Postdoctoral position on food system planetary boundaries (m/f/d)



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 EAT-Lancet 2.0 project PIK is offering a

Postdoctoral position on food system planetary boundaries (m/f/d).

(Position number: 02-2023 PostDoc EAT)

in the field of integrated Earth system analysis, starting on 01.05.2023.

The position is funded for 2 years. Remuneration is in accordance with the German public tariff scheme (TV-L Brandenburg), salary group E 13. This is a full-time position with a weekly working time of 40 hours per week. Appointment is conditional on approval by the funding agency. The position can be filled on a part-time basis.

Within EAT-Lancet 2.0, an international science commission assessing healthy diets from sustainable food systems within planetary boundaries, a scientific effort is undertaken to quantify safe food system boundaries for all 9 planetary boundaries, including for climate, biosphere boundaries (biodiversity, land use change, freshwater use, overloading of nitrogen and phosphorus), and also ocean stability, air pollutants and novel entities (pesticides). This will be carried out through multiple strands of analysis and assessment, e.g., modelling and synthesis of published evidence.

The overall scope of the EAT-Lancet commission is to understand how to feed 10 billion people a healthy diet, within planetary boundaries, in ways that are affordable and accessible for all. The interdisciplinary commission consists of 23 Commissioners from 19 countries, with backgrounds in e.g. public health, agriculture and livestock production, political science, behaviour change, food justice and environmental sustainability. At least five Post Docs and Early Career Scientists will be hired for the EAT-Lancet commission, of which one will based at PIK.

Key responsibilities:

  • lead the scientific work on updating the quantification of food related planetary boundaries (first published in Lancet 2019, as part of EAT-Lancet1.0),
  • advance LPJml modelling to support quantification of safe planetary boundaries for food,
  • coordinate teams of researchers beyond the EAT-Lancet commission to enable quantification of boundaries, when needed (e.g., for nitrogen, phosphorus, and biodiversity),
  • work together with the model inter-comparison team of the EAT-Lancet 2.0 commission, who will be using food system planetary boundaries in scenario modelling,
  • work together with the health team of the EAT-Lancet 2.0 commission, in order to advance an integrated Planetary Health Diet (integrating health and planetary boundaries),
  • contribute to the overall EAT-Lancet 2.0 publication, but also conduct standalone scientific papers in close collaboration with other researchers in the commission,
  • engage with policy and business communities at the international level.


  • PhD in Earth system science or global sustainability, or any other relevant subject,
  • advanced experience with analyses of environmental impacts and sustainablility of food systems, demonstrated in academic outputs in the form of scientific publications,
  • strong inter-disciplinary interest and experience,
  • strong coordination and team building capabilities,
  • advanced experience in working collaboratively on science and software.

We expect:

  • ability to formulate own original research ideas and conduct research independently,
  • willingness to work as part of a transdisciplinary team,
  • ability to communicate research ideas and results and an interest engage with stakeholders outside the academic community,
  • a methodical and systematic approach,
  • structured and goal-oriented thinking,
  • capacity to familiarise yourself quickly with new topics,
  • creativity and openness to new approaches,
  • a high level of competence in oral and written English,
  • reliability, the ability to cope with stress, and a high level of motivation,
  • willingness to travel for work (project meetings, workshops etc.) and take part in further training,
  • organisational talent.

We offer:

  • the chance to be part of a creative, interdisciplinary team,
  • a stimulating working environment in an internationally recognised research institute on Potsdam's beautiful, historic Telegrafenberg campus, a short commuting distance from Berlin,
  • flexi-time and mobile working (up to 40% of your hours),
  • a collective pay scheme and associated benefits as well as a subsidized travel card.

PIK values equality and diversity. We encourage applications without photo. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment regardless of ethnic and social origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, care responsibilities, or age. 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. PIK also encourages applications by parents returning from parental leave.

Please apply by 28.02.2023 directly using our application form.

If you hold an international higher education qualification, please also submit the Statement of Comparability from the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB) with your application. In the case that you do not yet have a ZAB Statement of Comparability for your qualification, please be aware that you will need to request this if your application is successful. You can find further information on this website:

For further information or to discuss the position please contact Janin Schaffer (

Total E-Quality

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