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PhD Student (f/m/x) - Artificial Intelligence for GNSS Reflectometry
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.
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 1.1 Space Geodetic Techniques, we are looking for a:

PhD Student (f/m/x) - Artificial Intelligence for GNSS Reflectometry

Reference Number 5309

GNSS Reflectometry (GNSS-R) is an innovative remote sensing method exploiting signals of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) after reflection from the Earth's surface. The GNSS-R technique is used to derive geophysical surface parameters (e.g., soil moisture, snow cover, wind speed over oceans). The low-mass GNSS-R receivers onboard constellation of small satellites and recently CubeSats, can receive multiple reflected GNSS signals simultaneously and thus achieve high observation coverage. With the continuously and rapidly increasing GNSS-R datasets, Deep Learning is becoming an efficient method in the GNSS-R domain for remote sensing and Earth system modeling. The sought candidate will be an important member of an interdisciplinary team of data and remote sensing scientists working on the development and implementation of innovative deep learning techniques for the processing of satellite-based GNSS-R data.

Your responsibilities:

  • Contribution to the development and implementation of innovative methods for analyzing GNSS reflectometry data using physics-based models and artificial intelligence methods,
  • Application of the developed methods to process large datasets from small satellite missions and validation with independent observation data,
  • Collaboration in studies on the use of GNSS-R based datasets for interdisciplinary geophysical applications, e.g., for weather forecasting and climate research,
  • Presenting research results at scientific meetings and in journals.

Your qualifications:

  • MSc. Degree (or equivalent) in geodesy, geophysics, remote sensing, computer science, physics, mathematics, or similar,
  • Preferably experience in machine learning and knowledge of statistics and mathematical modeling,
  • Ideally experience in analyzing GNSS or remote sensing data, preferably radar techniques,
  • Programming skills (Python or similar),
  • Excellent command of written and spoken English,
  • Highly motivated to work in an interdisciplinary research team.

Start date: 1st October 2021
Fixed-term: 36 months
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 50% (currently 19,5 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
  • Work place within walking distance of Potsdam main train station, or just a short ride on the shuttle bus

Have we piqued your interest?

If so, we look forward to receiving your application by 15th Ausgust 2021. 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@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@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.

In case of any further queries relating to the field of activity, please contact Dr. Milad Asgarimehr either via email at milad.asgarimehr@gfz-potsdam.de or under +49 (0)331-288-1180. If you have any general questions about the application process, please contact Ms Buge under +49 (0)331-288-28787.


Franca Buge
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.