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: Interfaces between hydrological models and vegetation models of varying complexity

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 examining the effects of climate change and land use in a model-based framework.

This position (doctoral student #1) shall investigate the hydrological system response to changing vegetation. It will improve accounting for vegetation dynamics within the processes represented within the mesoscale Hydrological Model (mHM), especially evapotranspiration, and implement appropriate scaling procedures to allow seamless coupling with dynamic vegetation models.

Your tasks

  • Improving the implementation of the vegetation-related processes within the mesoscale Hydrological Model (mHM)
  • Identification of relevant measurable vegetation and process parameters suitable for parameter regionalization
  • Establishing a workflow for spatially distributed calibration and validation
  • Large-scale simulation of the effect of spatially distributed dynamic vegetation on the soil water dynamics, evapotranspiration and discharge
  • Collaboration among the four doctoral students within the PhD college (e.g., discussion groups, synthesis paper, joint conference attendance) on scaling challenges in model-coupling

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 a relevant field of research, including hydrology, soil science, environmental science, environmental physics, system sciences, mathematics, physics, geography
  • Expertise in modelling and analyzing complex systems (experience in eco-hydrological modelling is beneficial)
  • Proficiency in computer programming or application of script languages (e.g. Fortran, R, Python)
  • A deep interest in investigating the interactions between vegetation dynamics and the water cycle
  • Excellent knowledge of spoken and written English and ambition to publish 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: Prof. Anke Hildebrandt

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


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

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