PHD Position in Transformative Technologies and Smart Watersheds Project
University of Waterloo Ecohydrology Research Group

PHD Position in Transformative Technologies and Smart Watersheds Projec

Opportunity: Estimation of snow water equivalent from airborne Ku and L-band SAR


Start date: 1 September 2019 or before

A fully funded four year PhD position is available in the ‘Transformative Sensor Technologies and Smart Watersheds for Canadian Water Futures’ project (TTSW) at the University of Waterloo. The position is part of Global Water Futures: Solutions to Water Threats in an Era of Global Change, a large collaborative initiative involving multiple Canadian universities and partner organizations. TTSW aims to develop, test, and employ advanced terrestrial, sub-orbital, and satellite remote sensing tools targeted to support research regarding the emerging spectrum of water-related issues throughout cold regions.


More Information

The objective of this PhD project will be to better quantify large-scale distributions of snow water equivalent (SWE) on land across various regions of Canada. In this project, a unique Ku and L-band SAR system called CryoSAR, under procurement through a successful CFI grant, will be deployed in different environments in Canada. The aim of this project is to demonstrate the capabilities of airborne imaging Ku and L-band SAR to create local to regional maps of SWE over several different domain types (tundra, prairie, maritime, alpine, and forested). The remote sensing science will focus on backscatter SAR signatures from these domains and explore InSAR opportunities. The candidate will have access to a unique facility with remote sensing data that are considered highly desirable for novel cold region observation studies.


The successful candidate will work under the supervision of Professor Richard Kelly through his Theoretical and Applied Earth Observation Science Lab, and will collaborate with researchers and private partner organizations for the airborne deployment of CryoSAR during dedicated field campaigns at selected sites from our network of instrumented observatories.



Ideally, the successful candidate will have a strong background in quantitative remote sensing science, preferably with an understanding of Earth system science processes, especially hydrological science. You should hold a degree in geographical science, geophysics, Earth science or engineering will be ideal. The candidate should have strong analytical capabilities with a high degree of comfort across coding environments such as C, Python, R, IDL, Matlab or other programming languages commonly used in remote sensing. Strong communication skills are essential and the candidate should be able to work both independently and within a group setting both in field environments and in the lab.


Full funding is available for four years, pending satisfactory progress through the PhD program.


Application Instructions

Interested applicants should submit a cover letter stating their motivation and expectations. In addition, a curriculum vitae, unofficial transcripts, and contact information for three references should be included in a single .pdf file and sent to Dr.Richard Kelly with [PhD-TTSW-RichardKelly] in the subject line.


We thank all applicants for their interest, however, only selected candidates will be contacted.

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