Open PhD position on "Validation, uncertainty analysis, and long-term improvement of global land-use data" (iDiv, Deadline: 20 May)

Doctoral Researcher on Validation, uncertainty analysis, and long-term improvement of global land-use data”

Location : German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research Halle-Jena-Leipzig (iDiv), Leipzig, Germany

Supervisor : Carsten Meyer

Collaborators : Ralf Seppelt, Lars Bernhard, Steffen Fritz, and others

Detailed information on global land-use patterns and dynamics is crucial for biodiversity, climate, food security, and many other research fields. While the integration of new data sources and computing tools enables mapping land use patterns and dynamics globally, the resulting gridded land-use datasets inherit tremendous uncertainties that challenge their downstream application. To advance the validation and continuous improvement of land-use datasets using cutting-edge methodologies in a highly interdisciplinary and collaborative environment, we offer an exciting three-year doctoral researcher position at the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv). The project is supervised by Dr. Carsten Meyer (head of iDiv’s Macroecology & Society group) in collaboration with Prof. Lars Bernhard (TU Dresden’s Geoinformatics group), Prof. Ralf Seppelt ( Computational Landscape Ecology department, Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research), Prof. Steffen Fritz (International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis) and others.

Job description:

  • ​carrying out research on quantifying and reducing uncertainties in global land-use information, focusing on newly developed annual time-series of multiple variables related to cropping, grazing, and forestry systems
  • leading the assembly of ground-truthing information from existing databases and through a data validation campaign in the Geo-WIKI citizen-science platform
  • contributing to the development of standardized vocabularies and best practices for land-use data and data-quality assurance
  • leading the dissemination of project results via high-quality journal publications and conference presentations
  • contributing to the further development of open-science, collaborative IT solutions as part of longer-lasting tools for global land-use analysis
  • contributing to the management of the collaborative project (co-organization of project meetings, etc.)

Requirements / expected profile:

  • ​successfully completed a MSc or equivalent degree in a project-related field (e.g., geography, geoinformatics, geostatistics, agricultural/forestry sciences, environmental sciences, ecology)
  • highly motivated to develop efficient solutions for large data processing tasks; prior experience in working with environmental/land-cover/land-use information will be an advantage
  • prior experience in command-line based data analysis, open-source programming languages (e.g., Julia, Python, C++, R), and version control (Git) will be an advantage, but is not a hard requirement
  • proactive, results-oriented, attention to detail, and with strong organizational and communication skills (English)

We offer:

  • ​3-year doctoral research position with a competitive salary in a highly dynamic, collaborative, and interdisciplinary working environment; note that benefits like health insurance, parental leave, and pension plans are standard parts of university jobs in Germany
  • excellent networking opportunities and regular close interaction with an international network of land-use mapping experts
  • Access to powerful computing resources and support by iDiv’s informatics units and collaborators
  • enrolment in iDiv’s graduate school yDiv
  • Salary: 65% Entgeltgruppe 13 TV-L (standard German PhD student funding, which is more than adequate to live comfortably in Leipzig)
  • The working language at iDiv is English. iDiv is a highly international centre with employees from 30 countries and various forms of support for foreign-language employees (Welcome Centre, German classes, etc.). Leipzig is an attractive city with rich culture and beautiful surroundings, and international visitors usually find it easy to settle in.

Applications are accepted until 20 May 2019.

Link to full job ad:

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