1 Postdoc and 2 PhD Positions (m/f/d)

Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
Potsdam, Brandenburg (DE)
May 28 2019
PhD Positions and Postdoc-25-2019
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

The climate needs bright minds. The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) addresses crucial scientific questions in the fields of global change, climate impacts and sustainable development. It is one of the world's leading research institutions in its field and offers natural and social scientists from around the world an inspiring environment for excellent interdisciplinary research.

For the research group “Network- and machine-learning-based prediction of extreme events” at the Department of Complexity Science PIK is offering

 1 Postdoc and 2 PhD Positions (m/f/d)

in the field of Paleoclimate time series analysis and modelling, starting on 01.09.2019.

(Position number: PhD Positions and Postdoc-25-2019)

The successful candidates will be part of the EU-funded H2020 project “Tipping Points of the Earth System” (TiPES), and will work on synchronization of paleoclimatic proxy records evidencing past abrupt transitions, uncertainty quantification in proxy records, and impacts of past abrupt climate transitions on ecosystems and ancient civilizations . The positions are funded for 3 years. Remuneration is in accordance with the German public tariff scheme (TV-L Brandenburg), salary group E 13, 100% for the Postdoc (40 hours per week) and 65% for the PhDs (26 hours per week). The position can be filled on a part-time basis.

The TiPES Project:

Several subsystems of the Earth may respond abruptly at critical future levels of anthropogenic forcing, which have been associated with tipping points (TPs). It is paramount to identify safe operating spaces in terms of these critical forcing levels, in order to prevent harmful transitions to alternative, undesirable states of the Earth and its subsystems. The mechanisms leading to abrupt climate transitions are only partly understood, and reliable warning signals for forthcoming transitions are urgently needed. TiPES addresses these questions in a joint effort of 18 European institutions, combining paleoclimatology, time series analysis, Earth system modelling of past and future climates, applied mathematics and dynamical system theory, as well as decision theory.

Key responsibilities:

The successful candidates will be part of work package WP1 of the TiPES project, which focusses on the identification and analysis of abrupt climate transitions in the long-term past. Specifically, the candidates will be expected to work on

  • Statistical (e.g. Bayesian) methods to propagate uncertainties in paleoclimatic proxy records,
  • Early-warning signals of past abrupt transitions
  • Synchronization of transition events in different proxy archives and archeological data
  • Impacts of past abrupt transitions on ecosystems and ancient civilizations
  • Low-order modelling - incorporating climate, ecosystem, and social processes - to test hypotheses regarding the underlying chains of events


  • Master’s / PhD degree in physics, mathematics, meteorology, geosciences or a related field
  • Excellent skills in programming and numerical / statistical analysis of simulated and observed data are required
  • Experience in advanced methods of time series analysis and statistics is required.
  • Basic knowledge of paleoclimatology is of advantage
  • Willingness to travel for work (project meetings, workshops, and longer-term research visits) and take part in further training
  • High level of competence in oral and written English

We offer:

  • the chance to be part of a interdisciplinary collaboration of leading European research institutions
  • Participation at international workshops and conferences
  • a stimulating working environment in an internationally recognised research institute on Potsdam's beautiful, historic Telegrafenberg campus, a short commuting distance from Berlin
  • a collective pay scheme and associated benefits

PIK seeks to increase the share of women in scientific positions and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply. In cases of equal qualification and within the given legal scope, women will be given preference. Applications by persons with a migration background are expressly encouraged. Applications of disabled persons with equal qualifications will be regarded favourably. PIK also encourages applications by parents returning from parental leave.

Please send your full application (including cover letter, CV with list of publications, contact details of two referees, Master / PhD certificates) as a single PDF document by Email (Reference: PhD Positions and Postdoc-25-2019), quoting the position number given above and mentioning where you read about the position by 16.06.2019 at the latest to bewerbung@pik-potsdam.de.

The size of the file should not exceed 15 MB.

For further information or to discuss the position please contact Dr. Niklas Boers by Email: boers@pik-potsdam.de.