GFZ German research centre for geo sciences
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The Helmholtz Centre Potsdam - GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences is the national centre for research into the geosphere. With around 1,500 employees, we develop a sound understanding of systems and processes of the solid Earth as well as strategies and options for action to counter global change, understand natural hazards and sustainably secure energy and raw material requirements.

For section 2.7 “Space Physics and Space Weather" we are looking for a:

Student Assistant (f_m_x) for aurora observations

Reference Number 9310

Observing and understanding aurora and space physics processes

Section 2.7 “Space Physics and Space Weather" of GFZ is focusing on understanding of the dynamical evolution of the hazardous space radiation environment and developing the tools for specification and prediction of the adverse effects of space environment using models and data assimilation. We study fundamental processes in the near-Earth environment and focus on understanding fundamental processes responsible for the evolution of space radiation. Our research will help safely design and operate satellites and maintain ground networks. In our research we try to bridge our theoretical studies with high performance computing to develop tools that can be used by engineers.

In order to provide prospective Master students early insights into our work, we are offering a student assistant position to work on a joint research project with Section 2.3 “Geomagnetism” on aurora (northern and southern lights) observations. The aim of the project is to better understand aurora and space physics processes by simultaneously measuring:

  • Space environment parameters on satellites
  • Geomagnetic field at the German Neumayer Station in Antarctica
  • Aurora at the Neumayer Station in Antarctica

GFZ has a remote-controlled, state-of-the-art all-sky aurora camera that will be deployed in Antarctica in early 2025. First observations are expected in March 2025. The project involves a trip to Scandinavia for collaboration with other operators of aurora cameras. The project gives the possibility to write a master thesis.

Your responsibilities:

  • Test the camera and its remote control software
  • Optimizing camera settings and observation strategy
  • Quality check of auroral images
  • Develop software to analyse all-sky images
  • Analysis of aurora images, ground magnetic field and satellite observations
  • Collaborate with scientists from space physics and geomagnetism

Your qualifications:

  • B.Sc. in Science or Engineering
  • Enrolment at a German University 
  • Good programming knowledge (e.g. Matlab, Python)
  • Analytical skills
  • Good knowledge of English

What we offer:

  • Ambitious and varied tasks in a dynamic and international research environment
  • State-of-the-art equipment
  • Public service benefits
  • Flexible working hours and conditions
  • 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

Start date: immediately
Fixed-term: 6 months, with the option to extend (this requires a valid enrollment certificate)
Salary: According to the rules of the TdL (tariff area East) for student assistants currently € 13.25 (without a Bachelor's degree) and € 13.83 (with a Bachelor's degree/FH degree).
Working hours: 10 h /week (approx. 40 h/month)
Place of work: Potsdam

Have we piqued your interest?

If so, we look forward to receiving your application by 12th May 2024. Please use our online application form only.
Section 2.7 supports to increase the umber of female researchers and, therefore, particularly invites interested women to apply.

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], 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]

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 Prof. Yuri Shprits via email at or Dr. Jürgen Matzka via e-mail at If you have any general questions about the application process, please contact our recruiting team at our phone number +49 (0) 331-6264-28787.

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