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Postdoctoral researcher in Geothermal hotspot detection from ECOSTRESS data

Vacancy details

General information


The Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC) 

The Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC) provides international postgraduate education, research and project services in the field of geo-information science (GIS) and earth observation. We use remote sensing and GIS for collecting spatial data. Our aim is to contribute to the international exchange of knowledge, focusing on capacity building and institutional development in developing countries and emerging economies. As part of a ‘people-first' university of technology, we ensure that everything we do is aimed at maximum impact on people and society through the sustainable utilisation of science and technology. We also seek to sustain and expand our role as a leader in academic social entrepreneurship.

As an employer, the ITC Faculty offers jobs that matter. We equip you as a staff member to shape new opportunities both for yourself and for our society. With our Faculty, you will be part of a leading tech university that is changing our world for the better. We offer an open, inclusive and entrepreneurial climate, in which we encourage you to make healthy choices, for example, with our flexible, customizable conditions.   



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Position description


Academic staff - Postdoc

Job title

Postdoctoral researcher in Geothermal hotspot detection from ECOSTRESS data

Minimum salary


Maximum salary


Job description

Geothermal resources are essential in the global transition to renewable energy sources. Spaceborne thermal infrared (TIR) sensors in a sun-synchronous orbit (e.g., ASTER, Landsat TIRS) can be used to detect thermal surface temperature anomalies (or “hotspots”) associated with geothermal systems. Up to now, detection of geothermal anomalies from spaceborne sensors appears restricted to the most optimal circumstances, where anomalies are large in size (compared to sensor’s pixel size) and show considerably higher temperatures than the background values.

In this research project you will utilize NASA’s ECOSTRESS mission on the International Space Station in a novel way to investigate thermal hotspots in soils and rocks at the Earth’s surface. You will use the specific orbit of the ISS to develop an innovative processing chain that investigates anomalous cooling behaviour of the surfaces in the study areas in nighttime thermal time series as in indication of geothermal hotspots. In the second part of the research you will combine ECOSTRESS time series data with geostationary weather satellite datasets through a spatial modelling approach. This merged product will provide a super-temporal resolution time series, with the high spatial details from ECOSTRESS data, corrected for the general temperature trend by high temporal resolution data from the weather satellites.

In all parts of the research, the possibility of roll-out to a near-global detection system is essential. This will inspire the tools and materials that you will develop. You will also communicate your results to scientific peers (ISI journals; ECOSTRESS user community; conferences) as well as to practitioners (e.g. geothermal companies) through stakeholder meetings, and creation of short-courses or online tutorials.

This position is linked to the 3-year research project Geothermal hotspot detection from Space Station-based ECOSTRESS data (GeoHot) funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO).


You are a remote sensing specialist with experience in quantitative signal processing techniques in the thermal infrared domain.

You have:

  • a PhD in remote sensing, meteorology or physics (preferably with a strong thermal infrared component, and with experience in advanced image / signal / data processing, and in extracting quantitative parameters of our physical environment)
  • Experience with handling large and complex datasets through programming and / or scripting solutions
  • An aptitude for quantitative empirical analysis techniques, including for example machine learning
  • An excellent command of English and proven track record in scientific writing and publishing of your research results in high-end international journals in the field
  • A willingness to travel to international field study sites on different continents

Knowledge on one, or more, of the following topics would be a bonus:

  • Advanced programming and scripting skills with Python
  • Knowledge of geothermal systems, the solid earth and its vegetation cover
  • Strong team work and project management skills

There are opportunities to advise MSc and PhD graduate students, and teach graduate courses in your speciality.

We offer

We offer you an inspiring multidisciplinary and challenging international and academic environment. The university offers a dynamic ecosystem with enthusiastic colleagues in which internationalisation is an important part of the strategic agenda.

You will be employed for 3 years. Salary and conditions will be in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO-NU) of the Dutch Universities.

  • Gross monthly salary between € 2,790.- and € 4,402.- depending on experience and qualifications in case of fulltime employment (job profile Researcher level 4).
  • A holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and a year-end bonus of 8.3%;
  • A solid pension scheme;
  • A minimum of 41 holiday days in case of fulltime employment;
  • Excellent support for research and facilities for professional and personal development
  • Costs for moving to Enschede may be reimbursed.

Information and application

Additional information about this position can be obtained from Dr. Chris Hecker (e-mail: You are also invited to visit our homepage.

Please submit your application before 14 November 2020 (choose “apply now” below). Your application has to include (i) a motivation letter clearly stating how you meet the selection criteria and also outlining your research interests, and (ii) a detailed CV with references. Applications that do not include both documents will not be considered.

About the department

The Department of Earth Systems Analysis of the faculty of Geo-information Science and Earth Observation at the University of Twente is looking for a postdoctoral researcher with experience in quantitative thermal infrared remote sensing for a project on the detection of geothermal anomalies on a regional to global scale. The Department of Earth Systems Analysis combines Earth science knowledge with spatial modelling and advanced remote sensing to understand Earth processes in space and time. Our education and research contribute to the sustainable use of energy and Earth resources and help reduce disaster risk and the impact of natural hazards on society.

Position localisation

Job location

Nederland, Enschede, Drienerlolaan 5, 7522 NB


Drienerlolaan 5 7522 NB Enschede

Candidate criteria

Minimum level of education required

6. Doctorate

Scientific area

  • Natural sciences
  • Engineering
  • Agriculture