Postdoctoral Research Scholar: Ecosystems Services and Management Program (ESM)

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Vienna, Austria
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
University/Academia/Research/Think tank
Experience Level: 
Not Specified
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


Please note: this job post has expired! To the best of our knowledge, this job is no longer available and this page remains here for archival purposes only.


The Ecosystems Services and Management Program (ESM) program at IIASA conducts research on ecosystem management for the provision of services related to fiber, food, water and energy, in connection to economic, societal and environmental changes. The Program is renowned for its expertise in long-term global agricultural changes and food systems, and builds its competence by means of a pluridisciplinary team where quantitative analysis plays a strong role with a wide spectrum of models; from detailed process based biophysical models to global economic models.

The ESM Program is one partner in the two-year NatureMap project, funded by Norway's International Climate and Forests Initiative beginning in January 2019. The project brings together five partner institutions from across the globe to develop new integrated, prioritized maps for biodiversity, carbon, and other key ecosystem values with the most up to date and accurate data and state of the art methods for spatial prioritization. These will be submitted to global biodiversity experts and conservation stakeholders for public consultation and as decision support tools for delivering national conservation strategies post 2020.

The Position:

We are looking for a candidate with experience handling very large spatial ecological datasets as inputs to systematic conservation planning exercises, and proven expertise with the Zonation conservation planning software.

The postdoc will work within the ESM Program and in close collaboration with Piero Visconti on tasks related to the preparation of species distribution maps and carbon and water provision maps as inputs for Zonation in addition to performing spatial analyses of priorities for restoration and protection of areas for biodiversity and ecosystem services globally.

The postdoc will also liaise with other project partners, particularly with the UN-Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre who will provide data and technical advice.

Tasks and Responsibilities:

  • Help in the organization of expert consultation workshops for designing the project analyses
  • Iterate the project design and develop a pilot study on prioritizing areas for biodiversity, carbon and water conservation for internal review
  • Liaise with project partners on the collection of all input data for Zonation
  • Prepare all input data for Zonation analyses
  • Run prioritization analyses and synthetize the results for internal discussion and external dissemination
  • Support all project partners in the drafting of reports and scientific papers. 

Skills and Requirements:

  • Completed PhD or Master's degree with demonstrated experience or qualification in spatial analyses and systematic conservation planning
  • Proven experience of running global prioritization analyses with the Zonation conservation planning software
  • Excellent organizational skills and the capacity to deliver on allocated tasks and respond in a timely manner to deadlines
  • Ability to work independently as well as with an international team distributed across different institutions and time-zones
  • Ability to draft reports that analyze and summarize scientific information and policy applications
  • Excellent communication skills (both written and oral) in English.

Appointment Terms:

Duties will be carried out at the IIASA premises in Laxenburg (near Vienna), Austria.  

The successful candidate will be offered an initial employment contract of one year with the possibility for extension thereafter. Applicants should be available to take up the position without delay.

IIASA offers a competitive compensation and benefits package (home leave, moving allowances, educational grants for children of school age, and five weeks’ annual vacation). IIASA salaries are exempt from taxation in the host country of Austria but subject to the principle of income aggregation.  

IIASA is committed to a working environment that promotes equality, diversity, tolerance and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages qualified candidates from all religious, ethnic and social backgrounds to apply. In the case that candidates are equally qualified, preference will be given to applicants who are nationals of IIASA member countries.


To apply, please quote reference 190025 and email a cover letter, resume, plus names, addresses (including e-mail), and telephone numbers of three work-related references to:

  • Harrison, Alia. Recruitment Coordinator Human Resources. +43(0) 2236 807 286.


For further information about this position, please contact:

  • Visconti, Piero. Research ScholarEcosystems Services and Management. +43(0) 2236 807 427.

About Laxenburg (near Vienna)

In 2018, Vienna ranked as the city with the world’s best quality of living, according to the Mercer Quality of Living Survey and the Economist. Vienna is a beautiful, historical yet modern city, located in the heart of Europe, close to the Alps and to major cities like Munich, Zurich, Prague, and Budapest. Being famous for its concert venues, opera houses, theaters, museums, and coffee shops, Vienna also provides opportunities for great outdoor activities, such as sailing on Lake Neusiedl, ice skating, biking and hiking in the Viennese woods and the nearby Alps. Moreover, the city has a wide range of excellent restaurants, bars, wineries, cinemas, clubs, libraries, galleries, and art collections. The Vienna area is also an exceptional and highly international research environment.

For general information about our Institute and its research activities, please visit our IIASA Web site.

Internal reference # 190025