The Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry (MPI-BGC) in Jena is dedicated to interdisciplinary fundamental research in the field of Earth system sciences with a focus on climate and ecosystems. The internationally renowned institute, which currently employs around 230 people, will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2022. Jena is known for high-tech industry, internationally renowned research institutions and a modern university, but it also has a beautiful natural setting in the green Saale valley with steep limestone slopes. The city of Jena has an active student scene and a diverse cultural life. For the department of Biogeochemical Signals we are looking for two

Scientific Programmer (m/f/d)

(Full-time, initially limited to 2 years with the possibility of extension)

Background and position description:

The aim of the Biogeochemical Signals Department is to integrate models and observations to better understand present and future interaction between the terrestrial biosphere, land-use and climate. The department develops complex numerical models to simulate biogeochemical cycles on local to global scales (e.g. QUINCY, Thum et al. 2019). We are looking for creative and innovative applicants, who will strengthen our efforts to tackle this important challenge and in particular contribute to coupling the QUINCY model into the ICON land model, as well as developing representations of land use change and disturbance regimes.

Your tasks:

  • Development of new scientific model components (conception, mathematical/numerical realisation, implementation, validation)
  • Verification of new scientific model components for their content-related, numerical and formal correctness, robustness and scalability
  • Development of workflows for pre-processing of driver data, model simulation, and postprocessing of model output
  • Supporting Bachelor/Master students, PhD students, and research assistants in model application, error analysis and correction
  • Writing scientific publications in the subject area of the position, as well as contributing to publications of the department by planning, performing and analysing model experiments
  • Supporting the scientific data processing of the department to operationalise and automate IT workflows

Your profile:

  • Successfully completed scientific university studies and PhD-thesis in computer science, informatics, bioinformatics, physics, geo-ecology, or comparable fields
  • Basic understanding of terrestrial biogeochemical cycles, terrestrial ecology, biosphereclimate interactions
  • At least three years of practical experience in scientific programming and data processing as well as in the development and application of highly complex and robust numerical models for the representation of dynamic systems
  • Extensive knowledge of relevant software and higher programming languages (e.g. FORTRAN, c++)
  • Sound knowledge and experience in the use of numerical analysis languages such as Julia, Python and/or statistical packages such as R are additionally helpful and explicitly desired
  • Experience in the use of HPC clusters, such as the system of the German Climate Computing Centre or comparable systems, including detailed knowledge of scripting
  • languages for process execution and automation
  • Ability to work independently as well as in a team
  • Very good written and spoken English

Our offer:

These full-time positions as Scientific Programmers (m/f/d) are to be filled as soon as possible; part-time work is generally possible. The position will be evaluated and graded following the collective agreement according to TVöD Bund; in addition, we will provide a pension plan based on the public service (VBL).

The Max Planck Society (MPS) strives for gender equality and diversity. The MPS aims to increase the proportion of women in areas where they are underrepresented. Women are therefore explicitly encouraged to apply. We welcome applications from all fields. The Max Planck Society has set itself the goal of employing more severely disabled people. Applications from severely disabled persons are expressly encouraged.

Your application:

Dr. Sönke Zaehle ( will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Are you interested? Please send us your application with cover letter, curriculum vitae as well a s names and contact information of two references summarised in a PDF file (max. 10 MB) by email to or to the

Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie
Personalbüro: Kennwort “Wissenschaftlicher Programmierer”
Hans-Knöll-Straße 10
07745 Jena

by 19 March 2021, quoting the reference number 02/2021. We kindly ask you not to submit copies of your application documents only, as your documents will be destroyed in accordance with data protection regulations after completion of the application procedure.

We look forward to receiving your application!

posted: 03 February 2021 Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.