Navigation und Service

PhD position in “Integrated modeling of climate risk to smallholder farms in Sub Saharan Africa”

06.08.2018 - Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), Germany

The Integrated Crop Systems Analysis group together with the Farm Economics and Ecosystem Services group are offering a PhD position in “Integrated modeling of climate risk to smallholder farms in Sub Saharan Africa”.

ZALF is a member of the Leibniz Association and, with its about 330 employees, one of the largest research institutions in the Berlin-Brandenburg region. It is our mission to scientifically explain causal relationships in agricultural landscapes and to provide society with sound information for the sustainable use of agricultural landscapes through excellent research. ZALF strongly focusses on interdisciplinary collaboration.

Intensifying production of smallholder farming systems as a means of improving livelihoods and reducing poverty is pursued throughout large parts of West Africa. However, investments in improved agricultural technologies are very risky due to climate variability and poverty in the region. Identifying options to minimize risk to support long-term development outcomes could be supported by modelling tools that capture interactions between weather variability, crop management and farm income and assets. This proposed PhD position would develop such a modelling framework and apply it in scenario analysis to evaluate the impacts of different risk management strategies on long-term development outcomes.

Your tasks

  • develop an integrated bio-economic farm model;
  • conduct household surveys and multi-stakeholder workshops in rural West Africa;
  • perform scenario analysis;
  • write peer-reviewed journal publications and contribute to relevant policy and practice reports.

Your profile

  • Master’s Degree or equivalent in agricultural economics, development economics, natural resource management, or related fields OR in physical sciences (e.g. physics or mathematics) with strong interest and understanding of agricultural development issues;
  • excellent quantitative skills and some previous experience with systems modelling;
  • interest and aptitude to work in a developing country setting;
  • ability to work in an inter- and transdisciplinary research project;
  • fluency in spoken and written English is required.

We offer

  • high-level interdisciplinary research in a research centre close to Berlin;
  • opportunity to gain international research experience;
  • well regarded research group, with an excellent reputation within Germany and internationally;
  • excellent links to national and international research networks.

Your application should enclose

  • CV and letter of motivation;
  • 1-page statement of your research interests;
  • contact details of two potential referees.

For further information please contact Dr. Heidi Webber ( or Dr. Peter Zander (
Place of work is Müncheberg (close to Berlin). Salary will follow the guidelines for public employees according to the TV-L, depending on the personal situation up to the level of 13 TV-L. The position is foreseen as 65% of the regular weekly working time and max. fixed-term for 3 years. Starting date will be as soon as possible.
Physically handicapped persons will be favored if equally qualified. In order to increase the number of female employees, we ask interested and qualified women to apply for the position.
Please refer to reference number 38-2018 in your application and send it by email (1 pdf-document, 5MB max,) to:, Frau Hamann, personnel office, Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF) e.V. Closing date for receiving applications is 31.08.2018.