PhD scholarship within estimation of site productivity using remotely sensed data

Deadline: 25.05.2021

Norwegian University of Life Sciences

NMBU has a particular responsibility for research and education that secures the basis for the life of future generations. Sustainability is rooted in everything we do and we deliver knowledge for life. NMBU has 1,800 employees of which about 250 phd scholarships and 6,000 students. The university is divided into seven faculties.

NMBU believes that a good working environment is characterised by diversity.

We encourage qualified candidates to apply regardless of gender, functional ability, cultural background or whether you have been outside the labour market for a period. If necessary, workplace adaptations will be made for persons with disabilities.

More information about NMBU is available at www.nmbu.no.

About The Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Natural Resource Management

The Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Natural Resource Management (MINA) works with nature and the environment, sustainable use of natural resources, biological and geological processes.

MINA’s employees undertake teaching, research and dissemination within the fields of geology, hydrology and limnology, soil science, environmental chemistry, forestry, ecology, natural resource management, renewable energy, and nature-based tourism.

Our vision is to be a key actor in knowledge production and dissemination, and our goal is to deliver research of high, international quality, and varied and excellent teaching. The faculty’s employees are significant participants within their respective fields of expertise, both nationally and internationally. The faculty is dominated by a vital research culture and high levels of scientific production.

The faculty has about 200 employees, 90 PhD students and 650 students.

Read more about MINA here

Are you interested in how advanced remote sensing technology can be applied to have detailed information on forest production potential?

About the position

Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Natural Resource Management (MINA) at Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), has a vacant 3-year PhD position related to the use of multi-temporal remotely sensed data for estimating forest productivity (site index).

Site index is a measure of forest productivity and represents fundamental information for forest management decisions and forecasting. Thus, site index information is important both for forest owners and for public authorities forming forest policies. In recent years, giant leaps in terms of improving the determination of site index have been made, using height growth estimated from bi-temporal, 3D remotely sensed (RS) data. The PhD student will be central in making further improvements to this system in close collaboration with senior researchers. Specifically, the research will be related to improvements of methods for identification of areas that are not suitable for site index estimation using multi-temporal RS data, analyses of how different RS data can be combined, the handling of forest areas where the development of dominant height is affected by management or shallow soils, estimation of uncertainty, and expansion of the system to large-scale regional and national applications.

Improvements to the estimation of site index is a central task of the recently established “SmartForest” Centre of Research-based Innovation, led by Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO), where NMBU is the main partner from the university sector.

The applicant is made aware that an application for a PhD position at NMBU is at the same time an application for admission to a PhD programme at the institution.

Main tasks

  • Development of methods for classification of forest with special attention to how different area categories should be treated in the estimation of site index.
  • Development of a system for site index estimation based on RS data from multiple points in time (more than two) and from multiple RS data sources.
  • Estimation of uncertainty of site index estimates at relevant spatial levels.
  • Analyses related to large scale applications.

The successful candidate is expected to enter a plan for the progress of the work towards a PhD degree during the first months of the appointment, with a view to completing a doctorate within the PhD scholarship period.


The successful applicant must meet the conditions defined for admission to a PhD programme at NMBU. The applicant must have an academically relevant education corresponding to a five-year Norwegian degree programme, where 120 credits are at master's degree level. The applicant must have a documented strong academic background from previous studies and be able to document proficiency in both written and oral English. For more detailed information on the admission criteria please see the PhD Regulations and the relevant PhD programme description.

Required Academic qualifications:

  • Master’s degree in forest sciences

The following experiences and skills will be emphasized:

  • Competence in statistical methods
  • Competence in sampling-based forest inventory
  • Competence in forest management and primary forest production
  • Field work experience related to forest inventory

You need to:

  • be strongly motivated and committed
  • be creative and have the ability to work result-oriented, accurate and structured
  • have analytical ability
  • have the ability to work independently as well as in a team
  • be proficient in both written and oral communication

Remuneration and further information

The position is placed in government pay scale position code 1017 PhD Fellow. PhD Fellows are normally placed in pay grade 54 (NOK 482.200, -) on the Norwegian Government salary scale upon employment and follow ordinary meriting regulations.

Employment is conducted according to national guidelines for University and Technical College PhD scholars.

For further information, please contact:

Information for PhD applicants and general Information to applicants


To apply online for this vacancy, please click on the 'Apply for this job' button above. This will route you to the University's Web Recruitment System, where you will need to register an account (if you have not already) and log in before completing the online application form.

Application deadline: 25.05.2021

The following documents must be attached to the application:

  • Motivation letter
  • Complete CV
  • Certified copies of academic diplomas and certificates. Applicants from universities outside Norway are kindly requested to send a diploma supplement, or a similar document, which describes in detail the study program and grading system. Diplomas/certificates (i.e. Diploma, transcript. Diploma supplement for both bachelor and master).
  • Documentation of proficiency in written and oral English.
  • Names and contact details for two references
  • Additional relevant documentation of professional knowledge (for example, list of scientific works).
  • Confirmation that information and documentation submitted via the job application can also be used by NMBU in a possible admission process

Applicants invited for an interview are expected to present original diplomas and certificates.

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