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PhD student Crop Modelling

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PhD Position in Crop Modeling
in Research Domain 2
at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)

3-year position, 65%, TV-L E13

The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) addresses crucial questions in the fields of global change, climate impacts, energy system transformation, and sustainable development. Natural and social scientists work together to generate interdisciplinary insights that provide a sound basis for decision-making in society and policy. PIK’s historic science campus on Telegraphenberg Potsdam is in 30 minutes commuting distance from Berlin. PIK seeks to increase the number of women in scientific positions.

Job Desciption

We are looking for a highly motivated PhD student to conduct her/his research in the field of agricultural risk management and climate impact modeling with the aim of generating results relevant to end-users in the project target countries (India, Peru, and Tanzania).

Together with the Indian, Peruvian and Tanzanian government, research institutes and organizations, we aim to transform research into user-oriented climate services and policy that enable each country to better adapt to climate change in the complementary fields of Climate, Hydrology and Water Resources, Agriculture and Migration. This PhD position is located in the field of agriculture and should focus on developing risk transfer and risk management solutions should to stabilize the crop production of smallholder farmers. The work is carried out within the three-year project EPICC which will be funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI), a program of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety of Germany – BMUB.

Key Responsibilities

  • Conduct your PhD on crop modeling and risk management in one of the project target countries (Tanzania, Peru, India) with special focus on Tanzania
  • Contribute to the organization and conduct of stakeholder workshops with governmental stakeholder and/or agricultural insurers in Tanzania, India and Peru Write and publish articles in peer-reviewed journals that highlight findings from the research project and present research findings at international conferences


  • You hold a Master degree in Agriculture, Geography, Statistics, Economics or related fields.
  • You have profound knowledge in agriculture, agricultural economics, climate impact analyses, and/or sustainable development in particular for Tanzania.
  • You hold expertise in statistics, programing skills in R and Geographical Information Systems (GIS), experience with remote sensing satellite data is valuable.
  • First experiences in crop modeling (process-based/ statistical) or other agricultural and climate impact modeling expertise are an advantage.
  • You have knowledge or are interested in risk management and transfer solutions (i.e. insurance solutions).
  • Experiences in working in developing countries (notably in the target country Tanzania) are an asset.
  • The willingness to travel to the target countries is necessary.
  • You have good communications skills and are fluent in oral and written English. Proficiency in Kiswahili is an asset.

We offer

  • An inspiring, international, and interdisciplinary work environment in one of the world’s leading research institutes on climate change
  • High-impact your of own research through publications in renowned international journals
  • Participation in user driven research projects with international partners
  • Insights into international projects with extensive stakeholder engagement
  • Opportunities for cooperation with PIK’s national and international network of leading climate and agricultural research institutes
  • Guidance and supervision during the PhD phase


  • The envisaged starting date for the position is as soon as possible and subject to approval of funding.
  • The position will be funded for 3 years.
  • Salaries are according to the German public tariff scheme E13 TV-L, 65%

PIK seeks to increase the share of women in scientific positions and therefore explicitly encourage 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, provided they fulfil the conditions for appointment, are expressly encouraged. Applications of disabled persons with equal qualifications will be regarded favorably. PIK is also encouraging applications by parents returning from parental leave within the availability of financial resources.


Application documents should comprise a letter of motivation, a CV, relevant certificates, and a short sample of your work (e.g. term paper, section of the thesis or journal publication (ca. 2-10 pages)). Interviews will be held on December 18th – 20th.

Closing date for all applications is December 10th 2017.

Please send your documents by email as a single PDF (not more than 15MB) to: using the reference subject EPICC_RD2_PhD_Agr. For any queries regarding the position, please contact Christoph Gornott at