Saturday, 19 March 2011

PhD Fellowship at IIASA

PhD Fellowship at IIASA (Austria)

PhD Fellowship at IIASA (Austria)

Analysis of expected changes in ecosystems and land use patterns in relation to climate change and future economic development

A PhD position, financed by the European Community, is available within the European Marie Curie Initial Training Network "CHANGES". The position will be based principally at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) near Vienna, Austria, with short-term secondments to the Climate Change Risk Management Centre (CCRM), United Kingdom, and to the Civil Protection Agency in Fruili-Veneziana Giulia (PC-FVG), northeastern Italy.


The CHANGES network (Changing Hydro-meteorological Risks—As Analyzed by a New Generation of European Scientists) will develop an advanced understanding of how global changes related to environmental, climate, and socio-economic change will affect the temporal and spatial patterns of hydro-meteorological hazards and associated risks in Europe. It will also look at how these changes can be assessed, modeled, and incorporated into sustainable risk management strategies focused on spatial planning, emergency preparedness, and risk communication.

Research Approach:

The researcher will be expected to draw on existing socio-economic-driven land use change scenarios and to augment and downscale these where necessary, using established methods, for the specific study regions. This research, consisting of literature and methodological review to support GIS-based modeling efforts, will be based at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA).

During this time, at a five-month secondment to the Climate Change Risk Management Centre (CCRM) in the United Kingdom, the researcher will identify the marginal effects of climate change on existing risks in the case study regions, drawing on the results of downscaled climate model to identify changes in risk profiles for the case study regions.

The researcher will also interact with stakeholders to identify (a) the anticipated changes in land use planning and management needed to respond to existing risk levels, and (b) the marginal additional effect of changes in risk levels due to climate change on these policy changes. This will take the form of interviews with key stakeholders, principally in the course of an Italian case study at the PC-FVG and also in the context of three other case studies in France, Poland, and Romania.
Interaction with other researchers within the CHANGES project to identify policy scenarios responding to existing risks, and as a basis for conducting conduct additional stakeholder interactions, will also take place.


The candidate will be based for 36 months at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), an international research organization concentrating on problem-oriented research using systems analysis methods, located near Vienna, Austria. At IIASA, the program on Risk, Policy, and Vulnerability (RPV) examines risk management issues combining quantitative and qualitative empirical social science research methods with quantitative modeling.

Within this period, the candidate will spend five months at the Climate Change Risk Management Centre (CCRM), United Kingdom, an association of experts, based primarily at the universities of Exeter and Oxford that provides consulting services on climate change risks focusing on hydrological and geomorphological impacts of anticipated climate change, as projected by global and regional climate models.

Another secondment period will be spend in Italy with the Civil Protection agency for the Fruili-Veneziana Giulia (PC-FVG), the authority responsible for hydrological and geological monitoring, prediction, and response for the northeastern region of Italy. While a stakeholder group in its own right, PC-FVG also has extensive experience organizing interactions with other stakeholders in the region, including municipal authorities and land use planning agencies.
Several visits will be made to the Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation, University of Twente, The Netherlands, for discussions with the supervisory team.


The research and the PhD will be supervised by Dr. Dagmar Schröter and Dr. Anthony Patt (IIASA), and Dr. Cees de Bie (Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation, University of Twente). The PhD graduate will be enrolled in the graduate school of the University of Twente.


Recently obtained (less than 5 years ago) Masters degree in the field of Geography, Ecology, or Environmental Science or Studies. Excellent English and at least limited ability in Italian are required. Ability in French, Polish, or Romanian is also desirable. Experience in GIS-based land use change modeling is highly advantageous, as is the ability to interpret the results of climate models o follow established methods to couple these to hydrological models in order to generate new risk maps.
Experience in engaging stakeholders, organizing interviews and focus group, and community meeting interactions is recommended.
It is expected that the candidate will participate in all meetings and workshops organized by the CHANGES research consortium—related additional funding will be available for this. The candidate must also be willing to disseminate the results within the project during the meetings, and also and, in particular, through presentations at conferences and contributions to scientific journals. Frequent interactions with other researchers in the CHANGES network, and for a liking for scientific inter-disciplinary research are important.


As requested by the EC, the applicant must have resided in Austria for less than 12 months during the last three years. The applicant’s selection will be on a competitive basis.

Appointment Terms:

The contract duration is 36 months. The salary is in accordance with the EU FP7 Marie Curie ITN regulations and will consist of a competitive salary (living allowance), mobility allowance, travel allowance and career exploratory allowance. The salary is exempt from taxation in Austria but subject to the principle of income aggregation.

IIASA offers both an exceptionally beautiful working environment as well as the intellectual excitement of a truly inter-disciplinary, international research organization.

The Institute’s management and staff alike are committed to a working environment that promotes equality, diversity, and tolerance. The Institute encourages applications from all qualified candidates.


To apply, please send a cover letter, resume (Please do not include a personal photograph), two recent examples of research work, plus names of two work-related references (including name and title, affiliation, e-mail address and telephone number) via e-mail (Word or PDF files acceptable) to:

Ms. Alia Harrison, Human Resources
International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Fax: (+43) 2236 713-13

Deadline for receipt of applications: 1 April 2011
Starting date: September 2011

Marie Curie Initial Training Network Programme: For more information on the Marie Curie Initial Training Network (ITN) Programme and Early Stage Researchers (ESR), please consult this Web site:

For more information about this position, please contact Dr. Anthony Patt (

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

Responsible for this page: Alia Harrison
Last updated: 02 Mar 2011


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