PhD Fellowship in crop water stress monitoring using thermal infra red and other optical remote sensing sensors


Organisation: <a href="">SPHERES Research Unit, Université de Liège</a> and the <a href="">Earth and Life Institute, Université Catholique de Louvain</a>

The SPHERES Research Unit of the University of Liège and the Geomatics Research Lab of the Earth and Life Institute, Université de Louvain, invite applications for a 4-year fully funded PhD fellowship on plant water stress monitoring using thermal IR and other optical remote sensing sensors.

The research will be conducted in the framework of a larger project, Win4Space, funded by the Win4Excellence program of Wallonia. This program is designed to support promising research and stimulate strong collaborations between universities in cutting-edge research fields and technological projects with high economic impacts for Wallonia. The Win4Space project aims to exploit the potential of New Space to meet societal challenges of managing the human footprint on the environment by providing intelligent management and monitoring of human activity through constellations of small satellites.


Recent researches on crop stress monitoring by remote sensing using thermal infrared and hyperspectral remote sensing data show enormous potential. They combine mechanistic mathematical models, artificial intelligence, multisensor, multiband and multiresolution approaches. However, their operationality is still questioned due to the too weak frequency of satellite observation and, on the ground, the absence of systematic data for calibration and validation. A greater frequency of observation thanks to the constellations of SmallSats equipped with ad-hoc instruments will address this current shortcoming in an original and innovative way and should allow monitoring of cultivated ecosystems with fully operational remote sensing methods.

Objective and method

The research aims to develop the thermal infrared component in the multi-sensor monitoring of crop water stress within the Win4Space project. The proposal will have to take into consideration the greatest frequency of possible observations thanks to the SmallSats.

Required qualification and skills

The team welcomes applications from junior scientists having a MSc degree in bioengineering, civil engineering, geomatics, physical geography, hydrology, environment or related scientific discipline. Successful applicants should be willing to work as part of a multidisciplinary team, and have excellent written and oral communication skills in English and at least a basic understanding of French.


The application should be sent in one single PDF including a motivation letter, a curriculum vitae and contact information for two referees. Review of applications is open until October 15.

Applications are accepted through email to, and (indicating ‘PhD student Win4space’ as subject).

The Institution

The candidate will be hosted at the Water-Environment-Development Laboratory of ULiège in the Campus of Arlon. Additional information on the site and research team is available here and here.


The candidate will be co-supervised by

  • Pr. Bernard Tychon, UR SPHERES, Water-Environment-Development Laboratory, ULiège and
  • Pr. Pierre Defourny, Earth and Life Institute, Environmental Sciences, Geomatics Research Lab