Postdoctoral position on Food system Planetary Boundaries (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 the EAT-Lancet 2.0 project PIK is offering a

Postdoctoral position on Food system Planetary Boundaries (m/f/d).

(Position number: 20-2023 PostDoc EAT)

in the field of integrated Earth system analysis, starting as soon as possible but ideally no later than August 2023.

The position at PIK is funded for2 years. Remuneration is in accordance with the German public tariff scheme (TV-L Brandenburg), salary group E 13. This is a full-time position with a working time of 40 hours per week. It can be filled on a part-time basis.

Within EAT-Lancet 2.0 – an international science commission assessing healthy diets from sustainable food systems within planetary boundaries – a scientific effort is undertaken to quantify safe food system boundaries considering all planetary environmental boundaries, including for climate, biosphere (biodiversity, land use change, water use, nitrogen and phosphorus loads), ocean stability, air pollutants and novel entities (pesticides). This will be carried out through multiple strands of analysis and assessment (modelling, synthesis of published evidence).

You will work in the field of Earth system analysis, synthesising and advancing food-related planetary boundaries, in close collaboration with the EAT-Lancet 2.0 commission. You have a broad scientific experience and interest across Earth system domains. Earth system modelling experience is an advantage, as there is a need to run the PIK LPJmL model to assess some of the boundaries.

The overall scope of the EAT-Lancet commission is to understand how to feed 10 billion people a healthy diet, within planetary boundaries, in ways affordable and accessible for all. The interdisciplinary commission consists of 23 Commissioners from 19 countries, with backgrounds in e.g. public health, agriculture and livestock production, political science, behaviour change, food justice and environmental sustainability. At least five Post Docs and Early Career Scientists are being hired for the EAT-Lancet commission.

Key responsibilities:

  • Lead the scientific work on updating the quantification of food-related planetary boundaries (first published in 2019 as part of EAT-Lancet 1.0)
  • Advance LPJmL modelling to support quantification of planetary boundaries and perform targeted model simulations and output analysis
  • Cooperate with and coordinate teams of researchers beyond the EAT-Lancet commission to enable this quantification when needed
  • Work together with the model intercomparison team of the EAT-Lancet 2.0 commission, who will be using food system planetary boundaries in scenario modelling
  • Work together with the Planetary Health Diet team of the EAT-Lancet 2.0 commission to advance integration of health and planetary boundaries
  • Contribute to the overall EAT-Lancet 2.0 publication, but also conduct stand-alone scientific papers in collaboration with other researchers in the commission and the PIK/LPJmL modelling team.


  • PhD in Earth system science or global sustainability, or any other relevant subject
  • Advanced programming expertise (ideally in C and/or R)
  • Advanced experience with analyses of environmental impacts and/or sustainability of food systems, demonstrated in academic outputs in the form of scientific publications
  • Strong interdisciplinary interest and experience
  • Strong coordination and team-building capabilities, with organisational talent and experience in working collaboratively on science and software.

We expect:

  • Ability to formulate own original research ideas and conduct research independently
  • A methodical and systematic approach based on structured goal-oriented thinking
  • Ability to communicate research ideas and results, willing to travel for work meetings
  • A high level of competence in oral and written English
  • Reliability, engagement and a high level of motivation.

We offer:

  • The chance to be part of a creative, interdisciplinary team
  • A stimulating working environment in an internationally recognised research institute on Potsdam’s beautiful, historic Telegrafenberg campus, a short commuting distance from Berlin
  • Flexi-time and mobile working (up to 40% of your hours)
  • A collective pay scheme and associated benefits as well as a subsidized travel card.

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 by 31.05.2023directly using our application form.

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 case you do not yet have this statement, please be aware that you will need to request it 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 Dieter Gerten (dieter.gerten(at)pik-potsdam.de).