Postdoctoral scientist

Detecting extreme events in biological, societal and earth systems

The Max Planck Research Group ‘Extreme Events’ (EXT, Extreme Events in Biological, Societal and Earth Systems) is based at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, and is an intersectional project working closely with the nearby Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry. We are pleased to announce a vacancy for a postdoctoral scientist for two years, starting in summer 2019.

The overarching theme of the Extreme Events project is to explore the notion, character and implications of extreme events from various disciplines and at different scales. It will explore the detection, definition, impacts and prediction of different forms of extreme events in biological, societal and earth systems.

This postdoctoral position will focus on detecting extreme events using cutting edge scientific analyses of biological systems, particularly in relation to how these interact with human societies. The project is wide ranging in scope, but particular focus will be given to applicants with expertise in areas relevant to the main studies of the Principal Investigator, such as the nature of Quaternary environmental change in arid environments and its impact on human societies (e.g. high resolution isotope studies of faunal remains, biogeography, etc.). The candidate will work with colleagues to integrate different sorts of datasets, allowing an interdisciplinary understanding of extreme events.

The ideal applicant will have a strong background in the study of extreme events, and have completed a PhD on a relevant topic. They should have a broad knowledge of extreme events in biological systems. They should have relevant analytical and laboratory expertise, knowledge of statistical and other methods of data analysis, and an ability to write academic papers in good English. They must have a strong track record of publications and presentations, and demonstrate an ability to work with closely colleagues from the Extreme Events team and from collaborating institutions in a highly multidisciplinary project. The position will involve fieldwork and other travel.

Our offer

We offer an interesting and challenging full-time position in a dynamic and stimulating research environment. The start date will be in summer 2019. Remuneration will follow the public service pay scale (TVöD), according to qualification and experience. Social benefits are paid according to the regulations of the Civil Service.

The Max Planck Society is committed to employ more handicapped individuals and especially encourages them to apply. The Max Planck Society also seeks to increase the number of women in areas where they are under-represented and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply.

How to apply

Please submit your application as a single PDF file in English by May 10, 2019 by email to

Dr. Huw Groucutt
hgroucutt [at]

Your application should include cover letter summarising your experience and future vision, CV of no more than 4 pages, list of publications and relevant certificates (degree certificates, etc.). Reference letters from three referees are also due by May 10, 2019, and should be sent by email directly to Huw Groucutt.