Researcher position in energy systems modeling: International trade of hydrogen, synthetic fuels and virtual energy


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.

If you enjoy working in a very collaborative, supportive and international team, you love writing and improving code, you like analytical thinking and constructive problem-solving, and you want to contribute to tackling one of the big challenges of our time – then you may want to apply to the position in our team, starting in early 2021:

Researcher position in energy systems modeling:
International trade of hydrogen, synthetic fuels and virtual energy  

(Position number: 01-2021-Researcher position)

The focus of the position is on international trade of hydrogen, synthetic fuels and virtual energy (energy-intensive industrial goods such as steel).

Key questions are: How do global patterns of energy and industrial good trade change in the transition towards global climate neutrality? What are emerging forms or vectors of energy trade? How does global trade affect the energy and industrial transformation of Germany and other EU countries compared to renewable- and resource-rich countries like Australia or China?

Your task is to develop and apply a trade model that complements our REMIND model, which is one of the world’s leading integrated energy-economy climate modelling systems.

Candidates at postdoc level are encouraged to apply as well as those wishing to pursue a PhD in this area with a PIK supervisor.

The position is funded until 31.05.2023 (with potential extension). Remuneration is in accordance with German public tariff scheme, salary group E13 TV-L. It is a full-time position with a weekly working time of 40 hours per week. The position can also be filled on a part-time basis. PhD positions are funded with a 65 % share of the total E13 salary.

Key responsibilities:

  • Developing a trade model for hydrogen, synthetic fuels and virtual energy (industrial goods)
  • Contributions to the development of the integrated assessment modeling framework REMIND for the analysis of hydrogen and virtual energy trade
  • Literature research and data analysis on the relevant markets, technologies, and climate policy approaches
  • Model-based analysis of the role of trade and associated technologies and policies
  • Model-based analysis of the implications for selected countries (e.g. Germany, China, Australia)
  • Participation in project meetings
  • Presentation of results at international conferences
  • Publication of results in scientific journals


  • Master's Degree or PhD in Physics, Engineering, Economics, Environmental Sciences, Mathematics, System Sciences or a related field
  • Training in formal, quantitative methods, excellent analytical skills
  • Experience in research software engineering, programming experience (e.g. R or GAMS)
  • Active interest in energy systems analysis and climate change mitigation
  • Willingness to travel for work (project meetings, workshops etc.) and take part in further training
  • Strong motivation and good organizational skills
  • Team orientation and strong communication skills in English (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, including  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
  • A structured PhD programme with supervision agreements, a supervision team, reporting obligations, a career development plan, a mediator team and an interdisciplinary education programme
  • Career development opportunities for PostDocs, e.g. via the Humboldt Graduate School

You will be co-supervised by Prof. Gunnar Luderer (Deputy Head of Research Department III and Professor of Global Energy Systems at Technical University Berlin), and by Dr. Falko Ueckerdt (Team lead National Energy Transitions in Research Department 3).

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 apply by 28.02.2021 directly using our application form. Application documents should comprise a letter of motivation, including research interests, a CV with the contact details of two referees, and a sample of your work (e.g., term paper, thesis or journal publication, exam records, GitHub profile, online publication profile or similar).

Please note that there is a second position on “Sustainable industry transformation”. If you apply for both positions, please indicate a preference.

For further information please contact Dr. Falko Ueckerdt, Email: .