PhD scholarship related to Mars Science at NSSTC

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Distinction and Leadership in Science and Technology of Space

The National Space Science and Technology Center (NSSTC) invites applications from enthusiastic, ambitious, and hard-working Emirati nationals for a graduate scholarship leading to a PhD related to Mars Science, to start in Spring or Fall 2022. Supervision of the PhD thesis will be done jointly between NSSTC and a partnering University Department (Geography, Geology, Physics, etc.).

Applications for entry in Spring 2022 must be submitted as soon as possible. For entry in Fall 2021, applications must be submitted by 30 November 2021, and we will look favourably on applicants willing to join NSSTC as a Research Assistant from January 2022, to bridge the gap until the start of the PhD program. The PhD project is linked to the Emirates Mars Mission (EMM), which arrived at Mars in early 2021.

The area of study will be “Building and analysing comprehensive Mars dust storm databases from 1 Martian Year of EMrvations”. This project would suit a person with pronounced interest and a study backgrouM obsend in remote sensing (both satellite imagery and quantitative data) and atmospheric and planetary science. With the imminent arrival of EMM at Mars, NSSTC is very keen to recruit Emirati nationals as PhD students in this area.

The task of this PhD project is to build a dust storm database spanning at least 1 Martian Year (1 Martian Year is ca. 1.9 Earth Years) based on EMM. The database construction will start with the beginning of the EMM Science phase, scheduled for early-to-mid 2021. The basis of this database will be images by the EMM instrument EXI (Emirates Exploration Imager). The combination with quantitative data on the dust optical depth, atmospheric temperature, etc. from the EMM instruments EXI and EMIRS (Emirates Mars Infrared Spectrometer) is possible. A particular challenge is the fact that EMM will map dust storms each few hours or, equivalently, several times per day. This implies that the database has to be updated on a sub-daily basis. Likewise, this makes the database unique from existing dust storm databases. An integral part will be the subsequent statistical/mathematical analysis of dust storm characteristics such as source region, storm track and size, timing and duration, etc. The student will join the EMM science team and work alongside Emirati and international scientists to achieve the project goals. Please see also for more information.

This job advertisement is to select a student for the NSSTC scholarship. The accepted candidate will be supported by NSSTC for four years with a stipend of about 11,000 AED/month. For formal admission to a PhD program, the selected applicant will then need to apply for a PhD program through UAEU’s College of Graduate Studies.

Minimum Qualification

  • Emirati nationality.
  • Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in a relevant subject: Remote Sensing, Geography, Geology, Physics, Mathematics, Astrophysics, Space Science, Computer Science, Data Science, Meteorology, Atmospheric Science, Planetary Science, or similar.
  • Bachelor GPA 2.50, Master GPA 3.00 (or equivalent) or higher.
  • IELTS Academic 6.5, assessed in the last two years (unless some exception applies).
  • Full PhD admission requirements can be found at

Preferred Qualification

Expected Skills/Rank/Experience

  • A keen interest in space exploration and planetary science.
  • A strong aptitude for computing work and programming.
  • Strong mathematical ability.
  • Excellent communication skills in English, both verbal and written.
  • An ideal candidate will have taken courses both in Remote Sensing, Mathematical Data Analysis, and Atmospheric/Planetary Science.

Tagged as: remote sensing, space exploration, planetary science, space science

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