Job Postings

PhD position at UFZ Leipzig (Germany) on “Modelling human-environment systems: How to effectively design climate risk instruments?”

At the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ, Leipzig, Germany, a new research project InsuranceGrass (‘Assessment of formal, natural and social insurances: how to cope best with impacts of extreme events on grasslands for sustainable farming systems?’) will be launched. In this interdisciplinary project, a total of four doctoral students from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, the University of Leipzig and ETH Zürich will collaborate addressing management of climate risks in grassland-based farming systems in Germany and Switzerland. The project investigates the potential role of financial, natural and social insurance mechanisms to cope with increasing climate risks, identifies interdependencies between insurance types and derives recommendations for optimal industry and public policies. At the UFZ, this project will be embedded in the Working Group POLISES (‘Policy Instruments and Social-Environmental Systems under Global Change’). The InsuranceGrass project invites applications for the following vacancy:

PhD position (m/f/x)
Modelling human-environment systems: How to effectively design climate risk instruments?

Working time 65% (25,35 hours per week), limited to three years. The starting date is 1 April 2022.

Your tasks:
• Develop a social-ecological simulation model (in particular agent-based model) that incorporates feedbacks between farmers’ and consumers’ decision, grassland management options, and ecosystem service provision in a dynamic matter
• Parameterize the model with empirical data obtained in other work packages of the project
• Contribute to a thorough understanding of how insurance products and policies should be designed to work effectively for farmers’ climate risk management and to promote sustainable grassland management
• Use the model to explore the potential of social insurances, especially arrangements within community-supported agriculture and payments for ecosystem services.
• Exchange knowledge with local and European stakeholders relevant in this research context (i.e., farmers, insurance companies, public administration)

Your profile:
• An excellent master’s degree in a relevant field of research, including system sciences, mathematics, physics, agricultural economics, geography
• Expertise in modelling and analyzing complex systems (experience in agent-based modelling is beneficial)
• Proficiency in computer programming (e.g. NetLogo, C++, Java) and advanced statistical methods
• Deep interest in investigating the impact of climate risk instruments (such as agricultural insurance or community supported agriculture) on farmers’ behavior and ecological state of the grassland system.
• Excellent knowledge of spoken and written English and ambition to publish in international journals
• High motivation to work in an international and interdisciplinary team
• Readiness to travel within and beyond Europe to meet cooperation partners and attend conferences, workshops and courses


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