PhD scholarship on: Characterizing Worldwide Bushfire from Space

Image credit: NASA Climate Change/YouTubeExtreme weather events have increased considerably in the last twenty years worldwide. The second half of 2019 alone witnessed intense bushfires in Australia, Amazon and Siberia, with significant effects on the regional environmental quality, human health and economy. Better understanding the processes and mechanisms of these events in the past will improve our prediction capacity in the future. Satellites can regularly observe various aspects of weather characteristics, e.g. rainfall, radiation, atmospheric conditions, surface temperature, soil moisture, groundwater, vegetation dynamics and active fires, at regional to global scales. These huge volumes of data provide us an opportunity to answer a series of challenging questions. Can we detect detailed vegetation dynamics under the thick smoke during the bushfire? How unique is the Australian bushfire during 2019-2020 compared with others in the 21st century? Are these 2019 bushfires in Australia, Amazon and Siberia inter-connected? Do they have common characteristics prior to the bushfires, e.g. early warning signs?          


To address these challenges, applications are invited for the above mentioned PhD scholarships starting from 2022. The PhDs will be supervised by Dr Yi Liu (UNSW) with full support from the Surveying and Geospatial Engineering (SAGE) group and the Water Research Centre (WRC) at UNSW. The PhDs will be based primarily at the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UNSW, with opportunities for spending considerable time at CSIRO and ANU in Canberra, as well as stints overseas for conferences and training visits.


Applicants with civil and environmental engineering, geospatial engineering, hydrology or other Earth science related background are encouraged to apply. The value of these scholarships will be ~$30,000 per annum (tax free) for up to 3.5 years. Additional top-up stipend (up to 6k per year) will be given to the candidate who is successful in securing their own primary scholarship. Both domestic and international applicants are welcome.  General information regarding the application and scholarships can be found from UNSW Graduate Research ( You can also direct any enquiries to Dr Yi Liu ( with a subject heading “Bushfire from Space PhD scholarship”.

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