Mapping and monitoring by EO satellite the host landscape for the operational wheat rust disease early warning system in Ethiopia

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In the context of an innovative research project supported by European Space Agency (ESA) and CIMMYT, the Research Laboratory in Geomatics of the Earth and Life Institute, Université catholique de Louvain, seeks qualified and highly motivated candidates to join its research team for

Mapping and monitoring by EO satellite the host landscape for the operational wheat rust disease early warning system in Ethiopia (12 months position or 24 months PhD fellowship).

Ethiopia is the largest wheat producer in sub–Saharan Africa, but also a hot spot for wheat rust diseases. Based on wheat rust surveillance on the ground, the Ethiopian Wheat Rust Early Warning and Advisory System (EWAS) was established by a consortium of national and international partners including Cambridge University, UK Met Office, and CIMMYT. This job will contribute to integrate information derived from satellite Earth Observation to enhance the advanced meteorologicallydriven spore dispersal and epidemiological models to forecast in-season disease risk.

Job description

The successful applicant will join a motivated team of young researchers in charge of research and development of innovative wheat monitoring application using the optical and possibly radar Copernicus Sentinels time series along with Planet datasets. In close partnership with CIMMYT and Cambridge University, this research activity will capitalize on a set of open source toolboxes coordinated by our lab, i.e. Sen2Agri and Sen4Stat to develop innovative solutions to enhance the operational wheat rust disease early warning system running in Ethiopia.

In the framework of the Sen4Rust project supported by the European Space Agency and CIMMYT, the new researcher will be in charge of different Sen4Rust activities for:

  • mapping from Sentinel and Planet satellites the wheat extent along the different seasons;
  • monitoring the wheat phenology and assess the potential for the rust disease severity mapping along the different seasons of the year;
  • coordinating the iterative integration of the EO-derived products in the spore dispersal and epidemiological models managed by Cambridge University.

*“Sen2Agri - Sentinel-2 for Agriculture" system was the first system providing the international user community with validated open source algorithms to process Sentinel-2 data in an operational manner.

**“Sen4Stat - Sentinels for the Agriculture Statistics” system is developed on the request of FAO and World Bank to support the use of EO data to enhance the national agricultural statistics in various countries around the world.


The applicants will be:

  • graduated in bioengineering, agricultural engineer, or geoinformation science;
  • trained in remote sensing and geomatics with good programming skills;
  • fluent in French and English;
  • motivated for applied research;
  • able to actively contribute to an international collaborative work.

Additional experiences in crop monitoring using satellite remote sensing, in advanced image processing, in field measurement for various cropping systems, and knowledge of Python and R programming are most welcomed.

Applications by PhD holders are also most welcome as the position could be adjusted accordingly.


The interested candidates are invited to send a curriculum vitae and a motivation letter by email to Brigitte Bedoret (Brigitte.Bedoret @, cc Pierre.Defourny @ as soon as possible and not later than the 25th August 2022

to Pr. Pierre Defourny UCLouvain \ ELIe_Geomatics Croix du Sud, 2 bte L5.07.16 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium)