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Several Postdoctoral and PhD Researcher Positions


Several Postdoctoral and PhD Researcher Positions

on the Transformation of Energy Systems and Sustainable Development
at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)

The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) addresses crucial questions in the fields of energy system transformation, global change, climate impacts, 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 Telegrafenberg Potsdam is in 30 minutes commuting distance from Berlin. PIK seeks to increase the number of women in scientific positions.
The successful candidates will be working in international projects on the low-carbon transformation of energy systems, the economic impacts of climate change and the interactions between climate change and sustainable development, respectively.

Successful candidates will work on one of the following research foci

  • Carbon capture and usage (CCU): using CO2 emissions from fossils and biomass with renewable power (power-to-X) to produce e.g. synthetic fuels, materials, chemicals and fertilizers as an early entry to negative emissions via carbon dioxide removal (CDR) and a potential bridge to carbon capture and cycling (CCC);
  • Novel concepts for estimating climate change impacts on economic growth, and accounting for climate damages in integrated energy-economy-landuse-climate models
  • Development of a multi-sectoral growth model to study conceptually as well as numerically the interaction of structural change and economic growth with climate change and climate change mitigation policies.

The successful candidates will analyse the role of technologies and policy instruments in the energy sectors with a strong link to the debates in international climate and national energy policy (first three focus areas) and climate change and sustainable development impacts in future scenarios with a strong link to the debates on the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the UN 2030 SDG agenda (last two focus areas). The main methods used are numerical modeling of energy system and integrated system scenarios, data analyses and literature reviews, which are applied for analyses on various geographical scales (World, Europe, Germany and Australia).

Suitable candidates

  • hold a Master's Degree (PhD studentships) or PhD (PostDocs) in Physics, Engineering, Economics, Environmental Sciences, Mathematics,System Sciences or a related field;
  • have training in formal, quantitative methods, excellent analytical skills and interest in theoretical and applied modeling (e.g. R or GAMS);
  • have a strong motivation and good organizational skills;
  • are team-oriented, and possess strong communication skills in English. The working language at PIK is English.

We offer

  • an inspiring, international and interdisciplinary work environment in one of the world’s leading research institutes on climate change mitigation and energy systems transformation;
  • high-impact research: PIK researchers publish in renowned international journals such as Nature, Science, or PNAS
  • participation in solution-oriented research in projects with several German and international partners and with immediate policy relevance and impact on international assessments such as IPCC reports
  • opportunities for cooperation with PIK’s national and international network of leading climate & energy research institutes and think tanks
  • insights and experience in strategic research management and stakeholder consultation and advice
  • for PhDs: A structured PhD programme with supervision agreements, a supervision team, reporting obligations, a career development plan, a mediator team and an interdisciplinary education programme
  • for Postdocs: Guidance and supervision in postdoc career development

The successful candidates will be working in the integrate assessment and energy system research groups of PIK’s Research Domain III on “Sustainable Solutions”. They will be co-supervised by Prof. Ottmar Edenhofer (Chair of Research Domain III and Professor of Economics of Climate Change at the Technische Universität Berlin), and depeding on the focus area, by Dr. Elmar Kriegler (Head of Integrated Assessment Modeling), Dr. Gunnar Luderer (Head of the Global Energy Systems Group) and Dr. Falko Ueckerdt (Head of the START project on strategic scenarios analysis in Germany and Australia).


  • The envisaged starting dates for the positions are in early 2018.
  • Postdoc positions will initially be funded for two years, with potential extension.
  • PhD positions will initially be funded until 30 November 2020, while an extension to the full doctorate is envisaged.
  • Salaries are according to the German public tariff scheme (E13 TV-L, 65% for PhDs and 100% for Postdocs)

In cases of equal qualification women will be given preference for science positions. PIK actively promotes the compatibility of career and family life through a variety of measures. Disabled applicants of equal scientific and personal suitability for the post will be preferred. Positions can also be filled part-time. PIK encourages applications by parents returning from parental leave.

Application documents should comprise a letter of motivation including research interests referring to one or more of the research focus areas listed above, a CV with the contact details of two referees, a sample of your work (e.g., term paper, thesis or journal publication) and a publication list (for Postdoc applications). The review of applications will start on November 21st. The positions remain open until filled. Please send your documents preferably by email as a single PDF to: using the reference number RD3-START.