Lund University was founded in 1666 and is repeatedly ranked among the world’s top 100 universities. The University has 40 000 students and more than 8 000 staff based in Lund, Helsingborg and Malmö. We are united in our efforts to understand, explain and improve our world and the human condition.

The Faculty of Science conducts research and education within Biology, Astronomy, Physics, Geosciences, Chemistry, Mathematics and Environmental Sciences. The Faculty is organized into nine departments, gathered in the northern campus area. The Faculty has approximately 1500 students, 330 PhD students and 700 employees.

Subject description

Global warming is accelerating snow-glacier retreat and shifting hydrology in cold regions, which affects sustainable development of downstream residents. There is a need for improved knowledge of snow-glacier dynamics and their impacts on hydrology. Hydrological modelling and satellite remote sensing are important tools to help us achieve this need. However, representation and evaluation of internal hydrological processes (e.g. snow-glacier dynamics and evapotranspiration over permafrost) in hydrological modelling is often limited by the lack of in-situ data. Satellite remote sensing provides free observations that can be used to derive snow-glacier extents and evapotranspiration, as well as other surface energy and water balance components, but the accuracy of satellite-based estimates vary and needs to be validated and ideally further improved by developing advanced algorithms and/or innovative model-data fusion framework. This project will work on investigating the added value of satellite earth observations for improving hydrological modelling in cold regions.

This project will focus on several well-gauged catchments in Tibetan Plateau and Northern Sweden, but other cold regions with good data availability could also be considered. Team members of this project will intensively collaborate with international scientists (particularly experts in hydrology of Tibetan Plateau). Field visits to cold regions in Tibetan Plateau/Northern Sweden and academic visits to relevant institutes in China/Sweden are also planned.

Work duties

The PhD candidate will carry out research within the funded research projects by STINT (Joint China-Sweden Mobility grant) and the Crafoord Foundation. The candidate will be supervised by senior scientists at the department. Main tasks for the PhD candidate include

  • Development and evaluation of novel satellite-based retrieval algorithms for snow-glacier extents and evapotranspiration (other water balance components, e.g. water level, discharge, can also be considered) over cold regions
  • Improving our recently developed flexible hydrological model (FLEXG-∆h, see the reference Gao, H., Li, H., Duan, Z., Ren, Z., Meng, X., & Pan, X. (2018). Modelling glacier variation and its impact on water resource in the Urumqi Glacier No. 1 in Central Asia. Science of The Total Environment, 644, 1160-1170.). Other widely used hydrological models will also be tested and compared in the same study areas
  • Integrating satellite estimates to hydrological modelling through various advanced data-model fusion frameworks.

The main duties of doctoral students are to devote themselves to their research studies which includes participating in research projects and third cycle courses. The work duties can also include teaching and other departmental duties (no more than 20%).

Admission requirements

A person meets the general admission requirements for third-cycle courses and study programmes if he or she:

  • has been awarded a second-cycle qualification, or
  • has satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the second cycle, or
  • has acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad.

Additional requirements:

  • M.Sc. in Physical Geography, Geomatics, Environmental Science, or a similar topic
  • Good skills in hydrological modelling and programming (e.g. Matlab, Python or R)
  • Good skills in remote sensing. Proven experience in processing satellite data (particularly Landsat, MODIS, and Sentinel-1/2, satellite altimeters) is an advantage
  • Good oral and written proficiency in English.
  • Good communication skills and ability to work independently and in a group.
  • Demonstrated experience in model calibration and advanced data assimilation would be an advantage.
  • Demonstrated experience in writing academic papers in related research fields would be an advantage.

Assessment criteria

Selection for third-cycle studies is based on the student’s potential to profit from such studies. The assessment of potential is made primarily on the basis of academic results from the first and second cycle. Special attention is paid to the following:

  • Knowledge and skills relevant to the thesis project and the subject of study.
  • An assessment of ability to work independently and to formulate and tackle research problems.
  • Written and oral communication skills
  • Other experience relevant to the third-cycle studies, e.g. professional experience.

Consideration will also be given to good collaborative skills, drive and independence, and how the applicant, through his or her experience and skills, is deemed to have the abilities necessary for successfully completing the third cycle programme.

Terms of employment
Only those admitted to third cycle studies may be appointed to a doctoral studentship. Third cycle studies at LTH consist of full-time studies for 4 years. A doctoral studentship is a fixed-term employment of a maximum of 5 years (including 20% departmental duties). Doctoral studentships are regulated in the Higher Education Ordinance (1993:100), chapter 5, 1-7 §§.

Limit of tenure, four years according to HF 5 kap 7§.


The employment of doctoral students is regulated in the Swedish Code of Statues 1998: 80. Only those who are or have been admitted to PhD-studies may be appointed to doctoral studentships. When an appointment to a doctoral studentship is made, the ability of the student to benefit from PhD-studies shall primarily be taken into account. In addition to devoting themselves to their studies, those appointed to doctoral studentships may be required to work with educational tasks, research and administration, in accordance with specific regulations in the ordinance.

Instructions on how to apply

Applications shall be written in English and include a cover letter stating the reasons why you are interested in the position and in what way the research project corresponds to your interests and educational background. The application must also contain a CV, degree certificate or equivalent, and other documents you wish to be considered (grade transcripts, contact information for your references, letters of recommendation, etc.).

Lund University welcomes applicants with diverse backgrounds and experiences. We regard gender equality and diversity as a strength and an asset. We kindly decline all sales and marketing contacts.

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Apply By:
15 September 2020