The climate needs bright minds. The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) addresses crucial scientific questions in the fields of global change, climate impacts and sustainable development. It is one of the world’s leading research institutions in its field and offers natural and social scientists from around the world an inspiring environment for excellent interdisciplinary research.

For the European Union-funded project CASCADES (www.cascades.eu), and the German Federal Foreign Office-funded Weathering Risk initiative (https://weatheringrisk.org/), PIK is offering a

postdoc position (m/f/d)

(Position number: 31-2021-Postdoc position)

in the field of modeling climate impacts on food prices and conflict risks, starting on 01.08.2021or as soon as possible.

The position is funded until 08/2023. Remuneration is in accordance with the German public tariff scheme (TV-L Brandenburg), salary group E 13. This is a full-time position with a weekly working time of 40 hours per week. Appointment is conditional on approval by the funding agency. The position can be filled on a part-time basis.

The successful candidate will become a part of PIK’s FutureLab “Security, Ethnic Conflicts and Migration” and the working group “Event-based Modeling of Economic Impacts of Climate Change”. The candidate will employ and develop further a computer model for price and storage dynamics at agricultural markets. They will assess the risks of global staple food price spikes and food insecurity under various land-use and climate change scenarios (drawing on bio-physical model outputs from the ISIMIP project, www.isimip.org), as well as the viability of different policies to enhance food security. Depending on the candidate’s own research interests, they will develop quantitative approaches to investigate the role of food prices, trade and/or food (in)security for the incidence and/or dynamics of violent conflicts. The ideal candidate should have an intrinsic interest to work in interdisciplinary teams and apply their knowledge and skills to transdisciplinary problems.  

Key responsibilities:

  • Model agricultural market dynamics and assess the impacts of climate change, market interventions (e.g., export restrictions), and coping strategies (e.g., strategic reserve) on global staple food prices, and investigate the implications for regional and global food security, societal (in)stability and conflict
  • Write and publish articles in peer-reviewed journals that highlight findings from the research projects and present research findings at international conferences and workshops
  • Attend project meetings, write or contribute to project reports and deliverables, discuss and coordinate research with project partners


  • A PhD degree (or equivalent) in (Agricultural) Economics, Physics, Computer Science, Mathematics or a related field
  • Strong analytical and organisational skills and ability to work reliably and independently 
  • Profound expertise in object-oriented programming, preferably with Python or a similar high-level language; familiarity with Unix-like environments, shell programming, and version control systems (e.g., Git)
  • Ability to write high-quality scientific manuscripts independently 
  • Team-oriented attitude with strong communications skills
  • Experience in computational statistics methods (e.g., NumPy, SciPy, Pandas, scikit-learn) is an asset.
  • Strong knowledge of climate change and its impacts is an advantage.

We expect:

  • the ability to work independently and on your own initiative
  • a methodical and systematic approach 
  • structured and goal-oriented thinking
  • capacity to familiarise yourself quickly with new topics
  • creativity and openness to new approaches
  • a high level of competence in oral and written German and English 
  • reliability and a high level of motivation
  • Willingness and motivation to regularly participate in project meetings, including international travel, and take part in further training
  • capacity for teamwork 
  • organisational talent

We offer:

  • An inspiring, international, and interdisciplinary work environment in one of the world’s leading research institutes on climate change impacts
  • High-impact of your own research through publications in renowned international journals
  • Opportunities for cooperation with PIK’s national and international network of leading climate, economic, and peace and security research institutes 
  • A collective pay scheme and associated benefits

PIK seeks to increase the share of women in scientific positions and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply. In cases of equal qualification and within the given legal scope, women will be given preference. Applications by persons with a migration background are expressly encouraged. Applications of disabled persons with equal qualifications will be regarded favourably. PIK also encourages applications by parents returning from parental leave.

Application documents should comprise a letter of motivation including research interests, a full CV, relevant certificates including grades, contact details of two referees, and a sample of your work (e.g., a thesis, journal publications,  working program code, and/or an open-source software project (e.g, on GitHub)).

Please apply by 27.06.2021 directly using our application form. In the form, please upload your full application as a single PDF document.

For further information or to discuss the position please contact Dr. Barbora Sedova: [email protected].

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