Research Scholar (Postdoc Level) in Water Research and Agricultural Economics

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


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Vacancy 21/2020 - The successful candidate will be working on the Belmont Forum-funded Food-Water-Energy for Urban Sustainable Environments (FUSE) project to further develop, implement, and apply the in-house hydro-economic modeling framework (ECHO). This includes the development of interfaces for integrating ECHO and the in-house models, including the hydrological model, Community Water Model (CWatM), and AquaCrop crop model, and the development and application of modules for agricultural and energy sectors within ECHO. The development of these linkages will help to consistently evaluate the effects of implementing innovative food-water-energy solutions, including new agricultural practices, infrastructure, policies, or small-scale interventions needed to address water scarcity.


The overarching objective of the FUSE project is to help create implementable solutions to meet the urban Food-Water-Energy (FWE) challenge with a development path that is sustainable and adapted to local needs. The project adopts a systems approach to human-biophysical-engineered interactions by constructing multi-agent urban-FWE system models for different regions around the world to capture connections and feedback among users, producers, distribution mechanisms, and resources. Under narratives of future changes in climate, demographics, land use, and economic development, together with a wide range of actors in those regions, the project aims to develop and evaluate policy interventions and innovative governance forms to identify implementable sustainability options in the FWE space. This will include engagement with local stakeholders to construct user-inspired and user-oriented future narratives and proposed solution options. Simulated policy-evaluation results will be used as the basis for discussion with stakeholders of the benefits of those solutions. With the help of stakeholders, means to overcome impediments to sustainability and resource equity will be identified. The FUSE modeling framework aims to be flexible, transferable, and broadly applicable to the urban-FWE challenge worldwide.


  • Assist with the development of the hydro-economic modeling framework (ECHO) at different spatial and temporal resolutions, in order to enhance its usability for different research and policy questions
  • Assist with the development of interfaces for integrating ECHO, CWatM and AquaCrop
  • Assist with the development of modules for agricultural and energy sectors and their linkages to the core ECHO modeling framework
  • Compile databases of and assess the cost and effectiveness of innovative FWE solutions, including innovative agricultural water management practices
  • Implement scenarios in ECHO modeling framework and conduct policy analysis in the framework of FUSE project
  • Publish relevant results of own research in peer-reviewed journals and participate in scientific conferences and workshops
  • Assist and support the Water group in the different ongoing projects
  • In line with the team spirit that prevails at IIASA, the incumbent will occasionally work on other tasks assigned by their superiors, that may not be directly related to this appointment but where the post holder has relevant experience and skills, and/or a shortage of immediate personnel capabilities requires such.


  • PhD degree in natural resources and environmental economics, water resources economics and management, agricultural economics or a related field
  • Strong interest and background in integrative systems analysis and development of tools to support water and agricultural management decisions
  • Strong interest and background in connecting research work to stakeholders’ engagement processes.
  • Experience with applied economic models in GAMS, either at sector level or in the general equilibrium framework
  • Proven analytical skills and ease in manipulating large datasets and complex modeling systems
  • Programming knowledge and proficiency (e.g., Python, R)
  • Experience with geographic information systems (e.g., ArcGIS or QGIS)
  • Proven experience publishing scientific work in high-impact refereed international scientific journals
  • Willingness and interest to work in different socio-economic contexts including travels to developing countries
  • Demonstrated ability to work well both independently and as part of a multicultural team
  • Full fluency in English (written and verbal) is required.

appointment terms

This position is classified as ''Scientific". The successful candidate will be offered a full-time (40 hours per week) position, and should be available to take up the appointment on, or as soon as possible after 1 November 2020.  An initial contract of one year with the possibility for extension thereafter will be offered.

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

IIASA is committed to a working environment that promotes equality, diversity, tolerance and inclusion within its workforce. This is reflected in our Core Values.

We encourage 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.

We offer

  • A competitive salary based on qualifications and experience which is exempt from taxation in the host country of Austria (subject to the principle of income aggregation) 
  • Educational subsidies for children of school age enrolled in private schools in Austria
  • Moving and settlement allowances and paid home leave for employees in scientific and professional categories hired from international locations (rules apply)
  • Assistance for newcomers to Austria with visa, work and residency permit applications
  • Support finding accommodation in Austria

Further information here