PhD Student Position in Environmental Science

The Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) with its 1,100 employees has gained an excellent reputation as an international competence centre for environmental sciences. We are part of the largest scientific organisation in Germany, the Helmholtz association. Our mission: Our research seeks to find a balance between social development and the long-term protection of our natural resources.

In a framework of six strategic Research Units scientists address key environmental challenges following a solution-oriented approach. In order to strengthen its interdisciplinary work, UFZ is currently offering 4 PhD positions in the thematic Research Unit SMART Models and Monitoring: MOMENT: Towards improved understanding of the coupled water and carbon cycles of terrestrial ecosystems with special focus on extreme events. 

A fundamental challenge for model-observation comparisons lies in the scale mismatch between plot-scale observations and larger-scale predictions made in simulations. Within this PhD-college, procedures shall be developed and evaluated which can scale outputs from the ecosystem-level up to the regional and country scales by considering different temporal scales in sampling and modeling describing the biogeophysical and hydrological processes. For this aim we try to achieve simulation models that are able to represent biogeochemical/hydrological cycles and their coupled processes in a realistic way and scale the relevant processes to larger regions via remote sensing.

PhD position (m/f)

Project start: 1st July 2019 . Working time 65% (25,35 hours per week), limited to 3 years

Your tasks:

The PhD project will help to get a more complete picture of the consequences of extreme events on the behavior of different ecosystems. For this purpose, the PhD shall evaluate existing data sets of biotic and abiotic variables including flux data, and e.g. soil and biomass parameters with respect to average and extreme situations with their influence on carbon and water fluxes by linking the ecohydrological, (micro-) climatological, geophysical, hydrogeological, and pedological information on plot and ecosystem scale.
Main tasks will be the development of innovative strategies to analyse existing field data sets, identify missing processes in mechanistic representations of gross primary productivity and water fluxes supported by uncertainty analyses, footprint analysis as well as (geo)statistical methods including machine learning approaches.

Your profile:

Applicants with a degree in atmospheric science, physics, environmental or geosciences or a related field and a background in micrometeorology and data-assimilation procedures are encouraged to apply. The candidate should demonstrate programming skills (e.g., Python or Fortran), experience with scientific instruments, interest in self-coordinated realization of data-analysis and geostatistics is advantageous. Communication skills in English and willingness to work in a team, present and publish results at scientific conferences and peer-reviewed scientific journals are required. She/ He will benefit from related graduate activities and programs at the UFZ.

We offer:

  • Top level interdisciplinary research at a research centre which enjoys an excellent
  • reputation within Germany as well as internationally
  • Excellent technical facilities
  • Work in inter-disciplinary and multinational teams
  • Excellent links to national and international research networks
  • Support and optimal training courses by our graduate school (HIGRADE)
  • Remuneration in accordance with the TVöD public-sector pay grade 13 (65%)

Equal opportunities are an integral part of our personnel policy; we therefore particularly welcome applications from qualified women. Severely disabled persons are given priority where applicants are equally qualified.

Your contact for any questions you may have about the job:
Mrs Dr. Corinna Rebmann

Closing date for applications:

Place of work: LeipzigPlease use our online application system for your application.

More information about jobs at the

Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung GmbH – UFZ
Permoserstraße 15
04318 Leipzig, Germany