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Scientific activities / projects

Head of a Helmholtz Young Investigator Group - Helmholtz Artificial Intelligence Cooperation Unit (HAICU) “MASTR : HAICU Munich @ Aeronautics, Space and Transport”

Starting date


Duration of contract

5 years


up to the German TVöD 14

Type of employment


As a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers, the German Aerospace (DLR) employs more than 8000 people at 20 locations. The department “EO Data Science” at the Remote Sensing Technology Institute (IMF-DAS), located at the DLR in Oberpfaffenhofen is developing novel signal processing and AI algorithms to improve information retrieval fromremote sensing data, in particular those from current and the next generation of Earth observation missions and deliver crucial geo-information to address social grant challenges, such as urbanization and climate change.

The Helmholtz Artificial Intelligence Cooperation Unit (HAICU) platform aims to enhance the research within the Helmholtz Association with applied AI methods. For that each research area of Helmholtz operates one HAICU unit to work on short, medium and long term AI projects. Further information about HAICU and the Helmholtz-Incubator is available at https://www.haicu.de.

IMF-DAS operates the local HAICU unit “MASTr: HAICU Munich @ Aeronautics, Space and Transport”. It consists of a Young Investigator Group (YIG) in Earth observation and an AI Consulting Team, providing the expertise from Earth Observation, robotics, computer vision and an HPC/HPDA support unit.

The specific research focus of the YIG is “Large-Scale Data Mining in Earth Observation”. This includes research towards large-scale data indexing and retrieval, especially in peta-scale data archives of former, current, and future EO missions. We expect a strong focus on unsupervised information extraction and anomaly detection.

Based on this concept, the ideal candidate will have a proven track record in fields related to statistic learning, modelling, machine learning and spatio-temporal analysis, interest in geographic observation and an open and collaboration-oriented mindset. The YIG shall be located at the Remote Sensing Technology Institute (IMF), Oberpfaffenhofen. In addition, the YIG leader will be appointed to the Technical University Munich (TUM) and be granted the attractive status of a “TUM Junior Fellow”, comparable to a junior professor, including the right to be the first supervisor of his/her PhD students (“Promotionsrecht”).

The YIG is set up as a five year tenure track process towards permanent positions.

Your tasks will be:

  • Leadership of the junior research group, including supervision/co-supervision of PhD students
  • internationally visible novel research
  • work with large scale EO data
  • development of algorithms – and possibly a prototype processing system – for spectral-/spatial-/temporal unsupervised learning and anomaly detection
  • a focus should be on multi-modal (radar, optical) remote sensing time series data
  • development of preferably generic software solutions
  • relevant use cases shall be developed, e.g. together with Helmholtz centers of Earth and Environment
  • a tight co-operation with the co-located AI consultant team is required for mutual benefit
  • collaboration with the other HAICU units, TUM and other regional, as well as international partners

We offer:

  • high scientific professional networking as well as scientific excellence
  • internationality and diversity
  • TUM Junior Fellow status
  • interesting and diverse tasks, flexible working hours, salary based on the collective agreement TVöD-Bund
  • equality of opportunity and family-friendly structures, corporate health management
  • attractive work and research terms in a highly motivated lab

Your qualifications:

  • Ph.D. in Natural Sciences, Mathematics or Computer Science with a strong connection to
  • the research topic received in the last two to six years (this period is extended if parental leave was taken after the Ph.D.). Exceptions may be made in special cases.
  • proven track record of applied AI and ML experience
  • international research experience. This can be documented by a minimum six-month continuous research stay abroad during the doctoral or postdoctoral studies. Exceptions can be made for outstanding researchers for whom international mobility may be
  • restricted due to special circumstances (for example because of children).
  • experience with statistical learning, modelling, spatial and temporal analysis and geographical observations
  • extended Knowledge of unsupervised classification methods of EO data and anomaly and change detection
  • experience in scientific project management
  • those who have already been appointed to a professorship at a German or foreign university at the time of application or who were funded by a comparable program are not eligible for application.
  • submission of a research proposal (see above) for the YIG which requires: presentation of clearly recognizable work packages, important intermediate steps, and milestones with a timetable; presentation of the planned cooperation and communication structures; statement on the connection to the Helmholtz-program.

Your benefits:

Look forward to a fulfilling job with an employer who appreciates your commitment and supports your personal and professional development. Our unique infrastructure offers you a working environment in which you have unparalled scope to develop your creative ideas and accomplish your professional objectives. Our human resources policy places great value on a healthy family and work-life-balance as well as equal opportunities for persons of all genders (m/f/non-binary). Individuals with disabilities will be given preferential consideration in the event their qualifications are equivalent to those of other candidates.

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Technical contact

Prof. Dr. Ing. Xiaoxiang Zhu
Remote Sensing Technology Institute

Phone: +49 8153 28-3531

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Vacancy 48461

HR department Oberpfaffenhofen

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DLR site Oberpfaffenhofen

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DLR Remote Sensing Technology Institute

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