PhD Position Digital Humanities and Environmental Risks

Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ)

Leipzig, Germany 🇩🇪

The Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) with its 1,100 employees has gained an excellent reputation as an international competence centre for environmental sciences. We are part of the largest scientific organisation in Germany, the Helmholtz association. Our mission: Our research seeks to find a balance between social development and the long-term protection of our natural resources.

The UFZ will establish a Graduate School within its Research Unit “Environment and Society” on the topic: “Thirsty Cities: Pathways for Water-Resilient Urban Transformation and Agricultural Adaptation.” The Graduate School consists of engaged PhD-researchers who will participate in a structured training-program that facilitates integration and exchange among the different projects involved as well as within the larger UFZ research context. The projects will investigate possible pathways to make cities and adjacent rural areas more resilient to future water scarcity. Within this framework the Department of Urban and Environmental Sociology is now offering a

PhD Position Digital Humanities and Environmental Risks

Part-time 65% (25,35 h per week), limited to 3 years

Your tasks:

The candidate will assess water scarcity-related impacts at the urban and rural scales in Germany and the adopted policy responses. To this end, text-based data (e.g. policy documents, newspapers, regulations) will be used. In addition, the PhD candidate will develop a new mixed-methods method for assessing future scenarios on how stakeholders prioritize different mitigation and adaptation measures. Prof. Christian Kuhlicke (University of Potsdam) will be the University supervisor.

  • Assess the water scarcity-related impacts of the 2018/ongoing drought in Germany using empirical (e.g. text mining) methods
  • Analyse policy documents to understand how these impacts were dealt with by existing policies and mitigation measures
  • Develop tools to study the interlinkages and cascading paths between the impacts and the applied mitigation measures
  • Develop scenarios on how stakeholders prioritize measures to increase urban-rural water resilience in the future in three German cities
  • High-level publication of research results

Your profile:

  • Master’s degree in digital humanities, geography, statistics, sociology or related discipline
  • Proficiency in English and German
  • Programming and statistical competence (e.g. R or Python) is of added advantage
  • Interest in both qualitative and quantitative research methods (e.g. focus groups, surveys, natural language processing – NPL)
  • Basic skills in handling and processing large datasets are advantageous
  • Motivation to work in an interdisciplinary environment, also in cooperation with modellers and natural scientists

We offer:

  • Top level interdisciplinary research at a research centre which enjoys an excellent reputation within Germany as well as internationally
  •  Excellent technical facilities 
  • Work in inter-disciplinary and multinational teams 
  • Excellent links to national and international research networks 
  • Support and optimal training courses by our graduate school (HIGRADE) 
  • Remuneration in accordance with the TVöD public-sector pay grade up to 13