Postdoc LiDAR remote sensing for EU habitat condition mapping

Faculteit/Dienst:  Faculteit der Natuurw., Wiskunde & Informatica
Opleidingsniveau:  Gepromoveerd
Functie type:  Wetenschappelijk Personeel
Sluitingsdatum:  4 september 2022
Vacaturenummer:  9920



The EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030 and the forthcoming EU Nature Restoration Plan require to protect nature and restore habitats and species. To enable the cost-efficient nature management and monitoring of biodiversity and ecosystems, common methods need to be developed for assessing the condition of the EU’s habitats. Are you a researcher with experience in LiDAR remote sensing for ecological applications? Can you derive high-resolution LiDAR metrics of vegetation and terrain for measuring habitat condition at the landscape scale? Are you interested in processing LiDAR point clouds using High Performance Computing (HPC) pipelines and parallel and distributed computing on remote (cloud) infrastructures? The Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) of the University of Amsterdam (UvA), The Netherlands is looking for an ambitious Postdoc who is interested to develop, test and deliver site-specific (e.g. Nature 2000), but EU consistent, habitat condition metrics derived from airborne LiDAR and drone data. The idea is to apply and further develop processing pipelines that will work with locally relevant LiDAR and/or drone data but deliver landscape-level indicators of habitat condition that are consistent across the EU, enabling both local and EU-wide reporting to the Habitat Directive and other EU legislative frameworks. Your research is part of a new Horizon Europe research and innovation action called MAMBO (Modern approaches to the monitoring of biodiversity) which is funded by the European Commission for the next four years (9/2022–9/2026). Your daily work will be embedded in the Biogeography & Macroecology (BIOMAC) lab of the Department Theoretical and Computational Ecology (TCE) at IBED, but you will interact with an international team of researchers across Europe. The successful candidate should also be able to interact and collaborate with scientific developers, computer scientists and software engineers of Virtual Research Environments (VREs) and Virtual Laboratories for ecological applications in biodiversity and ecosystem science, e.g. in the context of the Virtual Laboratory & Innovations Centre (VLIC) of LifeWatch ERIC.


What are you going to do


You will advance the automated calculation of LiDAR metrics for EU habitat condition assessments based on country-wide airborne laser scanning surveys or site-specific drone flight campaigns.


You are expected to:

  • contribute to review habitat condition metrics delivered through LiDAR/drone remote sensing, with relevance for conservation action, land management and EU-wide habitat and biodiversity monitoring
  • develop and calculate (very) high-resolution LiDAR metrics of vegetation and terrain for Natura2000 sites based on country-wide or site-specific LiDAR surveys, using an efficient, scalable, and distributed high-throughput workflow (Laserfarm) and its associated free and open source cross-platform Python tool (Laserchicken), and adapting interactive Jupyter Notebooks (see example) for execution on remote (cloud) infrastructures
  • assess and analyse the interoperability and characteristics of different LiDAR datasets (e.g. accessibility, data formats, point densities, acquisition time and frequency, number of returns, and available pre-classifications) for upscaling to larger areas and how this might influence metric calculation
  • contribute to identifying the user requirements for a future cloud-based virtual lab for ecological applications of LiDAR point clouds
  • publish in international peer-reviewed journals and present at conferences and project meetings
  • actively pursue collaborations with relevant stakeholders and project partners.


What do you have to offer


Your experience and profile

  • A PhD in LiDAR, remote sensing, physical geography, Earth science, landscape ecology or a closely related field;
  • Interest, passion and experience in LiDAR, ecology, computational ecology and Earth observation;
  • Exceptional quantitative skills and profound experience in processing LiDAR point clouds (e.g. scripting/programming in Python) and handling of remote sensing datasets;
  • Familiarity with Jupyter Notebooks and computational workflows;
  • Willingness to work in a multidisciplinary team (remote sensing, ecology, computer science; software engineering);
  • Proficiency in scientific writing;
  • Ability to speak and communicate in English at an academic level;
  • Successful and strong track-record of publications


It is a preference if you additionally have experience in High Performance Computing (HPC) processing pipelines and parallel and distributed computing.


Our offer


We offer a temporary employment contract for 38 hours per week for a period of 24 months. The preferred starting date is as soon as possible.


The gross monthly salary, based on 38 hours per week and dependent on relevant experience, ranges between € 2.960,- to € 4.670,- (scale 10). This does not include 8% holiday allowance and 8,3% year-end allowance. The UFO profile Researcher, level 4 (Post doc Researcher) is applicable. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Universities of the Netherlands is applicable.


Besides the salary and a vibrant and challenging environment at Science Park we offer you multiple fringe benefits:

  • 232 holiday hours per year (based on fulltime) and extra holidays between Christmas and 1 January;
  • multiple courses to follow from our Teaching and Learning Centre;
  • a complete educational program for PhD students;
  • multiple courses on topics such as leadership for academic staff;
  • multiple courses on topics such as time management, handling stress and an online learning platform with 100+ different courses;
  • 7 weeks birth leave (partner leave) with 100% salary;
  • partly paid parental leave;
  • the possibility to set up a workplace at home;
  • a pension at ABP for which UvA pays two third part of the contribution;
  • the possibility to follow courses to learn Dutch;
  • help with housing for a studio or small apartment when you’re moving from abroad.


Are you curious to read more about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits, take a look here.


About us


The University of Amsterdam is the Netherlands' largest university, offering the widest range of academic programmes. At the UvA, 30,000 students, 6,000 staff members and 3,000 PhD candidates study and work in a diverse range of fields, connected by a culture of curiosity.


The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 8,000, as well as 1,800 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the functioning of the brain.


The Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics  is one of eight research institutes of the Faculty of Science at the University of Amsterdam. The research at IBED aims to unravel how ecosystems function in all their complexity, and how they change due to natural processes and human activities. At its core lies an integrated systems approach to study biodiversity, ecosystems and the environment. IBED adopts this systems approach to ecosystems, addressing abiotic (soil and water quality) and biotic factors (ecology and evolution of plants, animals, and microorganisms), and the interplay between those. The IBED vision includes research encompassing experimental and theoretical approaches at a wide variety of temporal and spatial scales, i.e. from molecules and microorganisms to patterns and processes occurring at the global scale. The position is embedded in the Department Theoretical and Computational Ecology (TCE) of IBED which focuses on understanding the complexity of ecological systems by using theoretical and advanced computational approaches. A key research focus is to address how organisms cope with changing environmental conditions and how nature and life is distributed across our planet. Within TCE, the position is embedded in the Biogeography & Macroecology (BIOMAC) lab (, a research group which aims to quantify how biodiversity and abiotic components of the Earth system vary across space and time, how they interact, and how responses of species and ecosystems to changing environmental conditions can be predicted and forecasted. The group covers a wide variety of scientific backgrounds, including ecology, data science, conservation science, physical geography, Earth science, and global change biology.


Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.




Do you have any questions or do you require additional information? Please contact:

  • Dr. W. Daniel Kissling Associate Professor of Quantitative Biodiversity Science


Job application


If you feel the profile fits you, and you are interested in the job, we look forward to receiving your application. You can apply online via the button below. We accept applications until and including 4 September 2022.


Applications should include the following information (all files besides your cv should be submitted in one single pdf file):


  • a motivation letter
  • a CV (with the months, not just years, when referring to your education and work experience), names of 2(-3) referees, and a list of publications;


Only complete applications received within the response period via the link below will be considered.


We will invite potential candidates for interviews soon after the closing date.


The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritize diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.


If you encounter Error GBB451/ GBC451, reach out to our HR Department directly. They will gladly help you continue your application.


No agencies please.