This vacancy is now closed

Closing Date

Earth Observation Scientist (2 positions)

Location: Plymouth

Grade: Scientist

Salary range (full-time): £32200 – £38100 (dependent on experience)

Fulltime, open-ended appointment

Job Description

PML is looking for two versatile Earth observation (in situ / remote sensing) scientists to work on international research and development projects in the PML Earth Observation science group. The posts are linked to on-going research projects (detailed below). Following the end of these projects you will continue to contribute to research projects; you will be able to develop own research ideas and submit applications for future funding as opportunities arise.  Applicants will automatically be considered for either post but are encouraged to motivate any preference in their application form.


The first post will contribute to project MONOCLE: Multiscale Observation Networks for Optical monitoring of Coastal waters, Lakes and Estuaries ( You will be part of an international team of scientists and industrial experts working to innovate and develop sensor, platform, and data handling technologies to increase spatiotemporal coverage and ultimately lower the cost of water quality remote sensing in inland and coastal water bodies. PML is working on several sensor and monitoring concepts and works with project partners to develop satellite products building on validation from ships, buoys, drones and smartphones by experts and citizens.

Key Deliverables for post 1

  • Characterising uncertainties in satellite and in situ Earth Observation (EO), in particular related to atmospheric and water optical properties.
  • Statistically-optimised integration of multi-scale (satellites, buoys, ships, drones, smartphones) radiometric data captured by the various platforms.
  • Leading and contributing to high quality research papers to advance the state of EO in optically complex water bodies, particularly aiming to lower the operational cost of water quality monitoring.
  • Contributing to developing GIS-based visualisation of satellite product confidence based on near real-time integrated remote and in situ optical observations.
  • Added-value analysis of citizen science and high-frequency optical observation platforms in satellite calibration and validation.
  • Contributing to international capacity building; producing training resources and delivering training overseas.

This post is open-ended and available up to full-time. Whilst candidates will be expected to spend some time in PML’s offices in Plymouth each week, opportunities for flexible working arrangements may be considered*

 Experience and Eligibility requirements are given further below.

 Post 2: S3-EUROHAB

The second post will contribute to the project S-3EUROHAB: Sentinel-3 products for detecting EUtROphication and Harmful Algal Blooms in the French-English Channel ( You will be part of a European team of scientists and shellfishery monitoring organisations working on the detection of harmful algal blooms (HABs) and poor water quality (WQ) using satellite ocean colour data. You will work on developing satellite ocean colour products to detect these events from space using both the Copernicus Sentinel-3 and NASA MODIS and VIIRS ocean colour satellites. The products will be used in a web alert system that communicates to stakeholders in the shell fish industry, risks from HABs and poor WQ. The successful candidate will work as part of a dynamic team who are researching environmental drivers, transport and dispersion and economic impacts of HAB’s.

Key Deliverables for post 2

  • Use the latest satellite technology and in situ optical data to develop and test harmful algal bloom and water quality detection models and algorithms. for use by shellfishery organisations.
  • Statistical accuracy assessment and validation of a range of ocean colour satellite products using in situ data to select the most accurate products for use in the web based alert system.
  • Investigation into satellite product environmental proxies for detecting harmful algal species that is not easily discernible in ocean colour imagery.
  • Time series analysis of harmful algal bloom using the most accurate satellite products to assess the frequency and magnitude of HABs in relation to environmental conditions in the English Channel.
  • Leading and contributing to high quality research papers on satellite detection of harmful algal blooms and water quality monitoring.
  • Contributing to international capacity building by feeding the results of satellite HAB detection into national and international marine and coastal programmes in support of societal needs.

This post is open-ended and available up to full-time. Whilst candidates will be expected to spend some time in PML’s offices in Plymouth each week, opportunities for flexible working arrangements may be considered *

Experience & Eligibility Requirements (both posts)

The appointments will be made at Scientist grade and candidates would possess a PhD or equivalent experience in limnology, oceanography, Earth observation or a similar numerical field (mathematics, statistics, computing, or physics). The successful candidate will need to demonstrate strong computing skills as appropriate for quantitative remote sensing R&D (most of our software is implemented in Python) as well as numerical and mathematical skills. The post holder will work both individually and in a team, as required, be self-motivated, with good communication skills, including scientific writing.


* PML currently successfully operates a remote working environment due to covid-19 restrictions. Whilst candidates will be expected to spend some time in PML’s offices in Plymouth each week, opportunities for flexible working arrangements may be considered, this can be discussed at interview.


Interviews will be held in September, with the option of video interviews depending on candidate location and Covid-19 restrictions at the time. 

CLOSING DATE: 12 August 2020