open positions in PalMod

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. 

The research group ‘ Terrestrial Environmental Systems' at AWI and the newly funded ERC Starting grant project SPACE (Space time structure of climate change,, in Potsdam, Germany, invites applications for 

PhD or Postdoc (Spatial and temporal variability of vegetation & climate). 

The position encompasses data analysis, and statistical and numerical modeling of the temporal and spatial variability in pollen records. 

To understand how the Earth’s climate and environment has evolved over long time-scales, we investigate paleoclimate archive such as sediment cores. On land, pollen records recovered from lake sediments are the most extensive dataset available for the reconstruction of past landcover and climate change. Worldwide, several thousand pollen stratigraphies tell the history of the environment and related climate evolution of the last ten thousand and more years. 

You will analyze the temporal and spatial variability of pollen records. This will allow deciphering the climate and non-climate factors controlling pollen records and their underlying vegetation. It will further provide estimates of decadal to millenial climate variability on land. A comparison with state of the art earth system models will provide a test to our present understanding of the climate and vegetation system. Tasks include the compilation and statistical analysis of multivariate datasets and the interpretation of the results using conceptual models, state-of-the art earth system model simulations and observations from remote sensing. 

The position requires a MSc or PhD degree, respectively in physics, biology, mathematics, geosciences or a related field. You should have strong analytical skills and be interested in statistical data analysis and thinking across the disciplines of climate sciences, ecology and geology. Proficiency in statistics, in data analyses tools (e.g. R) and good English language skills are required. Previous experience with (paleo)climate research or pollen records and working with large datasets is an advantage. Furthermore, you should have good teamwork skills and the willingness to actively cooperate with a diverse international working group. 
For more information, please contact Prof. Ulrike Herzschuh ( or Dr. Thomas Laepple ( 

Length of contract: 
The position is offered for 3 years for a PhD or 2 years for a Postdoc. The starting date is flexible, earliest, starting December 1st, 2017. The salary will be paid in accordance with the German Tarifvertrag des öffentlichen Dienstes (TVöD Bund), salary level 13 (PhD: 66%, Postdoc: 100%). 

We offer you a multi-disciplinary, international, and fascinating professional environment with flexible working hours, state-of-the-art research equipment, and a first-rate infrastructure. Disabled applicants will be given preference when equal qualifications are present. The AWI fosters the compatibility of work and family through various means. Because of our engagement in the area of work-life compatibility we have been awarded the certificate “Career and Family”. 
As Ph.D. student at AWI you will be member of the Helmholtz Graduate School for Polar and Marine Research ‘POLMAR’ ( or another graduate school. 

The job will be based at the AWI in Potsdam. The institute is located on a historical scientific campus nearby the city center, which also hosts the GeoForschungsZentrum and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. The city of Potsdam (~160,000 inhabitants) is more than 1000 years old and is located along the banks of the Havel River and the surrounding lakes. Potsdam is known for its splendid baroque architecture, its preserved palaces, gardens, as well as a scientific environment, which is unparalleled in all of Germany. Potsdam is only a couple of minutes away from Berlin and its cultural scene. 

Application process: 
Applications including CV and degree certificates and names and addresses of two referees should be submitted by October 15th, 2017 under the reference code 135/D/Geo-P via email (all documents merged into one PDF file) to:

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