interesting holiday package.
- Dynamic and multi-cultural work environments at the RMCA (Tervuren) and the VUB (Brussels).
- Reimbursement for public transport (2nd class) or compensation for bicycle journeys.
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To submit your application, please send by e-mail a single PDF file containing (i) a one-page motivation letter, written in English, stating your general motivation for entering a doctoral programme; (ii) your curriculum vitae; (iii) transcripts of your bachelor's and master's degrees with the grades; and (iv) the names, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses of at least two referees. The application should be sent to HR-RH@africamuseum.be (subject of e-mail: « S/PhD hazard-urban application ») before February 22nd, 2021, 6 pm (CET).
Only applications that correspond to the profile and are sent within the prescribed deadline will be accepted and responded to.
Interviews will take place during the first week of March 2021.
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