Research Assistant

Vienna, , AT

Research Assistant

Vacancy 06/2017 – The Ecosystem Services and Management Program (ESM) is recruiting a Research Assistant to strengthen the team working on quantitative foresight for the formulation of policy options.


The Ecosystems Services and Management Program (ESM) 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 changes in land use and ecosystem management and the assessment of the consequences of these changes. The program 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. Besides modeling a major strength lies within the systems analysis approach for scenario building and model output analysis and comprises of linear and non-linear methods for impact assessment and uncertainty analysis.

The program is strongly connected to the international academic community, with an emphasis on trans-disciplinary synergies and applied approaches. The work accomplished has been long recognized through regular publication in high-ranked scientific journals. In addition, ESM has been invited to participate to numerous policy-oriented consultations and large scale scientific exercises.

The position:

The Imbalance-P research project gathers the fields of ecosystem diversity and ecology, biogeochemistry, Earth System modeling, and global agricultural and resource economics, to analyze ongoing shifts in C:N:P balances in ecosystems.

In this context ESM is seeking a Research Assistant to strengthen the team working on quantitative foresight for the formulation of policy options. The candidate will work within the team focusing on integrated assessment modeling using process based biochemical models (BGC-MAN, gEpic) and global bio-market models (GLOBIOM). 

Tasks and Responsibilities:

In stochastic optimization:

  • Scenario development using statistical modeling of historical data
  • Scenario clustering using machine learning algorithms
  • Subsequent goal function development for stochastic solving
  • Stochastic scenario optimization targeting cost or risk minimization.

In model analysis using non-linear methods:

  • Development of stability indicators
  • Resilience assessment
  • Risk resilient scenario selection.

General Tasks:

  • Contribution to project dissemination activities.


  • Advanced University degree in formal and/or quantitative natural sciences.
  • Experience in Stochastic Linear Programming and Risk Assessment.
  • Professional experience in software development (C/C++; R and/or Pyhton; SQL).
  • Experience in Dynamic Systems Theory and process based ecosystem modeling.
  • Fluency in English (spoken and written) as well as excellent presentation skills.
  • An additional degree/studies in fields related to economics or international policy-making is beneficial.

Appointment Terms:

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

The successful candidate will be offered a full-time position with an initial employment contract of one year with the possibility for extension thereafter. Preferred starting date is 1 March 2017.

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.