Doctoral Student in ICT Solutions for Optimizing Agricultural Crop Water Use and Drainage Control

University of Oulu Faculty of Technology


Doctoral Student in ICT Solutions for Optimizing Agricultural Crop Water Use and Drainage Control

University of Oulu is an international scientific community, with 15,000 students and approximately 3,000 employees. By combining multidisciplinary research and education, high-level infrastructure and wide cooperation with international research and educational institutes, companies and the public sector it has created a significant research and innovation hub of “Science with an Arctic Attitude”. More information University of Oulu has a wide academic base with 8 faculties and several research institutes.

The Doctoral Student position is joint project between two research units at the Faculty of Technology:

Water, Energy and Environmental Engineering Research Unit ( research covers a broad area of expertise including hydrology, water resources engineering and various aspects of environmental sciences. Our research unit is a multinational and interdisciplinary group of 50 researchers and doctoral candidates working in a modern, up-to-date research environment. The unit is a leading hub for understanding complex interactions related to land-water-energy management and finding ways for a more sustainable future. Relevant to the current positions, it has strong groups on hydrological modelling, hydrosystems engineering, land use and climate change modelling and assessment.

Intelligent Machines and Systems (IMS) Research Unit conducts research on mechatronics, machine diagnostics and systems & control engineering. Also, IoT-based solutions on various fields of engineering are covered. The IMS unit is made up of 15 researchers working together in several multidisciplinary projects. The unit works with remotely controlled well for automated drainage, water level and soil moisture regulation for water retention, drought control and yield optimization for potato production in particular.

Work description

We are looking for a Doctoral Student with a strong ability to work with ICT, mechatronics and programming. The applications are related to hydrology, agriculture and water management. The selected applicant will work in a team with various experts on mechatronics, hydrology, modelling and water management.

The work includes development of novel IoT-based setups for hydrological monitoring to optimize water level control and soil water regimes to limit runoff and maximize crop production. The work focuses on IoT-solutions with strong links to hydrological model developed and water management. The study areas are near Oulu and related to experimental fields with potato cultivation in particular.

The position is linked to a large EU H2020 project WATERAGRI that has a specific focus on agricultural water management and nutrient recovery in small agricultural catchments. The position is linked to tasks related to “development of automatic ICT solutions for water monitoring and regulation in agricultural catchments” in order to increase water retention, crop yields and limit nutrient leaching and pollution from agricultures”.

The specific subject areas of this position are related to research on:

- Novel IoT-solutions for on-line and remote monitoring of soil moisture using different techniques (in-situ and remote sensing)

- Monitoring techniques for soil moisture, water levels and hydrological responses during the crop growing season

- Novel IoT monitoring of snow and soil frost conditions during the onset of growing season

- Data driven modelling and control, including machine learning and visualization

- Integrated systems for monitoring, communication and presentation of data for stakeholders e.g. via Apps

- Set-ups to for automated drainage and irrigation controls


- MSc in mechanical engineering, ICT or similar fields with good grades

- Strong skills in computation, programming and numerical analysis

- Interest to work interdisciplinary to improve monitoring systems in hydrology and water management options for smart and sustainable agriculture

- Fluency in both in oral and written English

- Ability to work both independently in projects with different experts and research teams

Assessment of the applicants’ qualifications will be based on the following criteria acknowledging the content of the job: education and previous work experience.

Terms of employment

The duration of the position is 2 years, beginning on September 1, 2020 (or as soon as possible). A six-month trial period will be applied to the position.

The salary is in accordance with the university salary system (for teaching and research personnel) level 2 – 4 of the demand level chart. In addition to the basic salary, supplementary salary will be paid for personal achievement and performance, the sum rising to a maximum of 50 % of the basic salary level for the post. The typical starting salary for a doctoral student is €2,300 per month.

How to apply

Applications, together with all relevant enclosures, should be submitted using electronic application form by August 9, 2020 at 23:59 (Finnish local time). Top candidates will be invited to an on-site or remote interview. All applicants will be notified when the selection process is completed.

The application should be written in English and include the following documents:

  • A motivation letter summarizing applicant’s professional experience and expertise and describing why applicant is interested in about this position. Also, information on personal research interests, experience and career plans are valuable to provide here (max. 2 pages)
  • A curriculum vitae (max. 4 pages) in accordance with the guidelines of the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity (TENK), available from
  • A publication list based on the guidelines of the Academy of Finland
  • A copy of the applicant’s Master of Science degree diplomas, or, if not available at the time of application, a statement from the applicant and their supervisor(s) regarding the expected completion date
  • Contact information of two senior/experienced researchers who may be asked to give a statement on the candidate

For further information, please contact:

Professor, unit leader Björn Klöve, bjorn.klove(at)
Dr., unit leader Toni Liedes, toni.liedes(at)

In your application, please refer to