Two full-time Ph.D. positions in biodiversity and remote sensing in Prague (4 years, starting October 2023)

I offer two fully funded, full-time Ph.D. positions in a field spanning macroecology, biodiversity science, ecological statistics, and space-borne remote sensing. The candidates will join my international team (Dr. Petr Keil; https://petrkeil.github.io) at the Dpt. of Spatial Sciences at the Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague, Czech Republic.

The research is part of the ERC-funded project BEAST (“Biodiversity dynamics across a continuum of space, time, and their scales”) which studies how biodiversity has changed in time at local, regional, and continental scales, during the last 50 years. The focus is on terrestrial taxa (vertebrates, plants) and facets of biodiversity which can be remotely sensed from satellites. For a better idea about our research see our website.

  • Position 1: The objective is to analyze the temporal change of taxonomic diversity in several datasets from across the world, and to look for connections between temporal biodiversity change and the characteristic imprints that this change leaves in spatial patterns of biodiversity. The project is macroecological, i.e., it aims at documenting universal ecological patterns and laws that hold across regions and taxonomic groups, similar to the laws of physics.
  • Position 2: This project will analyze the temporal change of remotely sensed spectral diversity, i.e., the diversity of spectra captured by space-borne satellite sensors such as MODIS or SENTINEL. The practical goal is to link this spectral diversity with field-measured taxonomic diversity (and to test the so-called “spectral variability hypothesis”) and to investigate if the remotely sensed biodiversity change can be used as a proxy for temporal change of taxonomic diversity.

Training and work within both positions will involve the processing of geographic data, advanced statistical analysis and modelling, dissemination of results via peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations and establishing of a network of international collaborators. Candidates will participate in workshops and training and will assist with teaching.


  • Master’s or equivalent degree/diploma in a project-related field (e.g., ecology, geography, remote sensing, zoology, botany, bioinformatics, biostatistics, environmental sciences). I also encourage holders of degrees in mathematics, statistics, or physics to apply.
  • Prior experience with spatial data and GIS, programming, and/or statistical analysis in a command line is advantageous, but the motivation to learn new computational skills is essential.  Good spoken and written English.
  • I aim to increase the diversity of my team, and welcome applicants of all genders, cultures, backgrounds, ages, or countries. I believe that a diverse team will broaden the perspective and enhance the creativity.

We offer

  • Income, consisting of two parts:
    • Standard employment contract with starting gross salary of 31,000 CZK/month (app. 1,200 EUR as of Dec 2022), which is app. 25,500 CZK/month net after tax, but the latter varies depending on the family situation and other circumstances.
    • A Ph.D. tax-free stipend of 10,000 CZK/month during the first year. This will grow to 12,000, 14,000, and 16,000 CZK/month in years 2, 3, and 4 respectively.
      Roughly, after combining these two parts, the starting net income can be around 35,500 CZK/month. The median salary in the Czech Republic in the first quarter of 2022 was 31,923 CZK/month gross. Living costs (childcare, transportation) are generally lower than in Western Europe. For costs of accommodation see https://www.sreality.cz/en.
  • Full medical insurance and social security.
  • Funds for travel to conferences and workshops abroad. Funds for additional training.
  • Motivating bonus payments for high-quality publications.
  • State-of-the-art scientific and computing equipment, software, access to journals and scientific databases, and comfortable office space.
  • Subsidized meals at the university canteen (Menza).
  • International working environment (the working language is English), green campus in Suchdol in the outskirts of Prague, 30 min to Prague city center by public transport or bike, 15 min walk to several natural protected areas. The campus has sports facilities, including a swimming pool, gym, athletic track, and indoor and outdoor playfields. Prague is one of the safest cities in the world with excellent public transport, international accessibility, and healthcare.
  • Starting date: 1st October 2023.


To apply, please send by email (beast@fzp.czu.cz), a single .pdf of less than 10 MB:

  • Motivation letter (1-2 pages) describing your expertise, and research interests, stating why you see yourself as a good fit for our group/research, and why you are interested in getting a Ph.D. Also, indicate which of the two positions you are primarily interested in.
  • Your CV including your publications and any other relevant outputs (code repositories, reports, your personal website, etc.).
  • Contact details for 2-3 academic referees, e.g., your former supervisor, boss, or collaborator.
  • At this stage, please don’t attach long .pdf files with manuscripts or theses, diplomas, or certificates of any kind; they make the processing of applications difficult.

The application deadline is the 15th of February 2022.