Project Officer for detecting forest disturbances using remote sensing

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Organisation: European Commission

As the science and knowledge service of the Commission, the mission of DG Joint Research Centre is to support EU policies with independent evidence throughout the whole policy cycle.

The JRC is located in 5 Member States (Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain). Further information is available here.

Job description

The vacancy is within the JRC’s Bio-Economy Unit, (located in Ispra, Italy), which provides scientific support to EU policies related to the bio-economy, including on the sustainable management of forests and forest resources by developing a knowledge base to protect this natural capital and the services it provides.

The European Commission is looking for a scientist to track the state of European forest ecosystems, particularly in protected areas, by developing methods that use remote sensing data, acquired from both space and airborne platforms, to detect forest cover loss, mismanagement, disturbances, and stress.

The successful candidate will use big-data analysis techniques and deep learning methods to analyze mostly optical remote sensing data to detect changes to forests from scales of individual trees to the whole of Europe. Insights gained from these analyses will be compared with ground-based inventories.

The scientist is expected to publish the outcomes of their research and to interact with other JRC teams, as well as with external collaborators, that use remote sensing to understanding the dynamics and management of Earth’s natural resources.


The ideal candidate has a PhD in environmental sciences, Earth observation, forestry, ecology, geography, ecosystem modelling or a related field (or a University degree and 5 years of experience after the university degree giving access to doctoral studies).

The following would be considered essential:

  • Experience with the processing of large sets of Earth Observation data and other environmental or climate data; 
  • Technical expertise in programming, including with scripting languages like R and/or Python.

Experience in the fields of remote sensing of vegetation, forestry, or disturbances ecology and familiarity with EU policies and initiatives related to forests will be considered an asset.

Relevant publications and presentations are important and should be highlighted. Excellent writing and presentation skills, with good knowledge of spoken and written English (B2) are required.