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PhD Student (f/m/x) in Space Physics
The Helmholtz Centre Potsdam - GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences is the national centre for geosphere research. As a member of the Helmholtz Association we are part of the largest German scientific organization. With around 1,300 employees we develop a sound understanding of the systems and processes of the solid Earth as well as strategies and options for action to face global change and its regional impacts, to understand natural hazards and reduce associated risks, and to assess the influence of humans on the Earth's system.
As a partner in Geo.X, the GFZ has access to an excellent network of other geoscience institutions in Potsdam and Berlin. This largest regional concentration of geoscientific competence in Europe offers first-class cooperation and development opportunities.
For section 2.7 "Space Physics and Space Weather" (department “Geophysics”), we are looking for a:

PhD Student (f/m/x) in Space Physics

Reference Number 4820

Our section is working 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.

Your responsibilities:

The successful candidate should have extensive experience in scientific programming. Job responsibilities will include a variety of tasks related to scientific programming, machine learning, and data science, including but not limited to:

  • develop scientific codes
  • maintain data and code repositories
  • develop visualizations for the website
  • develop various programming tools for scientific codes and data analysis
  • develop machine learning based empirical models
  • document and test existing codes
  • adopt scientific codes for different scientific problems
  • conduct scientific research in the field of space physics
  • write manuscripts that will be published in peer-reviewed journals

Your qualifications:

  • MSc in physics, computer sciences, maths or related natural sciences
  • several years of working experience with IT programming or scientific programming
  • knowledge of data science and machine learning concepts
  • knowledge of Unix, Mac, and Windows operating systems
  • advanced knowledge of programming languages, such as C++, Python, Matlab, IDL, Fortran
  • experience in developing numerical codes
  • experience in maintaining Unix workstations
  • experience with machine learning may be a plus
  • ability to work with large data sets
  • ability to work within a team
  • attention to detail and organizational skills
  • excellent interpersonal and communication skills

Start date: as soon as possible
Fixed-term: 3 years
Salary: This position has been assessed as being salary group 13 according to "TVöD Bund (Tarifgebiet Ost)". The salary group will be determined by the conditions of the collective wage agreement and the appropriate personal qualifications.
Working hours: part-time 75 % (currently 29.25 h/week)
Place of work: Potsdam

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
  • in walking distance of Potsdam main station, or just a short ride on the shuttle bus

Did we pique your interest?

If so, we are looking forward to receiving your application by the 18th April 2021 (extended). Please use our online application form only.
Please include the following documents in your application: statement of technical skills (IT skills, operating systems, list of developed codes) including the years of experience or level of proficiency (basic/ intermediate/ expert); CV; cover letter; certificates/ transcripts of all your degrees.
Equal opportunities are an integral part of our personnel policy. We therefore very much welcome applications from qualified women. In the case of equal aptitude, severely disabled persons are given preferential consideration in accordance with the Code of Social Law IX.
Your personal data will be treated in line with Art. 6 (1b) and Art. 88 GDPR in conjunction with § 26 BbgDSG during the selection process. After the selection process has been concluded, your application documents will be deleted, in line with data protection regulation. 
In case of any further queries relating to the role’s responsibilities, please contact Prof. Yuri Shprits on yuri.shprits@gfz-potsdam.de. If you have any general questions about the application process, please contact Ms Buge on +49 (0) 331-288-28787.


Franca Buge
Human Resources
Building G, Room 429
14473 Potsdam
+49 331 288-28787

Für Fragen zur Gleichstellung steht Ihnen die Gleichstellungsbeauftragte des GFZ, Frau Dr. Weckmann unter Tel. +49 331 288-2824 bzw. per E-Mail zur Verfügung.

Fragen zur Mitarbeit schwerhinderter Personen beantwortet gerne die Schwerbindertenvertreterin des GFZ, Frau Thiel unter Tel. +49 331 288-1648 bzw. per E-Mail.