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Research Associate (f_m_x) in Geopolitics of Energy Transformation: Sustainability Governance in ...

Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Closing date
12 May 2024

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Job Type
Employment - Hours
Full time

Job Details

Area of research:


Job description:

The Research Institute for Sustainability (RIFS) conducts research with the aim of investigating, identifying, and advancing development pathways for transformation processes towards sustainability in Germany and abroad. The institute was founded in 2009 as the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) and has been affiliated with the Helmholtz Centre Potsdam - GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences under its new name since the 1st of January 2023 and is thus part of the Helmholtz Association.

The RIFS is looking for a:

Reference Number 9290

The research group Geopolitics of Energy and Industrial Transformation at RIFS is looking for a researcher to work in our research project on the Geopolitics of the Energy Transformation: Sustainability Governance in the Hydrogen Sector, funded by the Federal Foreign Office.

The project will be analyzing the international sustainability governance landscape in the hydrogen sector, its strengths and weaknesses and its implications for the development of international supply chains and broader foreign policy goals. The research project will include field research in Africa or Latin America. The project also places a strong emphasis on dialogue and engagement with national and international stakeholders in the sector. The research findings will be converted into actionable policy implications and will feed directly into the work of the Federal Foreign Office.

The project will run from 01.04.2024 - 31.12.2025.

The research associate will lead the research project under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Rainer Quitzow and will be supported by a student research assistant.

Your responsibilities:
  • Overall project management and implementation
  • Conceptualization and preparation of deliverables
  • Research and analysis of sustainablity governance and certifcation in the international hydrogen sector and its geopolitical implications
  • Field research and dialogue with stakeholders in Africa or Latin America
  • Publication of research results in high-impact academic and policy-oriented outlets
  • Conceptualization and implementation of expert workshops
  • Engagement with experts and stakeholders to translate research findings into actional policy implications
  • Development of a network of experts
  • Attending international hydrogen-related conferences and events
  • Contracting experts for short studies and inputs
  • Regular engagement with the Federal Foreign Office
Your qualifications:
  • Master-level degree in social sciences/economics
  • Strong knowledge and interest in the global energy transition, preferably with expertise on hydrogen
  • Excellent English communication and writing skills
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Ability to work both independently and in a team setting
  • Experience with the application of quantitative and/or qualitative research methods
  • Experience in the publication of academic and/or policy-oriented texts
  • Willingness to work independently and in interdisciplinary teams within a high-paced environment
  • Knowledge of German is a plus
  • Knowledge of Spanish, Portuguese, French, Arabic or another language spoken in Africa is a plus
  • Work experience in research or policy with a focus on climate and energy is a plus
  • Regional experience in Africa or Latin America is a plus

Start date: 1st July 2024
Fixed-term: 31st December 2025
Salary: The position is classed as salary group 13 according to “TVöD Bund (Tarifgebiet Ost)”. The salary group is determined on the basis of the Collective Wage Agreement and the respective personal qualifications.
Working hours: Full-time (currently 39 hours/week); the position is generally suitable for part-time work.
Place of work: Potsdam

What we offer:
  • Ambitious and varied tasks in a dynamic and international research environment
  • Work in a high-paced, interdisciplinary and international team
  • Opportunity to develop skills in leading and managing projects
  • Access to a strong international network
  • Public service benefits
  • Extensive training opportunities
  • Professional career advice offered by our in-house Career-Centre
  • Flexible working hours and conditions
  • Support with finding a good work-life balance
Are you interested?
If so, we look forward to receiving your application by 12th May 2024. Please use our online application form only.Please submit a:
  • 1 page cover letter
  • CV
  • Transcript of academic record
  • Letter of recommendation from your latest employer
  • Writing sample (single author only)

Diversity and equal opportunities are integral components of our human resources policy. The RIFS actively promotes diversity and explicitly welcomes applications from all qualified individuals, regardless of ethnic and social origin, nationality, gender, sexual orientation and identity, religion/belief, age and physical characteristics. Anyone who has been recognized as severely disabled, will be given preferential consideration in the event of equal suitability and qualification in accordance with the provisions of the German Social Code IX. If you have any questions, please contact our representative for the severely disabled at, who will be happy to assist you in the further application process. In case of further queries regarding gender equality, please do not hesitate to contact our Equal Opportunities Officer at

Your personal data will be processed for the purpose of conducting the selection procedure on the basis of Art. 6 para. 1 b, Art. 88 GDPR in conjunction with Art. 26 of the Data Protection Act for the State of Brandenburg. After completion of the procedure, application documents will be deleted in compliance with data protection regulations.

For questions on the content of the project or the position, please contact Prof. Dr. Rainer Quitzow ( If you have any general questions about the application process, please contact our recruiting team at our phone number +49 (0) 331-6264-28787.

This research center is part of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers. With more than 42,000 employees and an annual budget of over € 5 billion, the Helmholtz Association is Germany's largest scientific organisation.


The Helmholtz Association contributes to solving major challenges to assure the future of our society. With more than 39,000 people on staff in 18 national research centres, the Helmholtz Association is Germany’s largest scientific organization. The name Helmholtz stands for concerted research in which networks form the key principle behind inquiring thought and action. Concerted research is efficient and flexible.

The profile of the Helmholtz Association

The Helmholtz Association performs cutting-edge research which contributes substantially to solving the grand challenges of science, society and industry. To succeed in meeting these responsibilities, Helmholtz concentrates its work in six research fields: Energy, Earth and Environment, Health, Key Technologies, Matter, as well as Aeronautics, Space and Transport. Within each of these fields, research programs are developed by our scientists and regularly evaluated by renowned international experts. Their evaluation forms the basis for the programme-oriented funding that is allocated to Helmholtz research. Within the six research fields, Helmholtz scientists cooperate with each other and with external partners – working across disciplinary, organizational and national borders.

Promoting young academics

Helmholtz scientists, a high-performance infrastructure and modern and efficient research management are the ingredients to the Helmholtz Association‘s success and global impact.
Promoting young researchers is a major priority for the Helmholtz Association. Its qualification schemes for young researchers are geared mainly towards PhD students, postdocs and young managers. The Helmholtz Association has set high standards for its talent management. Its strategy begins with targeted recruitment of highly qualified staff at all levels, followed by comprehensive support aimed at further developing their potential. Ensuring equal opportunities is an essential element in all talent management activities undertaken by the Helmholtz Association.

The Helmholtz Graduate Schools and Research Schools at almost all Helmholtz Centres provide doctoral students with the general and specific skills and training they need, as well as ample opportunity to network with other working groups. The period following a doctorate is decisive in determining the direction and success of a scientific career. For this reason, we are about to establish Career Centers for postdoctoral researchers in the Helmholtz centres and a mentoring programme for especially gifted PostDocs in order to foster career orientation. This equips young researchers with the skills they need to go on to head a Helmholtz Young Investigators Group, for example. As a Young Investigator Group leader, junior scientists can independently set up their own group to conduct research in their specialist field.

Within its talent management strategy, the Helmholtz Association pays special attention to the increased recruitment of talented female scientists both from Germany and abroad. To this end, there are currently two funding programs supporting this policy Funding of first-time appointments of excellent women scientists (W2/W3)’ and ‘Funding to recruit top-level international women scientists (W3)’.

The increasing complexity of the content, structures and framework conditions of scientific work today requires researchers to organise their projects, their employees and, of course, themselves in a highly professional and effective way. In response to these demands, we have set up the Helmholtz Management Academy to provide junior leaders in science with professional management training. Furthermore, the Helmholtz network provides a platform for the alumni of the Helmholtz Management Academy and Mentoring programme to come together and share their experiences of leadership, career development and lifelong learning.

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