IIASA Job Opportunity: Early Stage Researcher/Predoctoral Researcher

IIASA Job Opportunity: Early Stage Researcher/Predoctoral Researcher

Under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Yoshihide Wada, Program Director of the IIASA Biodiversity and Natural Resourced (BNR) program, and co-supervision by associates at Utrecht and Wageningen University & Research universities, the Water Security (WAT) research group  at IIASA will be hosting one Early Stage Researcher (ESR) who will be enrolled in the four-year PhD program at the Utrecht University. This project is part of the InventWater project for which 15 ESR PhD students will be hired in total. The project will be carried out in close collaboration with our international partners. A willingness to travel and spend time abroad is therefore essential. Visits to the following universities are expected during the project: Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen, Netherlands, five months (Dr. Maryna Strokal), and Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands, four months (Dr. Michelle van Vliet).


This project aims to develop innovative global indicators for water quality status and changes (especially eutrophication) in selected lakes worldwide, accounting for climate change and socio-economic development and land- use change.

The proposed project includes mainly three parts:

1. Long-term trend (e.g., 1980-present) assessment of water quality for selected lakes worldwide. This will be done by integrating PCLake+ (lake water quality and ecological modeling) with nutrient load modeling (based on the GLOBIOMCWatMMARINA modeling framework developed as part of the ISWEL project) and global water quality dataset from Remote Sensing products for lakes and reservoirs (e.g., from World Bank and Copernicus)

2. Development of critical indicators by linking the long-term trend (e.g., trophic level change) back to the driving forces (e.g., climate change and socio-economic development, land-use change, river connectivity), and

3. Mid- and long-term projection and scenario analysis to provide policy and management recommendations with case studies (e.g., Lake Victoria, Lake Taihu).

The project will benefit from on-going research and existing tools of the project members on hydrological modeling, pollutant load modeling, lake modeling at the global, regional and basin scale and for the case studies.

Expected Results:

1.   Innovative integrated framework of water quality information from remote sensing with multiple modelling tools, leading to long-term trend assessment of water quality

2.   Global indicators (e.g., climate change and socio-economic development, land-use change,) for water quality status

3.   Policy and management recommendations for case studies, where regional policies and management options will be considered in a detailed assessment.


  • Extend and refine the nutrient load modelling framework and integrate it with lake nutrient model
  • Assess the integrated modelling system using available in-situ and remote sensing data for selected lake basins worldwide
  • Conduct trend assessment of water quality status for the selected lake basins
  • Identify critical indicators (e.g., driving factors) for water quality status and changes through statistical analysis or machine learning techniques
  • Carry out mid- and long-term future projection (e.g., till 2050) based on global and regional scenarios for selected case studies.


  • The candidate must hold a master’s degree (or equivalent qualification) in Hydrology, Environmental Engineering, Environmental Sciences, Environmental Chemistry, or similar
  • Willingness and ability to travel and collaborate in teams
  • Good programming skills in typical scientific programming languages (e.g., Python, R, etc.)
  • Experience with geographic information systems (ArcGIS, or QGIS)
  • Good knowledge of data analysis and statistics
  • Good knowledge of hydrological and water quality modeling
  • Eagerness to deal with complex modeling problems and develop tools to support policy development
  • Proficiency in the English language is required, as well as good communication skills, both oral and written.


Other than the secondments, duties will be mainly carried out at the IIASA premises in Laxenburg, Austria. The successful candidate should be available to take up the position by September 2021, and will be enrolled at the Utrecht University as a PhD student, and comply with relevant PhD regulations at the Utrecht University. We will offer an  initial one-year employment contract at IIASA. Following a satisfactory evaluation of the first year’s work by both IIASA and Utrecht University, the appointment period can be extended further.

Further information can be found in the vacancy announcement under Documents on this page.

Deadline for receipt of applications: 22 April 2021, 17.00 (CEST). Assignment begin: 1 September 2021.

For further information about this opportunity please contact:
Prof. Dr. Yoshihide Wada
Email: wada@iiasa.ac.at
Program Director
Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR)

Dr. Ting Tang
Email: tangt@iiasa.ac.at
Research Scholar
Water Security (WAT) Research group

Related Posts