PhD Position in Earth Observation and Remote Sensing

100%, Zurich, fixed-term

A PhD student is sought from autumn/winter 2022 for a research project at the Chair of Earth Observation and Remote Sensing, Institute of Environmental Engineering,
at ETH Zurich on Exploration of bistatic Radar Signals in natural environments.

Job description

The research focuses on the exploration of bistatic radar signals for applications in natural environments. Nowadays more and more radar satellites will be operating in the bistatic mode, where an incidence angle between the transmission and reception component of a sensor exists and therefore due to the different looking direction a particular signal is received. The particular signal is different depending on the illuminated surface and needs to be interpreted. The interpretation is done using object-oriented models describing in a generalised way the natural scene. However, today the understanding of the bistatic signal and the development of models for their interpretation is in the beginning of the research and an up to date topic for exploration. A ground-based system, KAPRI, is available that will provide insights into the signals and can be used for validation of the model. In addition, the interpretation of data acquired by a polarimetric bistatic system for natural media (e.g. snow, ice, crop, vegetation) is the topic of research and holds potential for further exploration. The objective of the position is to perform research of bistatic radar signals in natural environments. For this process further technical development of the KAPRI system is probably required. The expected start of the position is in Autumn/Winter 2022.

Your profile

We are looking for someone who is interested in technical system development and the application of it to a natural environment. You should hold a master’s degree or a diploma in electrical engineering, geomatics engineering, geophysics, computational science or a related field with a background in digital signal processing. You have strong analytical skills and programming experience in Matlab, Python, C/C++, or equivalent. Prior experience in working with large data sets will be highly advantageous for the project. You need to be willing to set up the ground-based radar and to operate it in remote natural environments within Switzerland. Fluency in English is required (oral and written), and it is essential that you are willing to work in a multidisciplinary and international research team.You should hold a valid driver’s license (European Cat. B).

Your workplace

We offer

A position in an attractive research environment within a young, highly motivated, and international research team.

Working, teaching and research at ETH Zurich

We value diversity

In line with our values, ETH Zurich encourages an inclusive culture. We promote equality of opportunity, value diversity and nurture a working and learning environment in which the rights and dignity of all our staff and students are respected. Visit our Equal Opportunities and Diversity website to find out how we ensure a fair and open environment that allows everyone to grow and flourish.

Curious? So are we.

We look forward to receiving your online application including:

  • a cover letter that describes the candidate’s motivation and research experience,
  • a full CV,
  • academic transcripts/list of courses completed or on-going, including grades,
  • a digital copy (PDF) of the master’s thesis,
  • name and address / contact details of two referees.

Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered. 

For further information, please, contact Prof. Irena Hajnsek; or Marcel Stefko; (no applications by e-mail) or visit our website:

About ETH Zürich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.