Researcher position in energy systems modeling: Sustainable industry transformation


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:
Sustainable industry transformation

(Position number: 02-2021-Researcher Position)

You will be working in the energy system research groups of PIK’s Research Department 3 on “Transformation Pathways”. More specifically, you will co-develop with us the REMIND model, one of the world’s leading integrated energy-economy climate modelling systems.

The focus of this position is on sustainable industry transformations in Germany and Japan. Industry is responsible for 38 % of global energy-related CO2, both directly via consumption of fossil fuels and process emissions, as well as indirectly through its demand for electricity and central heat. You will analyze the climate change mitigation potential of various options including (1) increases in material efficiency, i.e. reductions of material inputs per unit of service provided, (2) increase of the technical efficiency of production processes, (3) switch to low-carbon energy carriers, in particular electricity, hydrogen, or synthetic fuels, and (4) carbon capture and utilization (CCU) or storage (CCS). A question of special interest is the potential of different CCU options. Which options are already available, how large is their potential, and what are their comparative advantages and disadvantages?

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. PhD positions are funded with a 65 % share of the total E13 salary. It is a full-time position with a weekly working time of 40 hours per week.

Key responsibilities:

  • Contributions to the development of the integrated assessment modeling framework REMIND for the analysis of industry transition pathways especially in Germany and Japan
  • Literature review of relevant processes, technologies, and climate policy approaches in the industry sector
  • Implementation of these technologies and policies in the integrated assessment model REMIND
  • Model-based analysis of  various technology and policy solutions
  • 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
  • Capacity for teamwork
  • 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 3 and Professor of Global Energy Systems at Technical University Berlin), and by Dr. Jessica Strefler (Team lead Carbon Management).

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 “International trade of hydrogen, synthetic fuels and virtual energy”. If you apply for both positions, please indicate a preference.

For further information please contact Dr. Jessica Strefler, Email: .