Post Doctoral Earth System Modeler (m/f/d)

Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)

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 cutting-edge research in a project funded by the Global Challenges Foundation (GCF) through Future Earth Sweden (FE), PIK is looking for a

Post Doctoral Earth System Modeler (m/f/d)

Position number: 10-2021-Post Doctoral Earth System Modeler

starting on 15.3.2021 or as soon as possible thereafter.

The position is funded until 31.12.2023, with the possibility of extension. Remuneration is in accordance with the German public tariff scheme (TV-L Brandenburg), salary group E13. The position is full-time with a weekly working time of 40 hours per week. The position can be filled on a part-time basis.

The Global Challenges Foundation (https://globalchallenges.org/) is a non-profit foundation supporting increased awareness and knowledge of global systemic risks to humanity and of the governance required to manage such threats.

The position will support a review of global systemic risks caused by declining Earth system resilience to anthropogenic interference. Findings will contribute to both a Global Risks Report by GCF and a major EC report on the state of the Earth system. Qualifications of the applicant will demonstrate an ability to advance and perform research with PIK’s integrated Earth System Model (POEM). A focus will be on the integrity of the ecosphere, biogeochemical cycles on land and in the oceans, and associated Earth system tipping points. The applicant will have expertise in advanced computer modelling, planetary biogeochemistry or related disciplines and will be joining a team of Earth system modellers to add an analysis of large-scale systemic risks to the planetary human habitat. Future Earth will be coordinating the project with additional partners working on the governance of such risks.

Key responsibilities:

  • Lead an assessment of systemic risks to the Earth system as the human habitat arising from interactions been human-caused ecological disturbances of the ecosphere (particularly land transformations), and global climate change (particularly extreme events and irreversible changes)
  • Advance development of relevant model components of the Potsdam Earth Model (POEM) in the areas of biogeochemical cycles on land and/or the oceans and ecolog-ical and agricultural disruptions, with a particular emphasis on system dynamics in-volving critical thresholds
  • Design, conduct and analyse appropriate simulation experiments with POEM
  • Actively form a network of activities with team members at PIK, the GCF and the EC
  • Write and publish articles in peer-reviewed journals that highlight findings from the research, and present research findings at conferences and workshops
  • Substantially contribute to writing of the GCF report on Global Systemic Risks and reports of the Earth Commission


  • PhD degree (or equivalent) in a relevant field (mathematics, physics, geophysics, ecology or similar)
  • strong experience with Earth System modeling and model development
  • expertise in terrestrial and/or marine carbon cycle and/or ecological or atmosphere dynamics is a plus

We expect:

  • capacity for teamwork
  • fluency in oral and written English
  • advanced scientific programming skills
  • scientific writing skills
  • willingness to travel for work (project meetings, workshops etc.)

We offer:

  • the opportunity to work on cutting-edge scientific questions in Earth system analysis
  • a stimulating working environment in one of the world’s leading climate-change research institutes on Potsdam's beautiful, historic Telegrafenberg campus
  • competitive remuneration with 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, 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 send your full application as a single PDF document by 7.3.2021 at the latest, directly using our application form. The size of the file should not exceed 15 MB.

For further information or to discuss the position please contact Brigitta Krukenberg at krukenberg(at)pik-potsdam.de (general inquiries), Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Lucht at lucht(at)pik-potsdam.de.