Vacancy: PhD candidate in GIS/urban analytics/3D city modelling


We are continuously looking for talented and motivated prospective graduate students to join our research group. PhD candidates can join the Lab by applying to the NUS School of Design and Environment.

The successful applicants will work on new research initiatives in the domains of the Lab (3D geospatial data, urban analytics, and GIScience) as part of existing or upcoming projects.

Candidates should have a computational affinity and a master degree in a relevant field of study and from a reputable university.

The Lab will provide a motivating, conducive, and flexible environment to explore the candidate’s interests, build relevant skills, and develop world-class research required to attain a PhD degree.

The PhD candidate will be supervised by the Lab’s principal investigator Prof Filip Biljecki, NUS School of Design and Environment.

Please note that the Lab does not offer stipends and fully-funded positions at the moment. However, there are scholarship/fellowship opportunities, which we would happy to endorse if we think that you are a match.


While we do not offer fully-funded positions, we offer the following:

  • Co-funding: in exceptional cases we offer supplementing existing funding with a budget from our own resources for equipment and travel. For example, if you obtain a stipend from an external funding agency, we will look into providing additional funding for your expenses such as that you can travel to more conferences or buy some equipment, and to make your research and PhD experience more comfortable.
  • Endorsing applications for fellowships.
  • A diverse, inclusive, and egalitarian environment where you will be considered as a colleague, rather than as a student.
  • Conducive and collaborative setting where you will be able to integrate your project with existing projects and leverage on our network and other activities to turbocharge your research.

Required qualifications

The exact list of qualifications will depend on the topic and scope of the PhD research. In general, you should demonstrate that you possess:

  • A master degree 🎓 in a related discipline from a reputable university. Current master candidates are eligible to apply as well, provided that they are in the final stage of their studies.
  • Basic understanding of the state-of-the-art of the field.
  • Affinity towards research and independent work, e.g. being able to carry out a literature review, understand research opportunities, and develop a relatively independent project within the Lab.
  • Writing skills and a strong affinity to publish.
  • Prior experience in GIS, 3D city modelling, and/or urban simulations would be a plus.
  • Communication skills in English, and an ability to present research in both academic and non-academic venues.
  • Experience with programming (preferably Python and/or C/C++) or willingness to learn.
  • Curiosity and passion to explore new concepts, methods and technologies, and capability of identifying and quickly learning the most suitable tools for the research on the go.
  • A positive and proactive stance on open science. Willingness to use and develop open-source software, release data as open data, and promote reproducible research.

Our offer

  • You will be working on compelling research activities at the forefront of geographical information science and urban data science in a new research group that is gaining a strong momentum in Singapore and overseas.
  • You will advance your research and transferable skills required for the next stage of your career.
  • You will work in a research and educational environment where you may not only contribute to your own development, but also to others, e.g. by supervising master theses that may arise as part of your research.
  • Opportunity to make impactful contributions in the field, on a globally relevant topic.
  • Visibility and exposure of your work.
  • Diverse, inclusive, and flexible working environment.
  • Exploring new ideas and an opportunity to experiment with the state of the art.
  • You will live in a beautiful, clean and efficient city with great food and summer all year round ☀️, low taxes, unparalleled infrastructure and safety, and in a fully English speaking environment.

Duration and start

This is a continuously open position. The application deadlines to the school are usually 15 November for the intake in August next year, and 15 May for the start in January. The duration of the PhD programme at NUS is about four years.

Why work here?

National University of Singapore

The National University of Singapore (NUS) is ranked consistently as one of the world’s top universities. It aspires to be a vital community of academics, researchers, staff, students and alumni working together in a spirit of innovation and enterprise for a better world.

Singapore is a cosmopolitan English-speaking city-state bridging the East and the West. It is considered as the #1 most competitive country and the safest country in the world, successfully attracting talents from all parts of the globe by offering first-class living and working experience in the heart of Southeast Asia, and a very clean, efficient and low-tax environment.

Urban Analytics Lab

The NUS Urban Analytics Lab is an interdepartmental multidisciplinary research group established in 2019 focusing on urban analytics, geographic data science, and 3D city modelling at the NUS School of Design and Environment. Our mission is to leverage on spatially enabled data for urban applications, catalyse the development of 3D geoinformation in the context of smart cities, make sense of big geospatial data and digital twins in the built environment, and cater to disciplines such as architecture, urban planning, and real estate to make informed decisions using 3D city models and urban analytics. The group is the first one in Singapore encompassing the entire 3D GIS ecosystem under the same roof: from standardisation and generation of 3D city models all the way to their utilisation and visualisation, while continuously exploring new frontiers in the field.

The principal investigator of the Lab was awarded the prestigious presidential young professorship in 2020, supporting the longterm development of the research group.

Application and more info

The NUS website on graduate admissions is a good starting point to get more information about doing a PhD at our university.

The applications to the PhD programme should be done directly to the School of Design and Environment, but you are advised to first get in touch with us to discuss. You can do so by email (please write “PhD enquiry” in the subject), including the following materials:

  • CV
  • Cover letter (about 1 page) indicating (i) your research interests and plans (statement of research), and (ii) how do you intend to contribute to our growing research group and enhance its activities.

To understand our scope of work and make your application more attractive, please have a careful look at our projects and publications. While we appreciate interest, we cannot attend to generic applications without a clear motivation and understanding of the scope of our work.