Thursday, 8 July 2010

PhD in Bioscience at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

PhD degree in Bioscience Engineering at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

Offer: A four-year funded research position (full fellowship) to obtain a PhD degree in Bioscience Engineering at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.

Domain: “Quantification of canopy structural effects on hyperspectral forest canopy signals”.

Project description and tasks:
This PhD project aims at identifying and quantifying forest canopies structural components that significantly impact the hyperspectral reflectance as captured by airborne sensors. Using detailed reference canopy structure data derived from terrestrial LiDAR from the frog’s and bird’s eye perspectives in combination with radiative transfer models, the standard two-dimensional character of hyperspectral imagery will be complemented by a third depth or vertical dimension to allow for improved feature extraction.

Tasks include among others (i) the design and testing of a LiDAR measurement set-up and data collection protocol under and above the canopy, (ii) the generation of algorithms to extract the relevant 3D vegetation structural parameters from the LiDAR data sets, (iii) the incorporation of those structural parameters in virtual canopy models implementing rendering techniques, and (iv) the identification of the canopy structural parameters that most influence the hyperspectral forest canopy signal. Based on the results of these tasks, a framework for extrapolating the findings from terrestrial to airborne LiDAR will be conceptualized.

The candidates must have a master’s degree in a scientific and/or engineering domain with strong interests in quantitative modelling, plant production systems and innovative technology.
He/She is motivated to obtain a PhD degree in the field of remote sensing of bio-responses. A major task is reporting the project results in international peer reviewed journals.
He/She must be able to speak and write English fluently. Working knowledge of the MATLAB programming environment is an advantage.

He/She is willing to perform field measurements and to travel abroad for scientific activities such as measurement campaigns, workshops, congresses, etc.

The starting date is as early as possible. For wages and more information on obtaining a PhD degree is referred to the K.U.Leuven websites: and


Day-to-day supervisor:

This PhD project focuses on the understanding of the interaction of solar radiation with structure elements of forest canopies and how this affects the hyperspectral reflectance captured by airborne sensors.

This PhD will be conducted in the framework of the HYPERFOREST project, funded by STEREOII programme of Belspo. The project partners are: VITO, University of Ghent, INBO, University of Zurich and the Gabriel Lippmann Institute of Luxemburg.

The academic promoter of this PhD project is Prof. Pol Coppin, K.U.Leuven.


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