Research Associate

Department of Geography

University of Cambridge, Trinity Ln, Cambridge, UK


  • Posted on: 17th Feb 2021
  • Salary: £32,816-£40,322
  • REF: LC25751
  • Closes: 15th March 2021
  • Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
  • Hours: Full Time

Postdoctoral Research Associate in Remote Sensing of Forests

Applications are invited for a Research Associate to join Dr Emily Lines’ UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship project “Next generation forest dynamics modelling using remote sensing data”. This is an interdisciplinary project at the intersection of ecology, remote sensing, and data science. The successful candidate will have experience and expertise in quantitative and computational approaches in ecology and/or remote sensing.Forest ecosystems sequester one third of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions and house 80% of the Earth’s terrestrial biodiversity, but face threats including a rapidly changing climate, deforestation and degradation, and the spread of invasive diseases.

Accurate monitoring of forests to understand their structure and function is crucial for effective conservation, and recent advances in terrestrial and drone remote sensing technology create the potential for large-scale low-cost high-resolution monitoring. New technologies such as Terrestrial Laser Scanning and drone remote sensing can capture 3D information on individual trees and whole-forest canopies in unprecedented detail, offering a link between field collected and satellite Earth Observation data. They can measure tree and crown shape, leaf area and arrangement, and crown tessellation in canopies, which are known drivers of productivity and dynamics, opening up the possibility of new approaches to forest modelling. However, the explosion in three-dimensional multi-band data available has not yet been followed by cutting-edge tools to analyse them, meaning their value is not fully exploited in forest ecology.

The successful candidate will carry out extensive fieldwork in forest plots across the UK and Europe, which may include physically strenuous activities and you will be required to carry equipment whilst hiking over sometimes difficult terrain. You will collect forest structural information using terrestrial and drone-based remote sensing, and develop new computational methods to extract ecologically relevant information about individual trees and the data will be used to understand linkages between forest structure and dynamics. The post holder will work closely with PI Dr Emily Lines and co-I Dr Stuart Grieve (QMUL), and will collaborate with UK and international project partners from both academic and commercial research organisations.

Informal enquiries should be made by email to Dr Emily Lines at

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 24 months in the first instance.

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Please quote reference LC25751 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.
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