June 2018
Message 86

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[Met-jobs] PhD studentship with Industry CASE partner

From "Boesch, Hartmut (Prof.)" <>
To "" <>
Date Wed, 27 Jun 2018 10:46:47 +0000

PhD studentship at University of Leicester with Industry CASE partner 2Excel Aviation Ltd on the topic of Crop health monitoring from advanced airborne hyperspectral sensing


To ensure good agricultural productivity, the health of crops as well as potential crop infestations needs to be assessed. Stress can be the result of water deficiencies or of infestation of insects, fungi etc. which need to be detected to allow early mitigation by farmers. Productivity will also vary due to local growth differences, for example from soil nutrient deficiencies.

Remote sensing is one of the key technologies that can help to allow farmers to identify areas which are experiencing difficulties and to decide on the best intervention to improve crop yield but also to reduce the impact on the environment. Remote sensing provides also important data needed for the development and testing crop yield models as well as for research on the functioning of crops and impact of climatic variations on plants.

Hyperspectral imaging from airborne (aircraft and drone) platforms is one of the key technologies for detecting, identifying and characterising surface features providing a wealth of information on crops and crops health. These instruments are highly flexible and cost efficient and the acquired information is on a sub-meter scale not achievable with satellites.

However, the performance of current hyperspectral imaging systems is limited and there is an urgent need to advance such systems to produce more accurate, repeatable surface reflectance and subsequently more reliable information on surfaces and crops. This could be achieved by measuring downwelling solar irradiance which can then be used in conjunction with the imaging system to infer reflectances. This would be a significant advancement over existing systems.

We will work closely with 2Excel Aviation Ltd., a leader in the field of airborne hyperspectral imaging and the NERC Field Spectroscopy Facility who are experts in radiometric and spectral calibration. We expect that this new, combined up/downwelling system will enable improved applications of hyperspectral imaging which we will demonstrate making use of the field site network and ongoing activities of 2Excel Aviation. Our focus here will be on crop (and tree) health information which will be extracted from the improved hyperspectral reflectances using state-of-the art machine learning approaches.


For more information please go to or contact me directly (


Application deadline: 13 July 2018



Professor Hartmut Boesch

Head of Earth Observation Science and Divisional Director National Centre for Earth Observation


Department of Physics & Astronomy, Michael Atiyah Building, University of Leicester

Leicester, LE1 7RH, UK


t:  +44 116 252 2273







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