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.

PhD position "statistical ice-core analysis" (m/f/d)


Within the EU Innovative Training Network DEEPICE (“understanding Deep icE corE Proxies to Infer past antarctiC climatE dynamics”), the Alfred-Wegener-Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung, Forschungsstelle Potsdam offers a PhD student (m/f/d) in statistical ice-core analysis

Project Title: Estimating and accounting for diffusion in deep ice using advanced statistical methods

The anticipated starting date of this position is October 1st 2021.

This Early-Stage Researcher (ESR, PhD student) position is part of EU HORIZON2020 funded framework of the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN) DEEPICE. DEEPICE is a research and training network on understanding deep ice core proxies to infer past Antarctic climate dynamics. It is funded by the EU HORIZON2020 programme and consists of 10 academic partner organisations from 10 European countries plus nine collaborating institutions from academia and industry. In total 15 early-stage researchers (PhD students) will be employed after a competitive recruitment process and work together within the European DEEPICE consortium.

Project Description:

The next generation of collaborative European ice coring projects aims to retrieve valuable climate information from the deep ice located near the base of the Antarctic ice sheet. In such deep ice, water isotope records, the key for past temperature reconstruction, can be strongly affected by extremely high thinning and diffusion.

Accounting for the diffusion and mixing processes will thus be necessary to recover the amplitude of the climate variations and provide information as to which climate variations were consistent with the measured isotopic variations.

You will work on this challenge by

  • using and developing advanced statistical techniques for the estimation of the diffusion length based on existing ice-core isotope and multiproxy data
  • characterising and optimising the ice sampling and measurement process based on laboratory work and statistical analysis
  • testing and optimising deconvolution techniques based on existing ice-core records and artificial data.

Your work will play an important role in recovering the best possible climate signal from future water isotopic records on the Beyond EPICA ice core and inform the consortia how to sample and measure the water isotopes optimally.


  • To work independently, develop and carry through your research project
  • Write scientific articles and your PhD thesis with support from your supervisors
  • Disseminate your research, participate in network related and international conferences and workshops
  • To stay at a partner research institution for at least four months to develop new skills
  • You will be involved in the extensive DEEPICE training programme including three summer schools and outreach activities and training activities at AWI.


  • A Masters degree or equivalent title in physics, mathematics, meteorology or a related field
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Interested in statistical data analysis and thinking across the disciplines of climate sciences, physics and glaciology
  • Proficiency in a programming language is required and experience with statistics, climate research and/or glaciology is an advantage
  • A distinct interest in the scientific exchange and communication within the group members and interdisciplinary collaborators, especially within DEEPICE is expected.
  • Good language skills in oral and written English, since the working group is composed of international fellow researchers and the research results will be published in internationally renowned scientific journals.
  • Mobility to spend periods at the University of Copenhagen and the Risk Management Solutions company in London. The main work place will be Potsdam, Germany.

Due to the funding guidelines, the following applies

Eligibility: The candidate for this position can have any nationality but must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Germany for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date. The candidates must, at the time of recruitment by the host organization, be in the first four years of their research careers and must not yet have been awarded a title of PhD."

For each of the early-stage researcher positions a recruitment panel adhering to strict gender equality and equal opportunity rules will be set up. Selection criteria will encompass the potential as researchers, creativity, level of independence, teamwork ability, knowledge, and communication experience.

Further Information

For further information, please contact Prof. Dr. Thomas Laepple (; +49(331)288-2159)

This position is limited to 3 years. The salary will be paid in accordance with EU HORIZON2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie rules. The place of employment will be Potsdam.

All doctoral candidates will be members of AWI's postgraduate program POLMAR or another graduate school and thus benefit from a comprehensive training program and extensive support measures.

The AWI is characterised by

  • our scientific success - excellent research.
  • collaboration and cooperation - intra-institute, national and international, interdisciplinary.
  • opportunities to develop – on the job, aiming at other positions and beyond AWI.
  • a culture of reconciling work and family – an audited and well-supported aspect of our operation
  • our outstanding research infrastructure – ships, stations, aircraft, laboratories and more.
  • an international environment – everyday contacts with people from all over the world.
  • having an influence – fundamental research with social and political relevance
  • flat hierarchies – facilitating freedom and responsibility
  • exciting science topics, with opportunities also in technology, administration and infrastructure

Equal opportunities are an integral part of our personnel policy. The AWI aims to increase the number of female employees and therefore strongly encourages qualified women to apply.

Disabled applicants will be given preference when equal qualifications are present.

The AWI fosters the compatibility of work and family in various ways and has received a number of awards as a result of this engagement.

We look forward to your application!

Please forward your application by April 30th 2021 exclusively online.

Reference number 21/63/D/Geo-b

posted: 24 March 2021     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.