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Call for applications

1 PhD scholarship of 3 to 4 years

at the Institute of Environmental Science and Geography, University of Potsdam, Germany


In October 2015, the DFG Research Training Group “Natural Hazards and Risks in a Changing World” (http://natriskchange.de) was established at the University of Potsdam, in cooperation with the Freie Universität of Berlin, the German Research Centre for Geosciences GFZ, and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). NatRiskChange aims to develop methods that improve hazard and risk analyses and quantifications based on the transient, non-stationary nature of hazards and risks in response to changing natural and anthropogenically altered components of the earth system.

Funded by the Graduate School Scholarship Programme (GSSP) of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the NatRiskChange Research Training Group now offers one full DAAD PhD scholarship at the Institute of Environmental Sciences and Geography of the University of Potsdam, Germany for a period of three years (or up to four years for candidates from developing or emerging countries). Further subject-specific information can be obtained from Prof. Bertrand Fournier (bertrand.fournier@uni-potsdam.de). The PhD project is entitled:

“Quantification of land use impact on floodplain biodiversity and functions and evaluation of the potential for ecological restoration”


The scholarship includes

  • a monthly scholarship of € 1,200
  • travel support and potential support for studies and research
  • combined insurance (health, accident, liability)
  • a research allowance of currently € 460 per year for scholarship holders from emerging countries, or € 230 per year for scholarship holders from industrialized countries
  • under certain circumstances, grant holders may receive the following additional benefits: potential support for rent, family allowance (about € 200 child allowance per child and about € 275 marriage allowance)
  • full funding for a German language course in Germany of up to 6 months preceding the scholarship
  • a material resource and supervision allowance of currently € 1,000 per year, which is paid upon application to the host institution

The selected candidate will be fully integrated in the activities and the teaching curriculum of the NatRiskChange Research Training Group, and enjoy the vibrant international research environment in the Institute of Environmental Science and Geography at the University of Potsdam. The schedule and length of the language course will be determined after consultation with the selected candidate.


Candidates are required to have

    • an excellent Master’s degree in ecology, geoecology, ecosystem sciences or closely related fields (obtained no longer than six years ago)
    • a proven background in data processing, GIS-technology, ecological modelling, biodiversity analysis
    • good programming skills in R, other programming languages are an ass
    • experience with ecosystems and land use analyses and modelling and if possible floodplain systems
    • good English language skills
    • upon nomination, applicants must not have resided in Germany for more than 15 months


      Applications should include the following components:

      • a detailed CV,
      • a letter of motivation,
      • a brief research concept for the PhD project of not more than 1-2 pages
      • a record of studies,
      • master and bachelor certificates including a transcript of records,
      • an English synopsis of the Master thesis,
      • a list of publications, oral and/or poster presentations at conferences,
      • and two letters of recommendation.

      Applications can only be submitted through https://www.geox.net/daad-gssp/.

      Deadline for applications is 26 January 2022 (12 p.m. CEST).

      Based on the applications, the University of Potsdam will, in a first stage, nominate two to four candidates. These candidates will be requested to submit a full application to the DAAD which will then, in a second stage, be evaluated by DAAD. Candidates will be informed in detail about the second stage in case they are nominated after the first stage.

      The scholarship and the related PhD study are envisaged to start on 1 October 2022.

      Handicapped applicants will be given preference in case of equal suitability. The NatRiskChange consortium strives to increase the proportion of women in research and specifically encourages females to apply for these positions.