Postdoc and PhD in the field of renewable energy integration and environmental impact assesment

Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)

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 - we might have one of the positions in our team for you:

Postdoc and PhD position (m/f/d)

in the field of renewable energy integration and environmental impact assessment, starting in early 2020.

(Position number: RD3-Postdoc and PhD Position-44-2019)

We will be working together in projects on exploring sustainable energy system transformations in the context of global efforts to halt climate change. The results of this work feed into global assessments like the ones conducted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), as well as European and German level policy advice.

You will be working in the energy system research groups of PIK’s Research Department III 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.

We are offering the following two position profiles (PostDoc or PhD, based on qualification and the selection process):

Renewable energy integration and sector coupling:

Sector coupling is about an integrated perspective on the transition towards variable renewable electricity supply, the accelerated electrification and flexibilization of end uses as well as emerging technologies for converting power to fuels. Sector coupling is a central strategic element of the German Energiewende and the transitions to renewables-based power systems in other countries. As part of this position, you will develop and program algorithms to couple the REMIND model with a detailed hourly dispatch model in order to explore the climate change mitigation potential, system benefits and economics of sector coupling technologies.

Environmental Impact Assessment:

The focus of this position is on the development of a new method for integrating life-cycle assessment (LCA) with energy economic modeling to assess environmental co-benefits and adverse side effects of the energy transition. By coupling these two methods, you will analyze how alternative energy transformation pathways differ in terms of their environmental impacts, such as ecosystem damages from land occupation and toxicity, and derive optimal strategies that account not only for climate change mitigation, but also for other sustainability goals.

The position is funded for 3 years for PhDs and 2 years for PostDocs (with potential extension). Remuneration is in accordance with the German public tariff scheme (TV-L Brandenburg), salary group E 13. This is a full-time position for PostDocs with a weekly working time of 40 hours per week and a part-time position for PhDs (65%) with a weekly working time of 26 hours per week. Appointment is conditional on approval by the funding agency.

Key responsibilities:

  • Contributions to the development of the integrated assessment modeling framework REMIND
  • Model-based analyses of the relevance of new processes/technologies for climate change mitigation strategies
  • 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
  • Interest in research software engineering, programming experience (e.g. R or GAMS)
  • Active interest in energy systems analysis and climate change mitigation
  • Strong motivation and good organizational skills
  • Team-orientation and strong communication skills in English-the 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 such as 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

You will be co-supervised by Prof. Gunnar Luderer (Vice-Chair of Research Department III and Professor of Global Energy Systems at Technical University Berlin), and by Dr. Falko Ueckerdt and Dr. Robert Pietzcker (Sector Coupling).

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.

Application documents should comprise a letter of motivation, including research interests and referring to one or both of the position profiles listed above, a CV with the contact details of two referees, a sample of your work (e.g., term paper, thesis or journal publication, exam records, GitHub profile, online publication profile or similar).

Please send your full application as a single PDF document by Email (Reference: RD3-Postdoc and PhD Position-44-2019), quoting the position number given above and mentioning where you read about the position by 25.10.2019 at the latest to . The positions remain open until filled.

The size of the file should not exceed 15 MB.

For further information or to discuss the position please contact Ms. Laura Delsa, Email: Delsa(at)pik-potsdam.de, Telephone+49 (0)331-288-2528.