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Call for project ideas for the final round of SENSE PhD studentships

Deadline: 19th September 2021

We are very happy to announce a call for PhD project proposals, in the final round of the SENSE Earth Observation CDT recruitment, for studentships starting October 2022.

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
  • 16 PhD students will be funded in this cohort, we will advertise ~32 projects
    • 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 institutes (Leeds, Edinburgh, BAS, NOC)
    • We can 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 the University of Leeds (50/50 split)
  • All students will undertake a 3-month industry placement
  • We are running academic & industry virtual mixer events on the Tue 24th August to help connect academics in different departments and institutes, and industrial partners, to attend please register your interest here
  • Project proposal submission deadline is the 19th September 2021

SENSE’s recruitment committee will select ~32 of the best projects that align with SENSE’s specific remit to advertise. For further advice and top tips about how to submit a good SENSE PhD proposal, and the full recruitment schedule, please see ‘SENSE PhD proposal writing tips’ below

If you have any questions or if you’d like any support with your project proposal please get in touch with Ruth Amey at Leeds ( or Eleanor Graham at Edinburgh ( ).

We really look forward to hearing from you.

The SENSE recruitment committee

SENSE PhD proposal writing tips:

SENSE has a recruitment committee with members from its four institutes (Edinburgh, Leeds, NOC and BAS) who will select the projects to advertise in October. Only the best projects that align with SENSE’s ethos will be advertised. Please ensure that all criteria are met and that project descriptions have sufficient detail and give tangible outcomes.

Successful project proposals have:

  • High quality science that is clearly described (compulsory)
  • Strong focus on Earth Observation (compulsory) and advanced data science techniques (strongly encouraged)
  • Environmental science as subject area (compulsory)
  • Multi-institute supervisory teams (compulsory)
  • CASE partner (strongly encouraged)
  • Diverse supervisory teams (strongly encouraged – let us know if you would like support with this, again we are very happy to help!)

Overall SENSE recruitment schedule:

  • Academic and industry virtual mixer events – Tue 24th August
  • Deadline for academics to submit PhD project proposals – 19th September 2021
  • SENSE PhD projects advertised online – 11th October 2021
  • PhD applications close – 9th January 2021
  • PhD offers made – from late February / early March
  • Students start – 1st October 2022

Submit a PhD proposal:

  • To submit a PhD proposal for the October 2022 cohort, fill out this form
  • Academics may submit one first-supervisor proposal each year (they may be second supervisor on others)
  • You will need the following information:
    • Project title
    • Lead supervisor names and organisation
    • Co-supervisor names and organisations
    • Organisation at which the student will be based (Edinburgh, Leeds, NOC and BAS) and registered (Leeds or Edinburgh only)
    • Industry partner name (if known)
    • PhD project description (1 page), including:
      • Scientific background and motivation
      • Aims and objectives of the PhD project
      • Methodology, including clear description of Earth Observation datasets and techniques used, and details of any advanced computer techniques

Apply now for a Research Experience Placement

Paid Summer Internships for Undergraduate Students – deadline 16th May 2021

We are delighted to advertise eleven paid summer internships for undergraduate students with supervisory teams at the University of Edinburgh and University of Leeds.

These internships will allow talented individuals to explore how using satellite data and machine learning/AI techniques can monitor and attempt to tackle environmental problems.

These internships would be ideal for an undergraduate student heading into their final year of study who is considering a research career and wants to gain experience and mentoring to support this.

In additional successful completion of an internship with SENSE will guarantee an interview for a PhD studentship with SENSE for 2022.  

The internships: 

  • Are six weeks in length to be completed during the summer vacation period (including four day paid leave).
  • Paid at UE03 (£345.38 per week).
  • Will be completed by remote working (i.e. intern can be located anywhere in the UK).
  • Will allow the intern to gain research experience and receive mentoring from the SENSE CDT team to support their future PhD applications.

Applications are welcome from students in any science discipline (including engineering, computing, mathematics, geosciences) however you cannot apply for an internship in the department you are currently studying in.

Please see below for details of the projects and application details. Informal enquires to

These are being widely advertised through Satellite Applications Catapult, Space Hub Yorkshire, Twitter and direct emails to undergraduate departments.

Announcement: Alan Turing Institute – SENSE Hackathon

Join us on Thu 25th and Fri 26th of February for a mini-hackathon challenge, organised by the Alan Turing Institute and the SENSE Earth Observation CDT.  The goal of this challenge is to automatically identify sea, ice and land in satellite images of Danmarkshavn on the east coast of Greenland. Using Sentinel-1 images you will work in a small team with SENSE PhD students to build and train a model to classify sea, ice and land in a dataset spanning a year, using data prepared for the ExtremeEarth project.

There are a limited number of places for Turing PhD students. Some familiarity with python or a similar language and knowledge of machine learning is required. Apply to join here, deadline Fri 12th February:

The Alan Turing Institute logo