Postdoc or PhD candidate position Transience (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.

PIK’s Research Department III – Transformation pathways – is offering a

Postdoc or PhD candidate position Transience (m/f/d)

(Position number: 50-2023 Scientist Transience)

in the field of Modelling the transformation and circularity in energy-intensive industries (steel, cement, and plastics).

The position is initially funded for 3 years(Postdocs) or 4 years (PhD candidates). Extensions are envisaged and rely on new external funding. Remuneration is in accordance with the German public tariff scheme (TV-L Brandenburg), salary group E 13 (75% for a PhD candidate). The full-time position for the Postdoc has a weekly working time of 40 hours. It  can also be filled on a part-time basis.

Which green technologies will dominate the future production of steel, plastics and cement? How deep can we cut emissions through sufficiency, recycling or alternative feedstocks? How do decarbonization and circular economy interact? Which countries will be the main exporters and importers of future green materials? If these questions pique your interest and if you enjoy collaborative programming in an international team, this position is right for you.

As a valuable member of our team, you will model and assess transformation options, circularity and scenarios for the industry transformation with our global integrated assessment model REMIND and a coupled material-flow model (based on the ODYM framework). You will discuss with international research partners, industry stakeholders and policy makers about the research implications for policy and transformation strategies in different world regions and global material trade.

Key responsibilities:

  • Collaborative code development in an interdisciplinary and international team
  • Deriving global, European and German energy transformation pathways with the integrated assessment model REMIND with a focus on industry sectors, material production, hydrogen and trade
  • Understanding circularity through material flow analyses based on the ODYM framework, which is coupled to the REMIND model
  • Collaboration with national and global modelling teams from around the world in international research projects
  • Communication of research results in stakeholder dialogues with industry actors and policy makers
  • Postdocs: Publishing scientific papers in renown journals (e.g., Nature Climate Change) and supervising MA students and PhD candidates
  • PhD candidates: Publishing at least three scientific papers for your cumulative PhD thesis and supervising MA students


  • PhD or Master’s Degree in Physics, Engineering, Economics, Environmental Sciences, Mathematics, Computational Sciences or a related field
  • Excellent analytical skills and interest in theoretical and applied modelling
  • Required: demonstrated programming experience
    (knowledge of R, Python and/or GAMS would be ideal)
  • Experience with multi-person code development projects and git is a plus
  • Ideally (but not required): Experience with energy systems analysis, material flow analysis or integrated assessment modelling of climate change
  • Postdocs: demonstrated experience in publishing and presenting scientific work

We expect:

  • Capacity to collaborate in a team, while progressing independently with own responsibilities;
  • Structured, goal-oriented thinking and clear communication;
  • Capacity to familiarise yourself quickly with new topics;
  • Creativity and openness to new approaches;
  • Reliability and a high level of motivation;
  • A high level of competence in oral and written English;
  • Willingness to travel for work (project meetings, workshops etc.).

We offer:

  • The chance to be part of a creative, interdisciplinary, international team developing the internationally recognized model REMIND and complementing models,
  • Opportunities for direct stakeholder engagement and high-level policy advise to use your research to make a difference,
  • A stimulating working environment in a recognised research institute on Potsdam's beautiful, historic Telegrafenberg campus, a short commuting distance from Berlin,
  • Flexi-time and mobile working (up to 50% of your hours),
  • Opportunities for cooperation with PIK’s national and international network of leading climate & economic research institutes and think tanks,
  • A collective pay scheme and associated benefits as well as a subsidized travel card or Deutschland-Ticket Job.

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 using our application form clearly specifying the position you are applying for by providing the reference given above. The job posting will remain open until the position is filled.

Application documents should comprise a letter of motivation, CV, relevant certificates and transcripts (including final high school and university grades), a compilation of programming experience (ideally with a link to a personal git account or similar) as well as an indication of references. Please upload only one pdf file.

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 may be asked to apply for one if your application is successful. You can find further information on this website: https://www.kmk.org/zab/central-office-for-foreign-education.html.

For further information or to discuss the position please contact Dr. Falko Ueckerdt (ueckerdt(at)pik-potsdam.de).