Postdoc – Material bottlenecks of the global energy transition

Jülich Research Centre (FZJ)

Jülich, Germany

Work group:

IEK-3 – Techno-ökonomische Systemanalyse


Area of research:

Scientific / postdoctoral posts


Job description:

Your Job:

The transformation of our energy system towards greenhouse gas neutrality requires large quantities of materials for the construction of new energy technologies. Among them are critical materials whose availability may be limited due to various constraints. These constraints include geological resources and reserves, geopolitical developments, current and future limits in recycling, and material demand from other sectors of the economy. This can lead to material bottlenecks that could subsequently jeopardize the energy transition. Against this background, your research should focus on the one hand on the future material demand by energy technologies together with a PhD student co-supervised by you and on the other hand on analyzing the availability of primary raw materials as well as the competing material demands of economic sectors beyond the energy system. Here, the following questions, for example, are to be addressed: How much of which primary raw material can be obtained where at what cost? What potential politically induced supply constraints might there be? Which materials are only available as co-products? How does material demand scale with lifetime and plant size? How might future technology developments impact material demand for energy technologies? How does material demand from other sectors of the economy evolve? Your creativity and expertise is needed to answer these questions. The results of your research should be integrated into a holistic open-source material energy system model in order to identify possible future material bottlenecks of the energy transition and options to avoid them. This is ideally compatible with our energy system model FINE: github.com/FZJ-IEK3-VSA/FINE

Your Profile:

  • A successfully completed Master`s degree in the field of natural or (industrial) engineering or a related field of study
  • Doctorate in the field of material flow analysis
  • Very good knowledge of material flow analysis methods
  • Good knowledge of energy technologies
  • Basic programming skills (e.g. Python)
  • High degree of independence and willingness to show great commitment
  • Very reliable and conscientious work style
  • Enjoy writing scientific publications
  • Fluent written and spoken English, German language skills would be an advantage

Our Offer:

We work on highly topical socially relevant issues and offer you the opportunity to actively shape change! We offer you optimal conditions for your successful scientific career:

  • Strong collaboration in a project team and participation in a renowned ERC Starting Grant (“MATERIALIZE”).
  • A highly motivated working group as well as an international and interdisciplinary working environment in one of the largest research institutions in Europe.
  • Excellent scientific and technical infrastructure – including the institute`s own cluster and access to the HPC in Jülich.
  • Supervision of PhD students and undergraduates
  • Opportunity to participate in (international) conferences
  • Mentoring by experienced scientists
  • Best conditions for successful work in a home office (a move to the Aachen-Düsseldorf-Cologne region is not absolutely necessary).
  • Attractive flexitime arrangements and a wide range of offers to reconcile work and family life.
  • Extensive offer of further trainings to support you in your scientific career in the best possible way
  • Full-time position with the option of slightly reduced working hours and flexible working time models
  • 30 days of annual leave and provision for days off between public holidays and weekends (e.g. between Christmas and New Year)
  • Targeted services for international employees, e.g. through our International Advisory Service


We offer you an exciting and creative role in an international and interdisciplinary working environment. The position is initially for a fixed term of 3 years and 3 months. Salary and social benefits will conform to the provisions of the Collective Agreement for the Public Service (TVöD-Bund) depending on the applicant’s qualifications and the precise nature of the tasks assigned to them.

We welcome applications from people with diverse backgrounds, e.g. in terms of age, gender, disability, sexual orientation / identity, and social, ethnic and religious origin. A diverse and inclusive working environment with equal opportunities in which everyone can realize their potential is important to us.

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.

Please apply via recruiter’s website.

Quote Reference: 2022-518