The Helmholtz Centre Potsdam – GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences is the national centre for geosphere research. As a member of the Helmholtz Association we are part of the largest German scientific organization. With around 1,300 employees (including our guests) we develop a sound understanding of the systems and processes of the solid Earth as well as strategies and options for action to face global change and its regional impacts, to understand natural hazards and reduce associated risks, and to assess the influence of humans on the Earth's system.

As a partner in Geo.X (, the GFZ has access to an excellent network of other geoscience institutions in Potsdam and Berlin. This largest regional concentration of geoscientific competence in Europe offers first-class cooperation and development opportunities.

For section 2.5 "Geodynamical Modelling" (department "Geophysics"), we are looking for a:

Research Associate (m/f/x) Modelling of the Early Earth Dynamics Reference Number 4171

ERC Synergy Grant Project MEET "Monitoring Earth Evolution through Time", Geodynamics (Part1)

The ERC (European Research Council) Synergy Grant is the top prestigious research grant in Europe. Grant winner of 2019 Project MEET (Monitoring of Early Evolution through Time) combines innovative geochemical and petrological studies of evolution of chemical composition of Earth's crust and mantle from 4.4 billion years ago to present and physics-based geodynamic modelling of Earth's deep and surface processes.

In the Geodynamics (Part 1) of the MEET we will develop models of mantle convection, production and recycling of continental crust during the earliest stage of Earth evolution, before starting of global plate tectonics. In addition to the advanced geodynamic modelling we will establish cutting-edge routines linking physical processes to geochemical parameters, in cooperation with the geochemical groups of MEET Project in Grenoble (France) and in Madison (USA).

Your responsibilities:

  • conduct 2D and 3D regional and global computational models of mantle convection and crustal production during the earliest stage of Earth evolution
  • in cooperation with partner geochemists develop routines linking physical model parameters with geochemical parameters
  • improve and optimise the geodynamic modelling codes
  • design models and interpret modelling results in close cooperation with partner geochemists
  • participate in the MEET workshops
  • present results at international conferences and in scientific publications

Your qualifications:

  • Master's degree (or equivalent) in geophysics, physics, geology or a related discipline in Geosciences
  • experience in scientific programming (e.g. C++, Fortran, Python, Matlab etc)
  • experience in geodynamic modelling with advanced codes, in particular ASPECT, StagYY and UNDERWORLD codes
  • ability to work independently, as well as within a multidisciplinary team
  • very good command of the English language in spoken and written form
Starting date: 1st July 2020
Fixed term: 3 years with possible extension till mid 2026
Working hours: full-time (currently 39 h/week)
Salary: This position has been assessed as being salary group 13 according to "TVöD Bund (Tarifgebiet Ost)". The salary group will be determined by the conditions of the collective wage agreement and the appropriate personal qualifications.
Location: Potsdam

What we offer:

  • ambitious and varied tasks in a dynamic and international research environment
  • state-of-the-art equipment
  • 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 offered by benefit@work
  • institute day-care centre on site
  • working at the Albert Einstein science park on the Telegrafenberg in Potsdam
  • good public transport connections by being in walking distance of Potsdam main station

Did we pique your interest?

If so, we are looking forward to receiving your application by the 20th April 2020. Please use our online application form only.

Equal opportunity is an inherent part of our personnel policy. Therefore, we explicitly welcome applications from qualified women. Severely disabled candidates with equal qualifications will be given preference according to the SGB IX.

Your personal data will be treated in line with Art. 6 (1b) and Art. 88 GDPR in conjunction with § 26 BbgDSG during the selection process. After the selection process has been concluded, your application documents will be deleted, in line with data protection regulation.

In case of any further queries relating to the role's responsibilities, please contact Prof. Dr. Stephan Sobolev on +49 331 288-1940. If you have any general questions about the application process, please contact Ms Buge on +49 (0) 331 288-28787.