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Ph.D. Student (75%) or Post Doc (80%) Position in Hydrology

Ph.D. Student (75%) or Post Doc (80%) Position in Hydrology
Job Advertisement:

Linking landscape structure and rainfall runoff behavior in a thermodynamic optimality context 


TV-L E13 (75 %) for a PhD Student, or TVL E14 (80%) for a Post Doc

Job Posting Number:

CAOS Project F

Faculty / Division:

Chair of Hydrology


Institute of Water and River Basin Management

Starting Date:

1 May 2015

closing date:

31 March 2015

Contact Person:

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Erwin Zehe

Job description

The German-Luxembourg DFG Research Group FOR 1598 CAOS (From Catchments As Organized Systems to Models Based on Dynamic Functional Units) started in 2011. Within the second phase (2015-18) we jointly develop a holistic framework to explore how spatial organization alongside with spatial heterogeneity controls terrestrial water and energy cycles in intermediate scale catchments. “Holistic” means for us to link the “how” to the “why” by drawing from generic understanding of landscape formation and biotic controls on processes and structures as well as to rely on exemplary experimental learning in a hypothesis and theory based manner. The CAOS research unit consists of 7 projects which closely cooperate within two overarching work packages: WP 1 “Linking hydrological similarity with landscape structure across scales” and WP 2 “Searching for appropriate catchment models and organizing principles". CAOS offers a highly interdisciplinary research on environment, cutting across hydrology, meteorology, geophysics, remote sensing, landscape ecology, geomorphology and theoretical environmental physics. For more on CAOS, visit the project homepage.

Within Project F you will explore an alternative energy centered perspective on rainfall runoff generation on the hillslope and headwater scale. Rainfall runoff processes are associated with conversions of capillary binding energy, potential energy and kinetic energy. The “speed” of these conversions is strongly controlled by topography, subsurface hydraulic conductivity and preferential pathways. Thermodynamic optimality principles allow for an a priori optimization of these landscape characteristics, e.g. with respect to speed (power) of these energy conversions. This opens up a) opportunities for uncalibrated predictions of rainfall runoff and b) promising alternatives to estimate model parameters and interpret observations.



You have a Master degree in Hydrology, Environmental Physics, Environmental Engineering or Geoecology with a focus on process-oriented modelling and interest in organizing principles. You have extensive programming skills and a good understanding of environmental systems. You are interested in going new ways in hydrological modeling by incorporating issues of self-organization and thermodynamic optimality principles. You enjoy a balanced mix of theory development, model design and programming, as well as working in a multidisciplinary research group with unique opportunities for learning and cooperation. You can work independently, but you also like to discuss your insights with the CAOS project team. You are fluent in English: verbal and written.



The remuneration occurs on the basis of the wage agreement of the civil service in TV-L E13, 75 % for a PhD Student,  or TVL E14, 80 % for a Post Doc.


Contract Duration and Starting Date

The contract will be for three years. Preferred starting date is 1 May 2015.



Applications should be sent as one pdf with cover letter (motivation, research interests), curriculum vitae, relevant certificates, and publication list, before 31 March 2015 by email to Prof. Dr.-Ing. Erwin Zehe.


KIT is an equal opportunity employer. Women are especially encouraged to apply. Applicants with disabilities will be preferentially considered if equally qualified.