Senior Remote Sensing & Geoinformation Specialist
Strategic Group 3: Enabling Regional and Global Mechanisms for Sustainable Action
SG3 – Action Area E (AAE): Building Institutions for Regional Cooperation and Collaboration
Rajesh is a Senior Remote Sensing and Geoinformation Specialist and provides scientific leadership to the geospatial theme at ICIMOD.
He is the Science and Data Lead for SERVIR-HKH (a joint NASA and USAID partnership) Initiative at ICIMOD, and previously worked as Theme Leader for Geospatial Theme, Group Lead for Land Use Land Cover Group, and Capacity Building Lead for SERVIR-HKH.
Rajesh has over 25 years of experience working in Asia, including in Nepal, Thailand, and Japan.
Prior to joining ICIMOD in 2016, he has served at Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) working for the Japanese Earth observing missions ALOS, ALOS-2, and PiSAR-L2.
He was a visiting professor at the University of Tsukuba, Japan. He is a geographer, geospatial science practitioner, writer, and seeker.
His vision aligns with the harmonization of multi-source data – remote sensing, geospatial and other, for information retrieval and develop geospatial services.
His research focus is on monitoring and assessment of terrestrial environments, including forest, agriculture, urban, disasters, and capacity building areas, as well as the dissemination of Earth observation findings to policy makers, practitioners and stakeholders through education, capacity building workshops, conferences, and publications.
He is highly cited in his field and has served over 40+ highly prestigious international journals as scientific reviewers and editorial board member.
He holds a PhD in Geoenvironmental Science from the University of Tsukuba and MSc in Remote Sensing and GIS from Asian Institute of Technology.
Rajesh has received national/international honours and recognitions including Sinfonica Japan Award 2007, The University of Tsukuba Outstanding Researcher of the Year 2008, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Award 2009, Nepal Biddhya Bhusan Ka 2010 from the President of Nepal, Who Is Who in the World 2011, Outstanding Reviewer – Computer, Environment and Urban Systems 2014 and Science of the Total Environment 2018, Sentinels Science Award 2016, SERVIR Collaboration Award 2019 and among others.
In recognition of his remarkable contributions and unwavering commitment to capacity development for connecting space to village SERVIR Global awarded Rajesh the prestigious SERVIR Award of Excellence in 2020.
Rajesh Bahadur Thapa
How do you protect the pulse of the planet?
I empower people to use emerging Earth observation and geospatial technologies for making evdience-based decisions to protect the pulse of the planet.
What is your favorite part of the work you do at ICIMOD?
It is an international, multidisciplinary and multicultural environment.
What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about engaging and mentoring young professionals and improving the gender balance in the workplace.
I have over twenty years work experience across various Asian countries including Japan, Thailand, and the HKH region. Prior to joining ICIMOD, I was a researcher for the Japanese Earth Observation Missions ALOS, ALOS-2, and PiSAR-L2 at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. I was also a visiting professor, teaching postgraduate courses at the University of Tsukuba, Japan. I have expertise in SAR, Optical, and LiDAR remote sensing data processing and geospatial analysis for various applications.
Documented in international journals, books, and other media, my research leadership contributed to developing methods for a) mapping land-use and land cover; b) spatial modelling to explain and forecast the expansion of urban areas and deforestation, c) tracking tropical forest carbon stocks and CO2 emission risk, and d) spatial decision support for peri-urban agriculture. I have conducted extensive research and fieldwork in Indonesia, Japan, Nepal, Thailand, and Vietnam and have been honored to receive many international and national awards and recognition. I hold a PhD in Geoenvironmental Science from the University of Tsukuba, Japan, and an MSc in Remote Sensing and GIS from the Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand.