PhD position (m/f/d)

Potsdam-Institut für Klimafolgenforschung (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.

As part of an EU-funded, multi-institutional project “REmote Climate Effects and their Impact on European sustainability, Policy and Trade” (RECEIPT), PIK is offering a

PhD position (m/f/d)

in the field of climate extremes and human migration, starting on 1.10.2019 or as soon as possible.

(Position number: RD3-PhD Position-40-2019)

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

Millions of people are being displaced every year due to natural disasters, such as floods or storms. Global warming has the potential to make such disasters more destructive, and may thus increase displacement risk. We want to address research questions such as, has recent climate change already contributed to disaster-induced displacement? How will displacement risk change under further global warming, and which regions are affected? How does the vulnerability to disaster-induced displacement depends on the nature of the disaster, as well as on non-environmental factors? Do climate-related disasters also affect longer-term migration?

To this end, the successful candidate will apply a numerical model of global river flood hazard to assess the occurrence, extent, and severity of river floods under different climate scenarios. They will investigate the connection between floods and displacement, as well as the effect of other weather or climate extremes such as tropical cyclones, droughts or heat waves on human migration and displacement. They will also investigate the interactions between environmental and non-environmental drivers of displacement risk, exploring different scenarios of socio-economic changes.

Key responsibilities:

  • conduct research on the risk of human displacement induced by natural disasters in a changing climate
  • apply, evaluate, and contribute to the development of numerical models
  • write and publish articles in peer-reviewed journals that highlight findings from the research project, and present research findings at conferences and workshops
  • take part in the interaction with scientific partners and stakeholders within the project


  • a Master’s degree in Physics, Environmental Sciences, Mathematics, or a related field
  • strong programming skills e.g. in Python, C++ or another high-level language

We expect:

  • strong analytical skills
  • the ability to work reliably, independently and in a structured manner
  • capacity to familiarise yourself quickly with new topics
  • a high level of competence in oral and written English
  • willingness to travel for work (project meetings, workshops etc.) and take part in further training
  • capacity for teamwork
  • creativity and openness to new approaches are welcome

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 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 Email (Reference: RD3-PhD Position-40-2019), quoting the position number given above and mentioning where you read about the position by 16.9.2019 at the latest to .

The size of the file should not exceed 15 MB.

For further information or to discuss the position please contact Dr. Jacob Schewe at schewe(at)pik-potsdam.de.