Dr Luke Brown

School of Science, Engineering & Environment

Photo of Dr Luke Brown

Current positions



I joined the University of Salford as Lecturer in GIS & Remote Sensing in October 2022, having previously worked at the University of Southampton as a Senior Research Fellow (2021-2022), Senior Research Assistant (2018-2021), and Research Technician (2017-2018), whilst also completing a part-time PhD in Remote Sensing (2015-2021). Prior to this, I undertook an MSc in Applied Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing (2014-2015) and a BSc (Hons) in Geography (2011-2014).

Since 2023, I am a European Space Agency (ESA) Living Planet Fellow, and co-lead of the biophysical focus area of the Land Product Validation (LPV) sub-group of the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) Working Group on Calibration and Validation (WGCV).

I have published over 20 peer-reviewed journal articles and authored or co-authored proposals worth in excess of £1.5m in combined research income, including projects funded by ESA and the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC).

Areas of Research

My research focuses on i) the use of optical remote sensing to retrieve vegetation biophysical & biochemical properties (enabling vegetation health to be quantified from the air and from space), and ii) the validation of these retrievals using in situ measurement techniques (to ensure they can provide accurate inputs to models of crop yield, carbon exchange, and the weather and climate systems).

An important strand of my work involves environmental sensing, including the use of automated field instruments that can be deployed on a long-term basis to provide temporally continuous in situ data, as well as unoccupied aerial vehicles (UAVs) to enable traditional in situ measurement approaches to be applied to wider and more difficult to reach areas. I have also developed methods to quantify the uncertainties associated with in situ reference measurements of biophysical and biochemical variables in a traceable, end-to-end manner.

I am currently an ESA Living Planet Fellow on the project:
• Ground Reference Observations Underlying Novel Decametric Vegetation Data Products from Earth Observation (GROUNDED EO) – https://eo4society.esa.int/projects/grounded-eo

Some recent research projects I’ve been involved in include:
• Fiducial Reference Measurements for Vegetation (FRM4VEG) – ESA – https://frm4veg.org
• Ground Based Observations for Validation of Copernicus Global Land Products (GBOV) – JRC – https://land.copernicus.eu/global/gbov
• Sentinel Optical Mission Performance Cluster – ESA – https://sentinels.copernicus.eu/web/sentinel/technical-guides/sentinel-3-olci/mission-performance
• Sentinel-3 Mission Performance Centre – ESA

Areas of Supervision

I particularly welcome enquiries from prospective PhD students interested in the areas of research listed above.


I deliver research-led teaching in GIS & Remote Sensing on a range of modules at undergraduate and postgraduate level, including:

Level 3
• Data Handling

Level 4
• Earth Surface Processes
• Field Biology

Level 5
• Geographic Information Systems & Science
• Global Rivers in a Changing Climate
• Monitoring Environmental Change

Level 6
• Environmental Geographic Information Systems
• Environmental Remote Sensing

Level 7
• Geographic Information Systems & Remote Sensing for Wildlife Conservation

Qualifications and Recognitions

  • PhD Remote Sensing

    2015 - 2021
  • MSc Applied Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing (with Distinction)

    2014 - 2015
  • BSc (Hons) Geography (First Class)

    2011 - 2014