PhD position in linking agriculture and forest monitoring and GHG assessments (f_m_x)


The Helmholtz Centre Potsdam – GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences is the national centre for geosphere research. As a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres we are part of the largest scientific organization in Germany. With approximately 1,300 employees our key mission is to secure a profound understanding of the systems and processes of solid Earth, to develop strategies and options for action in addressing global change and its impacts on a regional level, to understand natural hazards and to minimize associated risks, to ensure the sustainable provision of energy and raw materials for a high-tech society and to evaluate the influence of human activity on system Earth.

The German GeoResearch Center in Potsdam (GFZ) in collaboration with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) is offering a 

PhD position in linking agriculture and forest monitoring and GHG assessments (f_m_x)

Reference Number 6392

to perform three-year research as part of MITIGATE+. A research project contributing to collective global targets for Climate Adaptation and Mitigation in food systems (and related forest impacts) in selected countries across Asia, Africa and Latin America (further information can be found here).

The PhD position is supported by CIAT’s MITIGATE+ project. The PhD research is conducted mainly at the German GeoResearch Center (GFZ) Potsdam (Section Remote Sensing and Geoinformation) and the University of Potsdam under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Martin Herold in close collaboration and supervision with Dr. Louis Verchot (CIAT). The candidates are expected to spend some time to work with CIAT and to engage in country work and international exchange and meetings in study countries. This research will involve the use of time-series of remote sensing data, visual interpretation of high-resolution imagery and integration of different data sources (ie. combination with existing regional and global remote sensing-based products). Furthermore the applicants should be familiar with advanced tools in large area satellite remote sensing to study land dynamics and with assessing and estimating related land use and GHG changes. Working with developing country partners is expected.

The PhD research will focus on:

  • The assessment of agriculture, forest-related activities and overcoming barriers to integrate both sectors for more efficient climate change mitigation and related monitoring initiatives
  • The development and application of methods to estimate land use change processes to provide better information to assess the types and drivers of agriculture and forest changes for different countries to support their nationally determined contributions (NDC)
  • The implementation strategies and sub-national targeting of mitigation activities, and to increase transparency and engagement with stakeholders relevant for mitigation of forest- and agriculture-related GHG emissions

Your qualifications:

  • MSc degree and related experiences in Remote Sensing, Agriculture, Forestry, Ecology, Environmental Science, Geography, Land Change Science or a related field
  • Knowledge about land use related climate change mitigation and technical skills to handle spatial data and remote sensing is important
  • Experiences and willingness to work with and in developing tropical countries is expected
  • Strong English skills are fundamental

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
  • Institute day-care centre on site
  • Working at the Albert Einstein science park on the Telegrafenberg in Potsdam 
  • Work place within walking distance of Potsdam main train station, or just a short ride on the shuttle bus

We are actively seeking to increase the number of female researchers and from developing countries and thus candidates are particularly encouraged to apply.


Start date: As soon as possible 
Fixed-term: 36 month
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: Teilzeit 75% (derzeit 29,25 h/Woche)
Place of work: Potsdam

Have we piqued your interest?

If so, we look forward to receiving your application by 31st August 2022. Please use our online application form only.

Diversity and equal opportunities are integral components of our human resources policy. The GFZ 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. If you have any questions, please contact our representative for the severely disabled at sbv[at]gfz-potsdam.de, who will be happy to assist you in the further application process. In case of further queries regarding gender equality, please do not hesitate to contact our Equal Opportunities Officer at gba[at]gfz-potsdam.de.

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. The Landscape Restoration Theme Leader, Dr. Lou Verchot, of International Center for Tropical Agriculture - CIAT Rome, Italy, will be involved in the selection procedure. Your personal data will, of course, be treated confidentially and will be communicated to the involved person exclusively for the purpose of evaluating your professional suitability within the framework of this selection procedure. Once the procedure has been completed, the personal data will also be deleted there in compliance with data protection regulations.

In case of any further queries relating to the field of activity, please contact Martin Herold either via email at herold@gfz-potsdam.de. If you have any general questions about the application process, please contact Ms Buge under +49 (0)331-288-28787.



Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ



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Deadline: 2022-08-31
Location: Germany, Potsdam
Categories: Agricultural , Ecology, Environmental Sciences, Forest Sciences, Geosciences, PhD, Researcher,

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