(Post Doctoral) Research Assistant (f_m_x)


The Research Institute for Sustainability (RIFS) conducts research with the aim of investigating, identifying, and advancing development pathways for transformation processes towards sustainability in Germany and abroad. The institute was founded in 2009 as the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) and has been affiliated with the Helmholtz Centre Potsdam - GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences under its new name since 1 January 2023 and is thus part of the Helmholtz Association. Its research approach is transdisciplinary, transformative, and co-creative. The Institute cooperates with partners in science, political and administrative institutions, the business community, and civil society to develop solutions for sustainability challenges that enjoy broad public support. Its central research topics include the energy transition, climate change and socio-technical transformations, as well as sustainable governance and participation. A strong network of national and international partners and a Fellow Programme supports the work of the Institute.

For our research group Energy Transition and Public Policy we are looking for a:

(Post Doctoral) Research Assistant (f_m_x))

Reference Number 7272

The successful candidate will work in the research project "Quo vadis Beteiligung - Bewertung von Partizipation in Energieprojekten (BePart)" (Quo vadis Participation - Evaluation of Participation in Energy Projects) in the research group Energy Transition and Public Policy headed by Prof. Dr. Johan Lilliestam and under the project management of Dr. Franziska Mey. The joint project is funded by the 7th Energy Research Programme of the German Federal Government in the sub-area "Energy Transition and Society" and is carried out in cooperation with the Bündnis Bürgerenergie e.V. and the ECOLOG Institute. RIFS is responsible for empirical data collection and analysis as well as project coordination. The aim of the project is to evaluate and quantify(ing) the outcomes and outputs of participation processes from a larger sample of renewable energy projects. To this purpose, the researchers will measure the form and degree of participation as well as its effects, and draw conclusions to help improve future solar power, wind power and electricity grid infrastructure projects. The RIFS is responsible for project coordination and management as well as empirical data collection and analysis. 

Your responsibilities:

  • Data collection and analysis of energy projects and the respective forms of participation using qualitative and quantitative methods, with a focus on quantitative methods of analysis;
  • Review and analyse the state of the art in research on forms of participation and their implications in energy projects in Germany and internationally;
  • Linking theories and methods from the social, political, economic and environmental sciences and transdisciplinary cooperation with project partners at a national level and in exchange with local, regional and national stakeholders in the energy transition;
  • Writing and/or contributing to publications in various formats (esp. scientific articles, policy briefs, project website, social media).
  • (Co-)organising events with the aim of considering and incorporating suggestions and experiences from practice and discussing research results with representatives from society, science and politics.

Your qualifications:

  • Successfully completed doctorate or equivalent qualification preferably in sociology, political science, futurology, psychology or a comparable discipline that qualifies for this position
  • Outstanding knowledge and experience with qualitative and quantitative scientific methods
  • In-depth knowledge of the energy sector, in particular, a proven understanding of the socio-technical transformation process of the German Energiewende and the impact on public acceptance of energy project
  • Good knowledge of participation processes in the Energiewende, including different forms of public engagement and citizen participation/initiatives in decision-making for renewable energy projects and grid infrastructure
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills in English and German

The proof of corresponding knowledge in the context of relevant publications in national or international journals is desired.

Further requirements:

  • Interest in combining theory and practice in a project that investigates and helps shape various aspects of energy policy and public acceptance of the energy transition
  • Experience in scientific publication work and with the development of policy briefs, recommendations for action or similar 
  • A high degree of creativity and initiative
  • Ability to collaborate and communicate effectively and diplomatically with a wide range of partners and organisations from academia, industry and civil society at national a level and beyond 
  • The ability to work in a team is particularly important for this position.

What we offer:

  • Ambitious and varied tasks in a dynamic and international research environment
  • State-of-the-art equipment
  • Public service benefits
  • Extensive training opportunities
  • Professional career advice offered by our in-house Career-Centre
  • Flexible working hours and conditions
  • Support with finding a good work-life balance offered by benefit@work

Start date: As soon as possible
Fixed-term: 30th September 2025
Salary: The position is classed as salary group 13 according to “TVöD Bund (Tarifgebiet Ost)”. The salary group is determined on the basis of the Collective Wage Agreement and the respective personal qualifications.
Working hours: Part-time 75% (currently 29.25 h/week)
Place of work: Potsdam

Have we piqued your interest?

If so, we look forward to receiving your application by 2ndApril 2023. Please use our online application form only.

Diversity and equal opportunities are integral components of our human resources policy. The RIFS actively promotes diversity and explicitly welcomes applications from all qualified individuals, regardless of ethnic and social origin, nationality, gender, sexual orientation and identity, religion/belief, age and physical characteristics. Anyone who has been recognized as severely disabled, will be given preferential consideration in the event of equal suitability and qualification in accordance with the provisions of the German Social Code IX.

Your personal data will be processed for the purpose of conducting the selection procedure on the basis of Art. 6 para. 1 b, Art. 88 GDPR in conjunction with Art. 26 of the Data Protection Act for the State of Brandenburg. After completion of the procedure, application documents will be deleted in compliance with data protection regulations.
In case of any further queries relating to the field of activity, please contact Franziska Mey either via email at franziska.mey@rifs-potsdam.de or phone +49 (0)331-28822-454. If you have any general questions about the application process, please contact our recruiting team at our phone number +49 (0) 331-6264-28787.

If you have any questions regarding equal opportunities, please contact the GFZ's Equal Opportunities Commissioner, Dr. Weckmann, at +49 331 288-2824 or by email.

The representative of the severely disabled at the GFZ, Ms. Thiel, will be happy to answer questions about the work participation of severely disabled persons at +49 331 288-1648 or by email.



Franca Buge

Abteilung Personal

0331 288-28787



Carolin Büsser

Abteilung Personal

0331 288-28787


GFZ - Helmholtz / Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum

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Deadline: 2023-04-02
Location: Germany, Potsdam
Categories: Political Science, Psychology, futurology, Postdoc, Research Assistant, sociology, Sustainability,


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