DAAD GSSP application

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Call for applications

Quantification of drought losses in agriculture and the evaluation of adaptation measures

2 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” was established at the University of Potsdam. 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. A key change is droughts increasing in frequency and duration, which substantially can affect agriculture in semi-arid areas such as Southern Europe but also in parts of Germany. Funded by Graduate School Scholarship Programme (GSSP) of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the NatRiskChange Research Training Group now offers two DAAD PhD scholarship at the Institute of Environmental Science and Geography of University of Potsdam, Germany, for a period of three years (or up to four years for candidates from developing countries).The related PhD projects are entitled 

  • Position 1: “Quantification of drought losses in agriculture and the evaluation of adaptation measures – measuring regional soil moisture deficit, crop yields and resulting irrigation demand”

  • Position 2: “Quantification of drought losses in agriculture and the evaluation of adaptation measures – modelling drought impact on agriculture and developing model-based adaptation scenarios”

Further subject specific information can be obtained from Prof. Dr. Sascha Oswald (sascha.oswald@uni-potsdam.de) and Prof. Dr. Sabine Attinger (sabine.attinger@ufz.de).

The scholarship includes

  • a monthly rate of 1200 Euro- travel support and potential support for studies and research- combined insurance (health, accident, liability)
  • potential support for rent, or family allowance
  • full funding for a German language course in Germany of up to 6 months, preceding the scholarship

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.

The candidates are required to have

  • an excellent Master’s degree in hydrology, geoecology, agricultural engineering, water resources management, or closely related fields
  • a proven background in data processing, GIS-technology and hydrologic modelling,
  • good programming skills, e.g. in Python, R or MatLab, and ideally in Fortran
  • sound knowledge of statistical methods and soil hydrological processes 
  • good English language skills
  • the motivation to learn German to be able to review and use additional German literature


Applications should include the following components:

  • a detailed CV,
  • a letter of motivation,
  • 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 20th October 2019 (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 actual scholarship and the related PhD study are envisaged to start in April 2020.

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.