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Global River Networks Based on Remote Sensing Imagery and Hydrodynamic Modelling

Project Description

Reference number: CENTA20-LU7
Start date: 1 October 2020
Closing date: 10 January 2020
Interview date: Week beginning 3 February 2020

Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014). In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Doctoral College, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career.

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Project Detail:

Precise delineation of river networks is important for flood modelling and risk management, water resource management, and many other applications. Traditionally, approaches based on digital elevation models (DEMs) are usually used to extract river networks. However, DEM-based methods are not able to physically depict flow directions and differentiate between the perennial and intermittent flows, leading to inaccurate extraction of river networks. Having the advantage of continuous global coverage at high temporal and spatial resolution, satellite imagery can be used to monitor hydrological changes over space and time, and provides an alternative means for delineation of river networks. However, satellite imagery extracts channelized elements from local morphologies without considering overall hydrological connectivity, which may create broken and inconsistent river segments.

To effectively address the challenges of the existing approaches, this PhD project aims to integrate DEM-based methods with satellite imagery to develop a new generation of algorithm to delineate high-precision and connected river networks at the global scale. The new river network extraction algorithm will take advantages of the latest high-performance hydrodynamic modelling, cloud-computing and machine learning technologies to produce a new global river network product to support different geoscience applications, creating substantial academic and practical impact.

Find out more:

For further information on this project, please see the main CENTA website ( or contact Prof. Qiuhua Liang () or Dr Huili Chen ().

Entry requirements:

Applicants will normally need to hold, or expect to gain, at least a 2:1 degree (or equivalent) in Engineering (e.g. Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering), Geography or Earth Science. A Master’s degree and/or experience in a related area associated with the research will be an advantage.

How to apply:

To apply:

1. Complete a CENTA studentship application form in Word format (available from or here).
2. All applications should be made online at Under programme name, select “Civil and Building Engineering”. During the online application process, upload the CENTA studentship application form as a supporting document.

Please quote CENTA20-LU7 when completing your online application.

Funding Notes

The studentship is funded for 3.5 years and is intended to start in October 2020. The studentship provides a tax-free stipend of £15,009 per annum (in 2019/20) for the duration of the studentship plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate (£4,327 in 2019/20) and a research training support grant of £8,000. Please note that due to restrictions imposed by the funder, only students with a UK/EU fee status will initially be considered for this position.

Further guidance about eligibility is available at UKRI Terms and Conditions: View Website

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