The mission of the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF) as a nationally and internationally active research institute is to deliver solutions for an ecologically, economically and socially sustainable agriculture – together with society. ZALF is a member of the Leibniz Association and is located in Müncheberg (approx. 35 minutes by regional train from Berlin-Lichtenberg). It also maintains a research station with further locations in Dedelow and Paulinenaue.

The working group ‘governance of ecosystem services’ at ZALF focusses on the analysis of market-and community-based instruments to better incentivize the provision of ecosystem services as public goods for specific beneficiaries and society at large. In our inter- and transdisciplinary research projects we mainly conduct empirical research in case studies in Europe, Asia and the Americas.

Currently we are looking for a PhD researcher to join our team and who likes to complete a dissertation within the research project ‘WetNetBB’, which is aimed to support the rewetted grassland systems in Brandenburg by developing of innovations and establishing new value chains of paludiculture.

As part of the federal program ‘Natural Climate Protection’, the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture is funding WetNetBB for a period of 9 years. WetNetBB is part of the national network PaludiZentrale that follows similar goals in four other regions in Northern Germany.

WetNetBB is a project consortium including the Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Technology and Bioeconomy (ATB), Landesamt für Umwelt (LfU, State of Brandenburg), Hochschule für Nachhaltige Entwicklung Eberswalde (HNEE), Geoforschungszentrum (GFZ) and ZALF. We aim for an implementation of paludiculture in four regions in Brandenburg using a living lab approach.

We are hosting the socioeconomics topics as part of the module 4 ‘Accompanying Research’. The particular focus of the dissertation is on the design and evaluation of policy interventions to support the rewetting of peatlands.

The research will apply behavioral economic research and experiments to better understand farmers’ behavior in the context of the paludiculture adoption as well as the evaluation of tailored policy interventions to support the rewetting of peatlands. We offer a part-time position (65% full-time equivalent) for three years (from 01.01.2024 until 31.12.2026).PhD researcher (f/m/d) on the behavioral design of policy interventions for the rewetting of peatlands

Your tasks:

  • conceptualization and development of own research design to analyze behavioral factors that impede and support farmer’s adoption of paludicultural practices and their willingness to rewet peatlands
  • testing through economic experiments the effectiveness of tailored policy interventions to support paludiculture adoption and rewetting
  • collect empirical data through behavioral, economic experiments and surveys with farmer and land owners
  • conduct literature reviews and analysis
  • analysis of quantitative experimental and non-experimental data (with STATA or R)
  • prepare results for communication to stakeholders (e.g. project workshops) and the scientific community (e.g. presentations at national and international conferences, journal publications)

Your qualifications:

  • excellent MSc degree in economics or related subjects
  • knowledge of experimental and behavioral economics as well as environmental/ ecological economics
  • knowledge of the EU common agricultural policy in general and of agri-environmental and climate schemes in particular is an advantage
  • knowledge on peatlands and paludiculture is an advantage
  • organizational skills and ability to work independently
  • excellent command of the German and English language (oral and written)
  • interest in working in an interdisciplinary group and project team
  • scientific curiosity and high interest in writing a doctoral thesis

What we offer:

  • work in inter-disciplinary and multinational team that encourages independence and self-reliance
  • a collegial and open-minded working atmosphere in a dynamic research institution
  • excellent technical facilities and equipment
  • project budget to cover data collection and travel costs
  • links to national and international research networks (e.g., REECAP network, network in socio-economics of climate-friendly peatland use)
  • access to training courses for PhD students (e.g. in-house training, Doctoral Certificate Program in Agricultural Economics, budget for additional training)
  • opportunity to receive a PhD from the Leibniz-University Hannover under the supervision of the working group leader Prof. Dr. Bettina Matzdorf
  • salary in accordance with the guidelines for public employees according to the German TV-L, up to level E13, including special annual payment
  • option to conduct up to 40% of your monthly working hours as mobile work
  • support in reconciling work and family life
  • employer subsidized job ticket

Women are particularly encouraged to apply. Applications from severely disabled persons with equal qualifications are favored. It is generally possible to work in the position on a part-time basis. Please send your application preferably online (see button online application below).

For e-mail applications, create a PDF document (one PDF file, max. 5 MB; packed PDF documents, archive files like zip, rar etc. Word documents cannot be processed and therefore cannot be considered!) with the usual documents, in particular Cover letter, CV, proof of qualification and certificates, stating the reference number 107-2023 until November 12 2023 to (see button e-mail application below).

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us: Dr. Tobias Vorlaufer (

For cost reasons, application documents or extensive publications can only be returned if an adequately stamped envelope is attached.
If you apply, we collect and process your personal data in accordance with Articles 5 and 6 of the EU GDPR only for the processing of your application and for purposes that result from possible future employment with the ZALF. Your data will be deleted after six months.

Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), Eberswalder Straße 84, 15374 Müncheberg, Germany

Online application

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