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Earth System Science Position (m/f/d)

Raven51 AG (Potsdam-Institut für Klimafolgenforschung e.V. (PIK))
Potsdam, Brandenburg (DE)
Remuneration is in accordance with the German public tariff scheme (TV-L), salary group E 13
Closing date
11 Mar 2024

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Applied Science, Earth Science, Environmental Science, Mathematics, Physics
Job Type
Postdoctoral, Researcher
Employment - Hours
Full time
Fixed term

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.

In the research department Earth System Analysis, we are offering an exciting opportunity to be part of the new Planetary Boundary Science Initiative (PBScience). We are offering an

Earth System Science Position (m/f/d) (Position number: 03-2024 Biosphere)

in the field of Planetary Boundary Biosphere science, ideally starting on 01.04.2024 or as soon as possible thereafter.

The position is initially funded until March 2027. Extensions are envisaged but depend on new external funding. 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 weekly working time of 40 hours. The position can be filled on a part-time basis. Appointment is conditional on approval by the funding agency.


The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and its partners are launching a major project: The Planetary Boundary Science Initiative (PBScience).

A key output of PBScience will be the annual Planetary Boundary (PB) Health Check, conceived and reviewed by a diverse international scientific and stakeholder community. Employing cutting-edge earth system and tipping-point modelling, ambitious whole earth monitoring, and exploring artificial intelligence-based big-data analytics, the Health Check shall offer a comprehensive, timely, and unparalleled assessment of the planet's health. 

Key responsibilities

Work in a team to advance Planetary Boundary (PB) Science and formalize and conduct PB assessments including

  • Formalize the PB assessment process by establishing standardized decision procedures, documentation protocols (core data sets, scenarios, time horizons, PB-quantification algorithms etc.) for the biosphere-related boundaries.
  • Collect and re-evaluate biosphere-related available PB data to help create an up-to-date PBScience data lake.
  • Employ the newest available data to check the status of the biosphere-related PBs.
  • Refine existing and identify additional control variables to ensure the best possible representation of the PBs. 
  • Assess PBs in light of state-of-the-art modelling results, in particular with regards to interactions between the PBs and the most up-to-date knowledge on tipping points. 
  • Convene expert elicitations on boundary quantification, control variables and data sources in the form of written surveys, one-on-one interviews and in-person consultations, ensuring scientific excellence and the greatest possible buy-in from the scientific community and beyond.
  • Work on synthesizing and compiling the annual PB Health Check report.
  • Present results at academic conferences and publish them in peer-reviewed journals.


We require a PhD in a relevant subject area (e.g., Environmental Science, Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, or related field), experience in data analysis, and a strong scientific publication record appropriate for the level of experience. Experience in Biosphere Modelling is beneficial.

We expect

  • a good understanding of the Biosphere including biosphere integrity, biodiversity and ecosystems
  • ideally a good understanding of the nitrogen and phosphorus cycles
  • good programming skills
  • the ability to work independently and on your own initiative
  • structured and goal-oriented thinking
  • capacity to familiarize yourself quickly with new topics
  • creativity and openness to new approaches
  • high level of proficiency in the English language
  • reliability, the ability to cope with the challenges of research environments, and a high level of motivation
  • willingness to travel for work (project meetings, workshops etc.) and take part in further training
  • capacity for teamwork 
  • organisational talent

We offer

  • the chance to be part of a creative, interdisciplinary team
  • a stimulating working environment in an internationally recognized research institute on Potsdam's beautiful, historic Telegrafenberg campus, a short commuting distance from Berlin
  • flexitime and mobile working (up to 50% 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 11.03.2024 directly via our application form.
The application process remains open until the position is filled.

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 will need to request this if your application is successful. You can find further information on this website:

For further information or to discuss the position, please contact  Dr. Levke Caesar, Telephone +49 (0)331-288-27042 or per Email:

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