The Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) is a member of the Helmholtz Association (HGF) and funded by federal and state government. AWI focuses on polar and marine research in a variety of disciplines such as biology, oceanography, geology, geochemistry and geophysics thus allowing multidisciplinary approaches to scientific goals.

Young Investigator Group Leader (m/f/d)


As an internationally renowned Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research, the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) is one of the very few scientific institutions in the world that are equally active in the Arctic and Antarctic. It coordinates German polar research efforts, while also conducting research in the North Sea and adjacent coastal regions in Germany. Combining outstanding research infrastructure, cutting edge field work, and innovative modelling approaches the Alfred Wegener Institute explores nearly all aspects of the Earth system and its biodiversity - from the atmosphere to the ocean floor, from the coasts to the ice-covered seas and adjacent land.

Call for Expression of Interest - Young Investigator Group (YIG) in Polar and Marine Research: The Alfred Wegener Institute seeks Expressions of Interest from outstanding young scientists of two to six years post the completion of their PhD, to apply for their own Young Investigator Group

The two-step process starts with a selection process at the center. The final selection of candidates takes place by an external expert panel advising the president of the Helmholtz Association. Successfully YIGs will be hosted at the AWI, one of the world´s leading polar and marine institutes. Funding is on the order of €300,000 per year for a period of six years, with potential access to further substantial research infrastructure depending in internal negotiation within AWI.

Thematic track:

You will be eligible to apply if you have between two and six years1 of postdoctoral experience, research experience abroad2 and, of course, an exceptionally strong CV and letter of interest addressing one of the following topics for which we seek experts to strengthen our future research program. No more than two candidates will be selected in this first step.

  • 1) Observational oceanography
    The YIG conducts research in the field of polar physical oceanography based on in situ observations in the Southern Ocean. Research interests may target the large scale overturning circulation, water mass transformation, mesoscale and frontal dynamics or ocean-ice shelf interaction.

  • 2) Climate dynamics
    The YIG contributes to a better understanding of climate system dynamics from a polar perspective. The applicant should be experienced in climate modeling. It is anticipated that the YIG contributes to improving climate change projections and to determining the limits of predictability.

  • 3) Physics of Interfaces in Polar Seas
    The YIG studies meso- and microscale processes in the polar atmospheric boundary layer with a focus on sea ice-atmosphere-ocean interaction. The candidate has strong expertise in modeling and parametrization of interface processes, and in airborne observations and/or sea ice studies.

  • 4) Functional benthic ecology
    The YIG investigates the effect of climate, environment and human dynamics on benthic ecosystems and landscapes. The applicant should have a strong background in marine ecology with a focus on benthic community ecology of temperate and polar seas. Expertise in innovative in situ observation methods is of advantage.

  • 5) Coastal biogeochemistry
    The YIG will investigate the origin, turnover and fate of chemical substances in the transition between land and sea. Research focuses on the interplay of man-made influences and natural variability in fluxes of elements and matter. Applicants should be experienced in the coupling of pelagic-benthic processes. Knowledge in biogeochemical modeling is of advantage.

  • 6) Modeling of vegetation-climate interactions at northern high-latitudes
    The YIG will study the response of polar vegetation to climate dynamics. The candidate has expertise in field work and numerical modeling of vegetation and climate interactions.

  • 7) High resolution Paleoclimate studies
    The YIG studies high-precision stratigraphy of environmental archives using innovative chronological methods. The candidate should have expertise in geochemical and/or physical analyses of environmental archives (ice-cores, sediments, and their chronological coupling) and in the use of environmental proxies to study climate dynamics.

Free track:

You will be eligible to apply if you have an outstanding CV and a specific, novel idea for polar, coastal or marine research, in a field which you have recently excelled (e.g. high impact paper & idea for ERC application). You need between two and six years of postdoctoral experience3 , and research experience abroad4 . No more than one candidate will be selected in this first step.

Further Information

Website for Information:

For further information, please contact

You are interested?

The initial selection of candidates by the AWI (deadline 24 February 2019) will be based on the following selection criteria:

  1. Scientific excellence (project description)
  2. Candidate´s Excellence (CV and publication list5 )
  3. Compatibility with topics listed above
  4. Connection with a German university

Please send a letter of intent, a 2-page project summary, a full CV and publication list to by 24th February 2019. Candidates selected by the AWI Scientific Advisory Board will be invited to present their project at the end of March 2019. Candidates will be informed after final decision by the AWI board of directors and asked to provide a full proposal until 3 May 2019.

1 Parental leave periods in this phase will be taken into consideration at two years per child under 12
2 International research experience can be documented by minimum six-month continuous research stay abroad during the doctoral or postdoctoral studies.
3 Parental leave periods in this phase will be taken into consideration at two years per child under 12.
4 International research experience can be documented by minimum six-month continuous research stay abroad during the doctoral or postdoctoral studies.
5 CV should be widely similar to the corresponding template for ERC grants

posted: 29 January 2019     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.