PhD Scholarship in Drone Technology for Habitat Mapping

Страна: Дания;

Дедлайн: 15.11.2019



A PhD Scholarship in drone technology for habitat mapping is available at the National Institute of Aquatic Resources (DTU Aqua) with starting date February 2020.


The scholarship is part of a project aiming to develop new technologies for cost-effective monitoring of eelgrass in Danish waters. It is a project between the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and the University of Southern Denmark (SDU) and the project will be in close co-operation with both. On a daily basis, you will work in an active research environment based in Nykøbing Mors (Danish Shellfish Centre, DTU Aqua). An extensive exchange stay at SDU is planned as part of the PhD project.


Main supervisor: Jens Kjerulf Pedersen (DTU Aqua, Danish Shellfish Centre). Co-supervisors: Mette Møller Nielsen (DTU Aqua, Danish Shellfish Centre) and Mogens Flindt (SDU).


Project description

As a key indicator species for the assessment of marine water quality, the distribution of eelgrass is central in coastal water management. Currently, national monitoring of eelgrass is based on point specific coverages on predefined transects, whereas areal distribution only is considered in few specific cases. One example is environmental impact assessments (EIA´s) of bivalve fisheries, where eelgrass mapping is a central part. Current methods for eelgrass mapping are performed by video surveys that are heavy in both labor and costs and often have a low spatial resolution. Therefore, there is a need to develop cost-effective methods as alternatives to this current method.

The use of drones allows collection of large amounts of area-based and geo-referenced information in a short period of time, securing accurate and advanced ecosystem analysis. It is the main aim of the project to investigate the potential application of drone technology for eelgrass mapping in Danish waters and to develop standard methods for large scale monitoring.

In particular the PhD-candidate will focus on the following elements:

  • Development of cost-efficient methods for large scale mapping of eelgrass and benthic macroalgae using drone technology
  • Investigation of methods and technology for surveying environmental complicated areas with deep water and/or turbid waters with limited visibility
  • The quality of the spectral analysis of drone images will be tested against groundtruthing data
  • The scholarship will include a balanced workload of fieldwork and image analysis.


We expect that the applicant has experience in biology or biotechnology, and that you are willing to work in collaboration with colleagues as well as independently – in the lab as well as in the field.

We are looking for a candidate with the following expertise:

  • two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) in Aquatic Science & Technology or similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree.
  • Previous experience in marine, aquatic or ecological research
  • Proficiency in written and spoken English
  • Some experience in planning and conducting field work
  • Interest in research and for working within the field of marine and aquatic sciences

Furthermore, it is an advantage if the candidate has experience in GIS and drone technology.


Approval and Enrolment

The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide.



The assessment of the applicants will be led by Professor Jens Kjerulf Petersen, DTU Aqua.


Salary and appointment terms

The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.


You can read more about career paths at DTU here.


Workplace will be at DSC’s facilities in Nykøbing Mors.


You can read more about DTU Aqua at


Further information

Applicants seeking further information are invited to contact: Jens Kjerulf Petersen ( or Mette Møller Nielsen (


General information may be obtained from Rikke Hansen, (+45) 3588 3001



Please submit your online application no later than 15 November 2019


Applications must be submitted as one pdf file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online," fill in the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one pdf file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here)
  • Brief research proposal (1-2 pages) presenting ideas on how to address the research topics given in the short description of the PhD project above.

Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their master's degree, but cannot begin before having received it.


Applications and enclosures received after the deadline will not be considered.


All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are

encouraged to apply.


The purpose of DTU Aqua is to provide research, advice and education at the highest international level within the sustainable exploitation of living marine and freshwater resources, the biology of aquatic organisms and the dynamics of ecosystems as well as their integration in ecosystem-based management. DTU Aqua has 260 employees, of whom a third are scientific staff. The other employees are assistant biologists, laboratory technicians, IT employees, administrative staff, ship’s crew, student assistants etc. The institute is organized into eight scientific sections which carry out the research, educational and advisory activities. In addition, the institute has a number of scientific and administrative support functions, including the research vessel DANA. DTU Aqua has employees in Charlottenlund, Silkeborg, Nykøbing Mors and Hirtshals as well as on Dana. You can read more about DTU Aqua on


DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and scientific advice. Our staff of 6,000 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society, and our 11,200 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent university collaborating globally with business, industry, government and public agencies.