Research Scholar (Postdoctoral Level) in Hydrological and Water Resources Modeling

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

Laxenburg, , AT

Vacancy 32/2017 – Water (WAT) Program. As part of the European Climate Prediction (EUCP) system, the successful candidate will assist with the development of the in-house open source hydrological and Community Water Model (CWatM).


The overarching objective of the European Climate Prediction (EUCP) system is to develop an innovative European regional ensemble climate prediction system based on a new generation of improved and typically higher-resolution climate models, covering timescales from seasons to decades initialized with observations, and designed to support practical and strategic climate adaptation and mitigation decision-taking on local, national and global scales. EUCP will link current observed climate conditions, near future predictions and more distant future projections out to 40 years ahead. Such a climate prediction system and framework is currently lacking. It will provide an authoritative framework to assess the impacts and risks of variations in climatic conditions across, but not limited to, Europe from regional to local scale suitable for use in a range of sectoral applications as a solid basis for investment decisions, spatial planning, and policy and adaptation options. The evolving experience with tailoring climate information to better serve user needs will be continuously integrated into the EUCP system. This represents a step change in how we make use of, for instance, future Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessments.

The successful candidate will assist with the development of the in-house open source hydrological and water resources model, Community Water Model (CWatM), and with the design of state-of-the-art sectoral and cross-sectoral indicators to assess future hydro-meteorological risks (e.g., flood, drought, water scarcity) at various spatial scales relevant to end users in support of monitoring SDGs 6 and 13 for the near term (~1-40 year). A key focus is on helping with the advancement of climate and non-climatic (i.e. human activities) attributions of hydro-meteorological events and impacts at various spatial scales, using the CWatM. The indicators will support the monitoring of the progress of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as the relevant targets of the EU Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk reduction (SFDRR). Indicators will be developed in support of various sectors/priority areas of the Global Framework for Climate Services (e.g., water, energy, agriculture and food security, disaster risk reduction, health, urban environments). Key-input for this analysis are the high resolution climate projections of rainfall, wind and other relevant climate variables provided as gridded time-series, which will be used to force the CWatM producing relevant indicators.


  • Assist with the development of the Community Water Model (CWatM) at different spatial and temporal resolutions (primarily in Europe).
  • Assist with the development of modules for non-climatic factors (e.g., agriculture, human water use, reservoir regulation) and incorporating policy and management options into CWatM.
  • Develop relevant indicators of hydro-meteorological events and impacts at various spatial scales, including both climate change impacts and socio-economic development.
  • Develop appropriate cross sectoral indicators for hydro-meteorological impact assessments with end users.
  • Produce and publish (in peer reviewed journals) results of CWatM modules and hydro-meteorological impact assessments across different sectors.

Skills and Qualifications:

  • PhD degree in hydrology, climate, environmental science, engineering or a related field.
  • Proven analytical skills and ease in manipulating large data sets and complex modeling systems.
  • Experience with both river basin scale and continental scale spatial hydrologic models.
  • Strong interest and background in integrative systems analysis and the development of tools to support policy development.
  • Proven experience publishing scientific work in high-impact refereed international scientific journals.
  • Demonstrated ability to work well both independently and as part of a multicultural team.
  • Programming knowledge and proficiency (e.g., PCRaster, Python, Fortran, C/C++, or Java).
  • Experience with geographic information systems (ArcGIS, or QGIS).
  • Excellent English skills (written and oral) are required. 


Appointment Terms:

Duties will be carried out at the IIASA premises in Laxenburg, Austria. The successful candidate will initially be offered a one-year employment contract. Following a satisfactory evaluation of the first year’s work, the appointment period can be extended further. The EUCP project will run for four years.

IIASA offers a competitive compensation and benefits package (moving and settlement 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 email a cover letter (please include the names and contact details of three work-related reference givers), a detailed Curriculum Vitae, and two recent examples of research work to: 

Ms. Alia Harrison, Recruitment Coordinator, Human Resources Department,
International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA),
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position has been filled.

For information about this position, please contact:


About Laxenburg (near Vienna)

IIASA is located in a former 18th century imperial palace of the Habsburg Monarchy in Laxenburg, Austria about 15 km from Vienna. The facility has been gratefully provided by the host country Austria to the International Scientific Community. According to Mercer’s 19th annual Quality of Living survey, Vienna occupies first place for overall quality of living for the eighth year running in 2017. The survey covers 231 cities worldwide and is based on 39 criteria such as political and social, economic, educational, and environmental factors. Vienna has all the facilities of a modern, progressive city, in the heart of Europe.  

While famous for its concert venues, opera houses, theaters, and museums, Vienna also provides opportunities for great outdoor activities on nearby Lake Neusiedl, the Vienna Woods, and the Alps.

Vienna has a wealth of different research and international governmental institutions, permitting extensive dialogue at local and international level between scientists and policymakers.

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

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