University of Wisconsin–Madison
Spatial Analysis For Conservation and Sustainability

2 Postdoc and 1 PhD position for statistical trend analyses with satellite data

Overview: As remote sensing has matured, there is a growing number of datasets that have both broad spatial extent and repeated observations over decades. These datasets provide unprecedented ability to detect broad-scale changes in the world through time, and to forecast changes into the future. However, rigorously testing for patterns in these datasets, and confidently making forecasts, require a solid statistical foundation that is currently missing.

Our project will develop new statistical tools to analyze large, remotely sensed datasets that will give rigor to conclusions about patterns of past changes, and confidence to forecasts of future change. We will test our statistical methods with AVHRR/GIMMS3g, MODIS, AMSR-E, JAXA/JASMES, and Landsat data at global and regional scales to demonstrate the feasibility and highlight the value of our approach to the remote sensing community at large.

Positions: The project involves four faculty: Tony Ives (Integrative Biology, UW-Madison, is a theoretical ecologist; Volker Radeloff (Forest and Wildlife Ecology, UW-Madison, uses remote sensing to address broad-scale ecological questions; Jun Zhu (Statistics, UW-Madison) specializes in spatial statistics; and Fangfang Wang (Mathematical Sciences, Worcester Polytechnic Institute) specializes in time-series analyses. Of the positions in this announcement, one postdoc and the PhD student will focus on remote sensing analyses and be supervised by V. Radeloff. The other postdoc will focus on applied statistical analyses and be supervised by T. Ives.

UW-Madison is a major research university in the United States ranking consistently among the top twenty universities in research in the USA. It has a long history of excellence in remote sensing, statistics, and ecology. It is an exciting place to learn and conduct research. The city of Madison ranks as one of the top places in the U.S. to live and work. For information about campus and city, please see

We are offering the postdoctoral positions for two years. The appointment will be as a research associate. Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience, and health benefits are included.

We are offering the PhD graduate assistantship for three years. The student will be appointed as a research assistant with a stipend of $24,816 per year plus health benefits and tuition remission.

We seek to fill all positions by 1 January, 2020, but a later start date is negotiable.

Qualifications: We are looking candidates who work well in an interdisciplinary, collaborative setting and have excellent communication and writing skills in English. Candidates for the remote-sensing postdoc and graduate student should have demonstrated skills in the processing and handling of large datasets, satellite image processing, statistical modeling, and GIS; knowledge of R, Python, and Google Earth Engine, and experience with the abovementioned satellite dataset are advantages. Candidates for the applied statistics postdoc should have broad experience designing and using statistics to solve biological problems; experience developing R packages is a plus.

Applicants for the post-doc positions must have completed their PhD at the time of appointment and have published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Applicants for the PhD student position must have a completed a BS. A MS by the time of appointment is desired, but candidates with equivalent experience will be considered.

To apply: Please submit your application here:

Submitting an application includes filling out a small survey which takes approximately 15 minutes. It requires contact information for three references and an upload in PDF format including:

– a 2-page cover letter summarizing research interests and experiences

– a Curriculum Vitae

– for PhD applicants: unofficial undergraduate and graduate transcripts

After reviewing applicants, reference letters and official transcripts (PhD candidate) will be required for shortlisted candidates.

The positions are open to both U.S. citizens and citizens of other countries. UW-Madison will assist with visa applications as necessary. The University of Wisconsin-Madison is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. We promote excellence through diversity and encourage all qualified individuals to apply.

Review and interviews of applicants will begin immediately, and we encourage early applications, but the positions will remain open until a suitable candidate is found. Applications received by 31 October, 2019, are guaranteed consideration.