The Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) with its 1,100 employees has gained an excellent reputation as an international competence centre for environmental sciences. We are part of the largest scientific organisation in Germany, the Helmholtz Association. Our mission: Our research seeks to find a balance between social development and the long-term protection of our natural resources. PhD position (f/m/x)Topic: Groundwater recharge and soil moisture, two interacting key parameters at the interface between soil and groundwater hydrology

The job

The PhD Colleg LISA with 4 Phd positions will be launched in 2023. LISA is about exploring the multifunctionality of cultural landscapes in Germany and to examine the effects of climate change and land use in a model-based framework.

The main task of this position (PhD#3) is the development of a smart interface between OpenGeoSys (OGS) and the mesoscale Hydrologic Model mHM that allows for targeted two-way coupling between both tools, and which will then be used to investigate the interaction between changing groundwater levels, soil moisture and groundwater recharge, and their effects on the root zone (FORMIND). This work will help to identify cross-model sensitivities and will provide improved soil moisture and groundwater recharge products for the mHM-based UFZ Drought Monitor.

Your tasks

  • Creation of a model catalog to investigate how the groundwater table changes affects soil moisture and under which conditions a transfer takes place and how this can be described quantitatively.
  • Using machine learning, the catalog data will be classified into more easily understood and groupable parts (clustering) and spatial area references will be established.
  • Transfer functions will then be developed based on the most significant groupable and dominant parts of the catalog.
  • These transfer functions will then be implemented in mHM, OGS or FINAM. The upscaling itself is to be performed using MPR.
  • The influence of the interface on the model results (mHM, OGS FORMIND) will be investigated using the LandTrans demonstration catchments.
  • Collaboration among the four doctoral students within the PhD college (e.g., discussion groups, synthesis paper, joint conference attendance)

We offer

  • Excellent technical facilities which are without parallel
  • The freedom you need to bridge the difficult gap between basic research and close to being ready for application
  • Work in interdisciplinary, multinational teams
  • Excellent links with national and international research networks
  • Excellent support and optimal subject-specific and general training with our HIGRADE graduate school
  • Remuneration in accordance with the TVöD public-sector pay grade 13 (65%)

Your profile

  • An excellent Master’s degree in the research field of Earth and Environment, including systems science, mathematics, and physics
  • Experience or training in areas such as soil science, soil physics, soil hydrology, hydrogeology, hydrology is a plus
  • Experience in modeling and analysis of complex systems
  • Good understanding of geospatial data (raster, vectors), and basic knowledge of machine learning techniques
  • Proficiency in computer programming (e.g., C++, Python)
  • Strong interest in studying regional impacts of groundwater level changes on the vadose zone
  • Excellent knowledge of English, both written and spoken, and a dedication to publishing in international journals
  • High motivation to work in an international and interdisciplinary team

The UFZ has a strong commitment to diversity and actively supports equal opportunities for all employees regardless of their origin, religion, ideology, disability, age or sexual identity.
We look forward to applications from people who are open-minded and enjoy working in diverse teams.

Place of work:

Working time:
65% (25.35 h/week)

Contract limitations:
limited contract / 3 years

Remuneration according to the TVöD public-sector up to pay grade 13 including attractive public-sector social security benefits.

Application deadline:

Your contact for any questions you may have about the job:Dr. Thomas Kalbacher

Please submit your application via our online portal with your cover letter, CV (please omit your photo, age, or marital status) and relevant attachments.
Apply now

Helmholtz-Zentrum für
Umweltforschung GmbH – UFZ
Permoserstraße 15
04318 Leipzig, Germany

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