Postdoc position for the project TESS


Climate and Earth system change need 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 a new project in the Working Group “Terrestrial Safe Operating Space” (TESS) in collaboration with the FutureLab “Earth Resilience in the Anthropocene” in the Research Department of Earth System Analysis, PIK is offering

a Postdoc position for planetary boundaries and food system modelling (m/f/d).

 (Position number: 23-2021-Postdoc position TESS)

We aim for a start of the position on 01.06.2021. The position is funded for two years. Remuneration is in accordance with the German public tariff scheme (TV-L Brandenburg), salary group E 13, ideally full-time with a working time of 40 hours per week. Appointment is conditional on final approval by the funding agency.

The work will entail conducting and analysing comprehensive simulations (with the biosphere model LPJmL) on the current status of terrestrial planetary boundaries as well as of options to provide food for a growing world population (through e.g. sustainable resource management and dietary changes) while staying within the boundaries. The candidate will work closely with the larger TESS and modelling team, in cooperation with an international consortium led by the Club of Rome International and the Norwegian Business School in the framework of the project “Earth4All: Achieving SDGs within Planetary Boundaries”.

Key responsibilities:

  • Improve the LPJmL model to robustly represent interlinked planetary boundaries (water use, land use change, nitrogen flows, biosphere integrity) in a spatially distributed way
  • Simulate current transgressions of these boundaries; Integrate scenarios of sustainable food supply options in this model frame
  • Link simulations to scenarios of climate change mitigation / negative emissions, Sustainable Development Goals, and social uptake dynamics
  • Write scientific papers and report contributions on the research findings.


  • PhD degree in environmental physics and modelling, geography, or related disciplines
  • Expertise in analysing large amounts of ecological, hydrological or agricultural data, ideally with a background in crop/water/nitrogen management
  • Substantial experience with large-scale ecologic, agricultural and/or hydrologic modelling and programming

We expect:

  • excellent programming/modelling/data analysis skills (ideally with R, C, Linux/Unix, High Performance Computing, shell scripts)
  • ability to work on own initiative, reliably in a team, with high motivation
  • a systematic approach, guided by product- and paper-oriented thinking
  • proficiency in the English

We offer:

  • the chance to be part of a dynamic team working at the frontier of Earth system science
  • a stimulating working environment in an internationally renowned research institute on Potsdam’s 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, they 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 apply by 15.04.2021 directly using our application form.

For further information or to discuss the position please contact Dr. Dieter Gerten, .