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.

For a new Horizon 2020 funded project “Remote Climate Effects and their Impact on European sustainability, Policy and Trade” (RECEIPT) PIK is offering a

PhD Position in modeling global food security (m/f/d)

in the research department “Transformation Pathways”, starting on 01.10.2019.
(Position number: RD3-PhD Position-35-2019)

The position is funded for 36 months. Remuneration is in accordance with the German public tariff scheme (TV-L Brandenburg), salary group E 13. This is a part-time position with a working time of 26 hours per week. Appointment is conditional on approval by the funding agency. 

In an interconnected world, Europe’s economy will be increasingly affected by climate change impacts that occur beyond its border. The RECEIPT project aims to develop and implement a novel stakeholder-driven storytelling concept that maps representative connections between European socio-economic-activities and remote climatic hazards. It provides mappings of global hotspots of remote areas with climate features relevant for Europe and for countries closely linked to Europe by development cooperations and shared security interests.

The successful candidate will analyze the impacts of climate change on the resilience of the global food system to local crop failures. For that, they will adapt the global dynamic agent-based supply-chain model Acclimate developed at PIK to agricultural commodity markets in order to dynamically resolve cascading supply-chain failures and associated food price spikes. A focus of the analyses will be put on food insecure countries of the Middle East and North African region, West Africa, and the Horn of Africa with strong import dependencies on major producers such as countries of the European Union, Ukraine, Russia, and the USA.

Key responsibilities:

  • Numerical simulations and analyses of food-shock cascades in the global food network
  • Assessments of the vulnerability of countries with respect to acute food insecurities under different climate change and socio-economic scenarios
  • Assessment of the effectiveness of different food security policies (e. g. build-up of food security stocks and a diversification of the supplier base)
  • Write and publish articles in peer-reviewed journals that highlight findings from the research project and present research findings at international conferences
  • Supervise Master students working on related topics
  • Contribute to the project’s public outreach and the interaction with relevant stakeholders


  • A Master’s degree in Physics, Mathematics, Environmental or Resource Economics, or in a related field 
  • Profound experience in object-oriented programming with C++ or another high-level language (e. g. Python)
  • Familiarity with Unix like environments, shell programming, and version control software (e. g. git)
  • Experience in software development is a strong asset
  • Expertise in data science (e. g. NumPy, SciPy, Pandas), in climate impact assessments or risk assessment or in machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques is an advantage

We expect:

  • Strong analytical and organizational skills and ability to work reliably and indpendently
  • Capacity to familiarise yourself quickly with new topics
  • Creativity and openness to new approaches
  • A high level of competence in oral and written English 
  • Willingness to travel for work (project meetings, workshops etc.) and take part in further training
  • Capacity for teamwork

We offer:

  • The chance to be part of a creative, interdisciplinary team 
  • A stimulating working environment in an internationally recognised research institute on Potsdam's beautiful, historic Telegrafenberg campus, a short commuting distance from Berlin
  • 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.

Application documents should comprise a letter of motivation including research interests, a full CV, relevant certificates including grades, contact details of two referees, a sample of your work (e. g., your master’s thesis, a journal publication), and a code sample (e. g., working program code or a GitHub repository).

Please send your full application as a single PDF document by E-Mail (Reference: RD3-PhD Position-35-2019), quoting the position number given above and mentioning where you read about the position by 19.08.2019 to The size of the file should not exceed 15 MB.

For further information or to discuss the position please contact  Dr. Christian Otto at

Potsdam-Institut für Klimafolgenforschung e.V. (PIK)
2019-08-19T22:00:00Z FULL_TIME
YEAR null
Potsdam 14473 Telegrafenberg
52.3806053 13.0642447

published: 31 July 2019     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.