Postdoctoral Research Scientist (f_m_x) – Data and model interoperability in flood modelling

Helmholtz Centre Potsdam GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences

Potsdam, Germany 🇩🇪

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 1,400 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 4.4  Hydrology (department “Geosystems”), we are looking for a:

Postdoctoral Research Scientist (f_m_x) – Data and model interoperability in flood modelling

Reference Number 6926

The section Hydrology develops flood risk models covering the processes from the atmospheric forcing through catchment processes, flood routing and inundation to damage. We develop and apply models to quantify flood risk under current and global change conditions, to evaluate risk reduction measures and to provide near-real-time information in case of extreme events.

The section is part of the EU Horizon 2020 funded project DIRECTED (DISASTER RESILIENCE FOR EXTREME CLIMATE EVENTS PROVIDING INTEROPERABLE DATA, MODELS, COMMUNICATION AND GOVERNANCE), which aims at the improvement of compound disaster modelling and management in the EU, taking 4 study areas in Denmark, Germany, Italy and the Danube basin as real-world labs. Within the project, the section leads a work package dealing with data and model interoperability for an improved disaster modelling, forecast and management throughout Europe using different data and models.

We seek a postdoctoral research scientist to coordinate the work of several European partners in this work package. Furthermore, the candidate will engage in flood modelling in several of the real-world labs using the hydraulic model RIM2D developed by the section Hydrology. This will be done in close collaboration with the stakeholders, i.e. the authorities responsible for disaster management of the study regions. Furthermore, the candidate will be engaged in the development of the in-house Regional Flood Model (RFM), which simulates the whole flood process chain from rainfall to damage for flood risk assessments.

The successful candidate should have the vision and ability to participate in collaborative and interdisciplinary research activities and discussions, coordinate the work within the work package and communicate and report to the European funding agency. The candidate is also expected to closely collaborate with external partners, and present, publish and communicate research results at scientific meetings and in scholarly journals.

Your responsibilities:

  • Coordinate the work of several European partners in the project dealing with data and model interoperability
  • Engage in the theory of model and data interoperability and define model interfaces to link the GFZ models to the data and model warehouse developed in the project
  • Work with stakeholders of the real-world labs to implement the hydraulic model RIM2D/RFM in different settings
  • Develop semi-automated workflows for the in-house Regional Flood Model (RFM) by improving operability between data and model components
  • Present, publish and communicate research results
  • Write deliverables and report to the EU funding agency

Your qualifications:

  • Master’s degree or equivalent, PhD in Geoinformatics, Data Science, Environmental Sciences, Engineering or related fields (e.g. Earth Sciences, Physics, Mathematics)
  • Experience with executing simulation models and high-performance computing
  • Experience with simulation models for flooding and other natural hazards is an asset
  • Experience with data management and software version control (Git)
  • Basic knowledge of programming languages and systems used in sub-models (Python, R, Postgres, CUDA Fortran)
  • Expertise in coordinating/managing research projects, particularly EU projects, is an asset
  • Demonstrated excellence in interdisciplinary teamwork and communication skills
  • Ability to communicate in English fluently (German language command is helpful but not mandatory)

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

Start date: 1st March 2023
Fixed-term: 2 years (with possibility of extension)
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: Full-time (currently 39 h/week); The position is generally suitable for part-time work.
Place of work: Potsdam

Have we piqued your interest?

If so, we look forward to receiving your application by 29th January 2023. 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[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 Dr. Heiko Apel either via email at or phone +49 (0)331-288-1538. 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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