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Call for applications

2 PhD Scholarship of 3 to 4 years

at the Institute of Environmental Science and Geography and the Institute of Geosciences, 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 two full DAAD PhD scholarships 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 for position 1 can be obtained from Prof. Dr. Axel Bronstert (axelbron@uni-potsdam.de) and for position 2 from Prof. Bertrand Fournier (bertrand.fournier@uni-potsdam.de). Two topics are offered for position 1. Please apply only for one topic.


The related PhD projects are entitled 

  • Position 1: “Impacts of reservoir networks on rivers in the Balkans” or "Hydrological analysis of the August-2021-flood disaster in Western Germany"

  • Position 2: “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.

Depending on the topic the candidates are required to have

    • very good Master’s degree in hydrology, geoecology, environmental sciences, ecology, ecosystem sciences or closely related fields (obtained no longer than six years ago)
    • strong expertise in hydrological modelling (position A) or land use analyses and modelling and if possible floodplain systems, biodiversity analysis (position B)
    • good programming skills in R, other programming languages are an asset
    • experiences with collection and interpretation of field data as well as remote sensing data
    • a proven background in data processing
    • advanced skills in GIS
    • fluency in English
    • fluency in Serbo-Croatian or Albanian (position 1A) or advanced knowledge of German is beneficial (position 1B)
    • contacts with a Balkan water-related research institution to co-operate ref. knowledge and data exchange (position 1A)
    • field work experience (optional)
    • 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 20 December 2021 (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.