Postdoctoral position (m/f) – Analysis of socio-environmental systems in the POLISES group

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.

At the Department of Ecological Modelling, the Junior Research Group “POLISES – Global food security policies and their social-ecological side effects in regions prone to global change” ( has been working since 2014. The group uses social-ecological modelling to analyse how policy instruments targeted at mitigating climate risks in agriculture may affect pastoral livelihoods and ecosystems in Morocco and Ethiopia. A special interest of the group is the theory and modelling of human decision making. In the final project year, the group will concentrate on synthesis work and further methodological progress, including the integration of remote sensing data into models.

We are currently looking to fill the following vacancy:

Postdoctoral position (m/f) – Analysis of socio-environmental systems in the POLISES group
Working time: 100% (39 h / week). The position is initially limited until October 31, 2018, but will be extended to October 31, 2019 if granted funding. Starting date: as soon as possible.

Your tasks:
- Extend and analyse existing social-ecological simulation models for livestock and crop farmers in drylands, studying the effects of climate risk instruments
- Parameterise the pastoral ecological model based on remote sensing data
- Carry out synthesis work on pastoral systems
- Contribute to publications and presentations
- Exchange knowledge with local and international stakeholders relevant in this research context

Your profile:
- An excellent PhD degree in a relevant field of research, including systems science, mathematics, physics, geography, (geo-)ecology
- Proven interest in sustainable land use and food security, ideally combined with empirical expertise in dryland pastoral systems
- Competence in systems theory and interdisciplinary thinking
- Expertise in modelling and analysing land use systems is an asset
- Ideally: proficiency in computer programming (C++, Java, NetLogo) and advanced statistical methods
- Expertise in handling remote sensing data would be an asset
- Fluency in written and spoken English

We offer:
- Excellent technical facilities which are without parallel
- The freedom you need to bridge the difficult gap between basic research and close to being ready for application
- Work in inter-disciplinary, multinational teams and excellent links with national and international research networks
- A vibrant region with a high quality of life and a wide cultural offering for a balance between family and professional life
- Interesting career opportunities and an extensive range of training and further education courses
- Remuneration up to TVöD public-sector pay grade 13 including attractive public-sector social security benefits

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at