The Helmholtz Centre Potsdam – GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences is the national centre for research into the geosphere. With around 1,650 employees, we develop a sound understanding of systems and processes of the solid Earth as well as strategies and options for action to counter global change, understand natural hazards and sustainably secure energy and raw material requirements.

For section 4.5 Subsurface Process Modelling (Department 4 “Geosystems”), we are looking for a:

PhD Position (f_m_x) “Hydro-mechanic effects of climate changes in North Central Europe” Reference Number 9479

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This position is part of the EU-funded Marie Skłodowska-Curie Doctoral Network “Climate-Tectonics Interactions using Big Data informed Models” (INITIATE, We are seeking for a candidate to build a digital twin of the subsurface of North Central Europe as a base for 3D simulations of coupled thermo-hydraulic-mechanical (THM) processes considering different climate scenarios. The objective is to assess the influence of present and past climate changes on the THM configuration as relevant for availability and preservation of groundwater resources, heat and energy storage, geothermal energy production and deposition of nuclear waste.

The PhD position is subject to approval by third-party funders.

Your responsibilities:

  • Integration of geological and geophysical data into a 3D structural model resolving first-order heterogeneities (sediments, crust and lithosphere mantle)
  • Identification, compilation and analysis of available data describing groundwater conditions and present and past climatic conditions
  • 3D forward simulations of coupled THM processes under different climate scenarios
  • Construction of surrogate model for ensemble simulations – global parameter and uncertainty quantification
  • Quantification of future (climate) scenarios
  • Interpretation and publication of results in peer-reviewed journals

Your qualifications:

  • Master’s degree or diploma in physics, mathematics or geosciences is mandatory
  • Knowledge of thermal-hydraulic-mechanical physical processes
  • Knowledge in 3D structural modeling and numerical methods
  • Programming skills are an advantage
  • Good English language skills


  • Researchers recruited in a doctoral network must be early-stage researchers and not have been awarded a doctoral degree
  • At the time of recruitment researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity in the country of their host organisation for more than 12 months in the 3 years prior to the reference date (EU mobility rule)

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
  • Workplace within walking distance of Potsdam main train station, or just a short ride on the shuttle bus
Start date: Earliest start is October 1st 2024 (latest February 1st 2025)
Fixed term: 36 months
Working hours: Full-time (currently 39 h/week)
Place of work: Potsdam
Salary: (subject to local taxes, social security deductions, etc.):
  • 3342 €/month gross living allowance
  • 600 €/month gross mobility allowance
  • When applicable, a family allowance may also be provided in the amount of 660 €/month
  • Other possible allowances include long-term leave and special needs

Have we piqued your interest?

If so, we look forward to receiving your application by 15th August 2024. Please use our online application form only.

Requirements on the application:
(templates on:

  • Cover letter on research interests plus motivation (use template)
  • Mobility declaration including documentation (use template)
  • Names and contact information of two referees (use template)
  • CV (use template)
  • Transcripts and diplomas on master degree. If not available, a confirmation from your institution on completed degree by the application deadline (August 15th 2024)
  • Approved documentation of proficiency in English
  • Scientific publication list (if applicable)

Diversity and equal opportunities are integral components of our human resources policy. The GFZ actively promotes diversity and explicitly welcomes applications from all qualified individuals, regardless of ethnic and social origin, nationality, gender, sexual orientation and identity, religion/belief, age and physical characteristics. Anyone who has been recognized as severely disabled will be given preferential consideration in the event of equal suitability and qualification in accordance with the provisions of the German Social Code IX. If you have any questions, please contact our representative for the severely disabled at sbv[at], who will be happy to assist you in the further application process. In case of further queries regarding gender equality, please do not hesitate to contact our Equal Opportunities Officer at gba[at]

Your personal data will be processed for the purpose of conducting the selection procedure on the basis of Art. 6 para. 1 b, Art. 88 GDPR in conjunction with Art. 26 of the Data Protection Act for the State of Brandenburg. After completion of the procedure, application documents will be deleted in compliance with data protection regulations.

In case of any further queries relating to the field of activity, please contact Dr. Mauro Cacace via email at If you have any general questions about the application process, please contact our recruiting team at our phone number +49 331 6264‑28787.