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Anrnav Sinha – Internship Blog Post 2022

What are you studying?

Computer Science

Tell us a bit about the project you have been working on this summer?

It was a project based on weather data and predicting the locations which require a weather station to be setup by the government depending on change in climate over the past years and population of the area.

What new skills have you learned while doing this internship?

Academically I learned more about python, working with huge datasets provided me some insights on how to analyse enormous data and different python packages required for doing the task. I also learned a lot of life skills from Daniel and how to go about planning my career.

How have you found working with your research team?

It was really good experience, and I loved the experience to work with such accomplished people.

What has been the highlight of the internship for you?

The way it has helped me develop my work ethic and realise how to go about high demanding tasks. Also, another thing I would like to mention is that I learnt how to search properly.

How has doing this internship changed your plans or thoughts about your future career?

Provided an impetus to think about working on a research paper.

Call for project ideas for a possible Cohort 4 NERC SENSE Earth Observation CDT PhD studentships

Deadline: 30th November 2022

We would like to announce a call for PhD project proposals, for a possible Cohort 4 of the SENSE Earth Observation CDT recruitment, for studentships starting October 2023. Please note we are making this announcement now so we can quickly proceed to recruitment should funding be confirmed.

The key facts are:

  • All PhD projects will focus on using Earth Observation data, with many projects also expected to make use of advanced computer techniques such as machine learning.
  • The number of projects advertised and students recruited will depend on funding however in previous rounds we advertised around 32 projects for 16 studentships.
    • Note, in order to ensure we maintain a good success rate for the advertised projects, not all submitted PhD proposals will be advertised.  
  • To encourage collaboration across the SENSE community, all supervisory teams must have co-supervisors from at least 2 SENSE institutes
    • Leeds, Edinburgh, BAS, NOC – we will provide support in linking you up
    • We welcome additional co-supervisors from other non-SENSE institutes
  • All students will be registered at the Universities of Edinburgh or Leeds (50/50 split)
  • All students will benefit from attending a comprehensive EO training programme in their first year and other training and cohort building opportunities during their PhD.
  • All students will undertake a 3-month industry placement
    • We have a number of industry partners who are interested in matching with academics and offering placements, and your own industry connections are welcomed 
  • Project proposal submission deadline is the 30th November 2022
  • To submit a prospective PhD proposal for the October 2023 cohort, please fill out this form 

SENSE’s recruitment committee will select the best projects that align with SENSE’s specific remit for advertisement should funding be confirmed. For further advice and top tips about how to submit a good SENSE PhD proposal, please see attached document: SENSE PhD proposal writing tips as well as the recruitment schedule below.

Prospective Recruitment Schedule

Because we have yet to receive confirmation of funding this is only a draft schedule. We would hope that we would be able to fit in with a similar schedule from previous recruitment rounds and match the universal acceptance CDT/DTP deadline of 15th March 2023.

  • Projects advertised – Early December 2022
  • Application deadline – Mid January 2023
  • Interviews and offers made beginning of March 2023
  • Cohort starts 1st October 2023

If you have any questions or if you’d like any support with your project proposal please get in touch with Arpna Virdi at Leeds (eo_cdt@leeds.ac.uk) or Eleanor Graham at Edinburgh (sense@ed.ac.uk ).

Information Event – Introduction to ESA Climate Office and Climate Change Initiative Fellowships – Wednesday 23rd November, 2pm(gmt)

Online event

The SENSE CDT is hosting an information event with staff from the European Space Agency (ESA) climate office. This will be of interest to researchers who are keen to work with the climate office and PhD students who may be interested in applying for a postdoctoral fellowship with ESA.

Please visit for further details:

Schedule for Event

Introduction to the Climate Office – what we do and how to best engage with us.

Using satellite-derived climate data products for research: examples from terrestrial carbon science.

Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP) at ESA: Linking EO to climate modelling activities.

ESA Climate Change Initiative (CCI) fellowships for post-doctoral research.

Experience of CCI fellowship from Dr Elisa Calamita

Elisa was awarded the ESA CCI (European Space Agency, Climate Change Initiative) Postdoctoral Research Fellowship for 24 months, which presently supports her position as a Postdoc at Eawag (Swiss Federal Institute of Science and Technology)

Q&A

This event will be held on teams – to sign up please use the link below

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/introduction-to-esa-climate-office-cci-fellowships-tickets-429167360127

The event is on Teams, joining details to be circulated closer to the time!

Thomas – Internship Blog Post 2022

What are you studying?

I am studying for a BSc in Computer Science at the University of Edinburgh. I am about to enter my third year, where I will be studying abroad at the University of California.

Tell us a bit about the project you have been working on this summer?

My project aims to take data collected from the NASA LVIS airborne LiDAR to study patterns of canopy cover in tropical forests. Through investigating these patterns, I hope to have answered two questions. My findings relating to the first question “What patch sizes do the very highest canopy covers occur in?” have implications for the design of a future LiDAR satellite instrument proposed by GLAMIS (Global LiDAR Altimetry Mission). I hope to formalise my findings relating to the second question “What maximum leaf area can a tropical rainforest support?” in an academic paper, with the aim of publishing it at the end of the year.

What new skills have you learned while doing this internship?

I learned many new skills while undertaking this internship – skills that are essentially either technical or transferable. On the technical side I learned a great deal about the Linux operating system and vastly improved my proficiency in python. I was also fortunate enough to audit two postgraduate courses – “Active Remote Sensing: Radar and LiDAR” and “Object Orientated Software Engineering: Spatial Algorithms”. Through studying these courses, I learned about LiDAR, novel programming approaches, and the use of QGIS (an application to analyse geospatial data). I was also able to develop several somewhat less tangible skills, such as problem solving, communication, and time management. The project was relatively independent, and at times, I found it quite challenging to keep to task when trying to solve problems – I overcame this by communicating effectively with my supervisor and being disciplined with how I managed my time.

How have you found working with your research team?

I found working with my supervisor Steve and several of his colleagues to be incredibly rewarding. Steve was very generous with his time – he was always attentive to my many questions and was very patient when there were aspects of the project that I did not understand. I feel very grateful to have had the opportunity to work alongside someone such as Steve – at times, it was very inspiring.

What has been the highlight of the internship for you?

The highlight of the internship was the chance to present some of my initial findings to the other REP interns in Edinburgh and Leeds – I really enjoyed meeting the other interns and seeing what they had to present.

How has doing this internship changed your plans or thoughts about your future career?

I think that this placement has led me to appreciate how challenging independent research projects can be, but also that at some point in the future I would like to take the chance to undertake one, or perhaps to at least continue to study at postgraduate level.

Sara – Internship Blog Post 2022

Sara Bennie

What are you studying?

BSc in Astrophysics

Tell us a bit about the project you have been working on this summer?

Surging glaciers cycle through quiescent and active phases. These phases
lead to changes in surface velocities and elevations, transporting mass
towards, and often advancing, the termini. Those living alongside these
glaciers can be at risk of outburst floods or collapse events. Until recently,
large changes in surface elevation were seldom quantified owing to a lack of
measurements. The project I have been working on aimed to use these
measurements of change in surface elevation, from the multi-decadal ASTER
archive (2000-2020), to begin development on automating an identification
process, for glacier surges, within the Karakoram.

What new skills have you learned while doing this internship?

I have developed a variety of different skills, from gaining technical
experience with Google Earth Engine and Jupyter Notebook, to improving my
communication and presentation skills. Most importantly, I have developed my
scientific research skills, learning more about how real data is handled and
then analysed.

How have you found working with your research team?

My research team were amazing! They were all very welcoming and taught me
loads, from everything I needed to know about glaciers, to what it is like
doing further research after a degree. My supervisors, Liam and Duncan, were
fantastic and made me feel like a real part of the research team by getting me
involved in different events and opportunities, such as ‘Ice Club’ and
presenting a poster at the IGS British Branch.

What has been the highlight of the internship for you?

Being able to meet and learn lots from my research team, whether developing
new skills or finding out what being a researcher is like. I also attended the
IGS British Branch conference where I presented a poster summarising my work
over the placement. This was an excellent networking opportunity where I got to
chat with other glaciologists, at various points in their careers, about their
recent and exciting research developments.

How has doing this internship changed your plans or thoughts about
your future career?

I am now definitely considering further research after graduation and would
be keen to continue researching glacier surges after such an incredible
experience!

Nathaniel – Internship Blog Post 2022

Nathaniel Edward-Inatimi

What are you studying?

Astrophysics at the University of Edinburgh

Tell us a bit about the project you have been working on this
summer?

I have been working on using machine learning – specifically a neural network –
to predict when solar
flares will occur. Solar flares are very dynamic and complex events and as such
are difficult to predict.
It has been very interesting project for me. I have had to develop an
algorithm, test it, and then
compare its performance to previous machine learning efforts in literature.
There has been a lot to
learn during this project and there are many ways to expand on this project if
the opportunity
arises.

What new skills have you learned while doing this internship?
At the beginning of my placement I took an online machine learning course which
taught me the
fundamentals of machine learning. From this, I learned how to write a neural
network algorithm in
Python using Tensorflow as well as some useful data analysis techniques for
testing how well the
neural network was operating.

How have you found working with your research team?
Everyone has been very supportive. It has been incredibly enlightening to have
conversations about
what working in research is like all whilst learning about other fields of
research outside of my
project.

What has been the highlight of the internship for you?
We managed to organise a trip to the Eskdalemuir geomagnetic observatory.
Getting a tour of the
facility and grounds was definitely a highlight for me. It was great to see the
wider context about
how measurements are taken as well as learning about and seeing the actual
machines which take
the measurements. A nice change from typical desk work.
Another highlight has been speaking with staff and PhD students about their
experiences in research
and hearing their opinions and feedback on my work. The internship has provided
a really good
baseline for my future career decisions.

How has doing this internship changed your plans or thoughts about your
future career?

I am more seriously considering a PhD after graduation now, chatting with
staff, PhD students and
other REPs has been eye-opening and made the option seem much less
intimidating.

Isabelle – Internship Blog Post 2022

Isabelle Wicks

What are you studying?

MGeophys, Geophysical Sciences BSc at University of Leeds

Tell us a bit about the project you have been working on this
summer?

I’ve been using ASTER surface temperature imagery to study the surface
thermal regime of glacial lakes in the Himalayas, to further understanding of
glacial lake evolution and development at varying stages of deglaciation. The
satellite imagery record I have been using dates back to 1987, providing a
long-term insight into patterns of lake temperature behaviour, and a visual
representation of lake growth over the past 3 decades.

What new skills have you learned while doing this internship?

I’ve gained skills in ArcGIS Pro and ArcPy, including writing a Python
script to execute raster analysis over large datasets. I’ve also had the chance
to branch out and use different geoanalysis technology, such as the Google
Earth Engine.

How have you found working with your research team?

I’ve had a fantastic time! Everyone has been very lovely and friendly, and
if I had any questions people have been very happy to help! It doesn’t feel
like a competitive or intense work environment, everyone is happy to share tips
and research with everyone else!

What has been the highlight of the internship for you?

Being able to take the project in the direction I think is best – there have
been a couple of points where we reached a crossroads in the research, and to
be able to say ‘I think this is the direction we should go in’ and lead
research has been very rewarding for me.

How has doing this internship changed your plans or thoughts about
your future career?

I had already planned on doing a PhD, so this placement has confirmed to me
that a PhD is the correct choice for me – it’s given me crucial experience that
will put me in a good position for future research work.

SENSE Internship Blogs 2022

Isabelle Wicks

Project Title

Using remote sensing to analyse Himalayan glacial lake thermal regimes 

Supervisors

Professor Duncan Quincey & Alex Scoffield 

Nathaniel Edward-Inatimi

Project Title

Using machine learning to predict the timing, magnitude and impact of solar flares from satellite imagery 

Supervisors

Professor Kathy Whaler & Dr. Ciaran Beggan

Sara Bennie

Project Title

Using big data to identify glaciers that surge 

Supervisors

Professor Duncan Quincey & Liam Taylor

Thomas Gilliespie

Project Title

Designing future lidar satellites for monitoring Net Zero 

Supervisors

Dr Steven Hancock

Arnav Sinha

Project Title

Multi Satellite Weather Files for Net Zero Developments 

Supervisors

Dr Daniel Fosas De Pano 

Qiusi Zou

Project Title

Using machine learning to identify buildings and land cover from very high-resolution satellite images  

Supervisors

Dr Sohan Seth  

Save the Date: 16th November 2022

SENSE Industry Event @ University of Edinburgh

SENSE and Space and Satellites @ The University of Edinburgh are planning a special in person event in Edinburgh on Wednesday 16th November 2022. This event will be for our students and academic and industry colleagues.

The purpose of the event will be:

  • To showcase the work in Earth Observation and environmental science already being done by SENSE and other areas of the university
  • To explore opportunities for collaboration between the centre, industry and the university
  • To network with students, companies, academics and other staff working at the forefront of EO
  • To explore future directions for research in Earth Observation and environmental science

Full details and registration information will be available in mid September however if you would like to register for updates please complete this form  https://forms.gle/aFsYpLJRaty1KAex8

For informal enquiries please contact sense@ed.ac.uk

We look forward to meeting you in November

Polar Impact Polar Portals Outreach Project

Workshop 1 at the Alun Turing Institute 

Polar Impact is an inclusive network of racial and ethnic minorities and allies in the polar research community. In autumn 2022, we will send Polar Portals (Augmented Reality (AR) enabled postcards) via the Antarctic to schools in the UK to inspire and engage children to consider a career in polar research, especially among the target audience of 8 – 12-year-olds from racial and ethnic minorities. We will be commissioning original works from BIPOC artists living in polar regions which will be printed into several postcard designs. The postcards will present visual artworks connected to the theme of polar regions, exploration and science. On the reverse of the postcards, pupils will be able to access a QR code to learn about the postcard’s journey and bring it to life through AR. 

Concept postcard designed by Emma Armitage.  

With Royal Museums Greenwich an under-18s Postcard Design Competition will be held with local schools in East London. The winning postcard will be stocked in the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust Penguin Post Office and available for purchase. A temporary exhibition for all entries to the competition will be hosted at the National Maritime Museum in December 2022. 

Working illustration by Farid Hussein (2022). 

Polar Portals Workshop 1 – supported by SENSE and the Alun Turing Institute 

On Friday the 29th of July the SENSE EDI Champion Heather Selley led a workshop at the Alun Turing Institute to kick off the project. The volunteers included Prem Gill (Polar Impact Founder), Heather Selley (Project Lead Organiser), Kirsty Flockhart (Art and production officer), Keiron Bally (Augmented Reality Officer), Priscilla Wong (Digital Content Officer) and Farid Hussein (Illustrator). The workshop allowed the volunteer team to come together and meet for the first time after working virtually on the project for the last few months. The team includes polar scientists, art curators, illustrators, web developers and PhD students with a wide variety of skills and backgrounds. It also gave the team the opportunity to discuss the more technical aspects with the Alun Turing Community, who are data science specialists. A key aim of this project is to make it scalable and be able to be as automated as possible to ensure longevity. This workshop focused on automating the process of getting the polar explorer’s geotagged digital diary which can be shown on a map, tools for QR code tracking, and expanding the project’s augmented reality concept. They also got to try out the mythical Alun Turing Institute coffee machine.