Postdoc position for Fire Regime and Vegetation modeling (m/f/d)

Potsdam-Institut für Klimafolgenforschung (PIK)

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.

Within the Horizon2020 Framework Programme, the Potsdam-Institute for Climate Impact Research and its Working Group ‘Ecosystems in Transition’ is offering a

Postdoc position for Fire Regime and Vegetation modeling (m/f/d)

Position number: 21-2021-Postdoc position

Awaiting final approval by the European Commission the position is planned to start 1.6.2021.

The position is funded for 3 years, remuneration is in accordance with the German public tariff scheme (TV-L Brandenburg), salary group E 13. The position is full-time with a weekly working time of 40 hours. The position can be filled on a part-time basis.

The H2020 Project FirEUrisk investigates changes of fire regimes within Europe under future climate- and landuse-change. In light of expected increased fire threats across Europe, the project work will assess adaptation strategies designed to be implemented in an integrated European fire management program. These tasks require improvement of established fire- and vegetation models by employing extensive use of Remote Sensing Data for implementation of hybrid models. This will happen in close collaboration with the Institute of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing of the TU in Dresden and the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Center in Frankfurt/M.

Key responsibilities:

  • Research on hybrid models for fire- and vegetation modeling, with the aid of Remote Sensing Data
  • Advancement of scenario-based simulation experiments to assess climate- and landuse-change in Europe
  • Assessing adaptation strategies for implementation in a climate-resilient European fire management program
  • Application of machine learning methods to build up and implement hybrid models into the fire-vegetation model LPJmL-SPITFIRE
  • Analysing changes of projected fire regimes and fire ecology
  • Analysis and communication of results with FirEUrisk partners


  • PhD degree in biology, environmental physics and–modelling, or general research on climate impacts
  • Expertise in analysing extensive amounts of remote sensing-, climate-, fire- and vegetation data with R and/or Python;
  • Practical experiences with Linux/Unix, High-Performance-Computing, Git, C and Shell-Skripts
  • Substantial experience with large-scale vegetation- and fire modeling as well as optimization algorithms or machine learning

We expect:

  • Capacity for teamwork within an inter-cultural context
  • Fluency in oral and written English
  • Scientific writing and presentation skills
  • Willingness to travel for work (project meetings, workshops etc.)

We offer:

  • The opportunity to work with interesting people in a dynamic environment on important research questions, imbedded in a large consortium with numerous international partners
  • A stimulating working environment in one of the world’s leading climate-change research institutes
  • Competitive remuneration with a collective pay scheme and associated benefits

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. Applications by persons with a migration background are expressly encouraged. Applications of disabled persons with equal qualifications will be regarded favourably. PIK also encourages applications by parents returning from parental leave.

Please send your full application as a single PDF document by 15.4.2021  directly using our application form.

The size of the file should not exceed 15 MB.

For further information or to discuss the position please contact Dr. Kirsten Thonicke, kirsten.thonicke(at)pik-potsdam.de.