[PhD position] Migration modeling (3 years)

Posted by Lila Warszawski on Jan. 15, 2018

Link to position description

PhD Position in Migration Modeling

in Research Domain 2
at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)

position until February 28th 2021, 65%, TV-L E13

The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) addresses crucial questions in the fields of global change, climate impacts, energy system transformation, and sustainable development. Natural and social scientists work together to generate interdisciplinary insights that provide a sound basis for decision-making in society and policy. PIK’s historic science campus on Telegraphenberg Potsdam is in 30 minutes commuting distance from Berlin. PIK seeks to increase the number of women in scientific positions.

Job Description

We are looking for a highly motivated PhD student to conduct her/his research in the field of migration modeling with the central aim of developing, testing, and applying a dynamic numerical model of international migration including effects of climate change.

Together with two other Leibniz Institutes and a partner in the USA, we aim to better understand the interplay between migration and urbanization under global climate and socio-economic change. Therefore, international migration, domestic migration, and urbanization will be modeled in a coupled framework in order to provide projections under climate change scenarios. The project output will be of high relevance for the wider global change community. This PhD position is located in the field of physics (or related disciplines) and should gain insights into how different climatic and non-climatic drivers of migration interact, and how human mobility interacts across different spatial scales, from international migration to internal migration to urbanization. The work is carried out within the three-year project IMPETUS which will be funded by the Leibniz Association under the cooperative excellence funding scheme.

Key Responsibilities

  • Develop and implement numerical model of international migration
  • Obtain and analyze data on migration and its drivers
  • Construct scenarios of climate change impacts based on existing data
  • Apply the migration model to historical data and future scenarios
  • Couple international migration model to projections of internal migration and urbanization
  • Prepare PhD dissertation


  • You hold a Master degree (or equivalent) in Physics, Computer Science, Mathematics, or a related field.
  • You are strong in analytical thinking, you have ease with quantitative work, and are willing to think globally – complementary to a case study perspective.
  • You hold expertise in programming, preferably with C++ or comparable languages. Experience with software development is valuable.
  • You have, or are willing to acquire, good knowledge of global climate change and its effects, and experience working with geographically referenced data.
  • You have good communications skills and are fluent in oral and written English.

We offer

  • An inspiring, international, and interdisciplinary work environment in one of the world’s leading research institutes on climate change.
  • High impact of your own research through the possibility of publication in renowned international journals.
  • Participation in an interdisciplinary project consortium.
  • Close guidance and supervision during the PhD phase.


  • The envisaged starting date for the position is March 1st 2018.
  • The position will be funded until February 28th 2021.
  • Salaries are according to the German public tariff scheme E13 TV-L, 65%.

PIK seeks to increase the share of women in scientific positions and therefore explicitly encourage 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, provided they fulfill the conditions for appointment, are expressly encouraged. Applications of disabled persons with equal qualifications will be regarded favorably. PIK is also encouraging applications by parents returning from parental leave within the availability of financial resources.


Application documents should comprise a letter of motivation, a CV, relevant certificates, and a short sample of your work [e.g. term paper, section of the thesis or journal publication (ca. 2-5 pages)].

Closing date for all applications is January 26th, 2018.

Please send your documents by email as a single PDF (not more than 15MB) to rd2jobs@pik-potsdam.de, using the reference subject PhD Migration IMPETUS. For any queries regarding the position, please contact Dr. Jacob Schewe at jacob.schewe@pik-potsdam.de.