IIASA Job Opportunity: Research Assistant/Postdoc in Ecological Modeling

IIASA Job Opportunity: Research Assistant/Postdoc in Ecological Modeling

The IIASA Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM) program is offering an opportunity for a Research Assistant or Postdoc in Ecological Modeling. The successful candidate will initially be involved in the projects Climate Change Mitigation from Achieving Biodiversity Targets funded by the European Climate Fund and by Quadrature foundation, and the Nature Map project, funded by the Norway International Climate and Forest Initiative.

The ideal candidate will have expertise in at least one of the following  areas:

  • Statistical modeling applied to ecology, e.g. species distribution or occupancy modeling. Knowledge of Bayesian Hierarchical Modeling would be beneficial.
  • Optimization methods e.g. use of integer programming or global search algorithms to solve multi-objective problems in R environment. Experience of applying them to conservation problems would be beneficial.

The successful candidate will work within the ESM program and the Biodiversity, Ecology, and Conservation (BEC) research group, and in close collaboration with Dr. Martin Jung and Dr. Piero Visconti. Depending on the interests of the selected individual, they will work either on developing a new class of hierarchical and integrated species distribution models or applying spatial prioritization methods for integrated land-use planning at national scales. While we are looking for a researcher that can contribute to existing projects and outputs, they will ideally  develop their own research profile within the area of applied ecological and conservation research.

The incumbent will also liaise with other project partners, in particular with the United Nations Environment Programme – World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), who will provide data and technical advice.


  • Develop workflows for integrated conservation planning, statistical analyses and projections of species distribution as well as general data preparation with regards to project needs
  • Lead the dissemination of project results via high-quality journal publications and conference presentations
  • Contribute to the organization of project-related workshops and/or webinars
  • Support all project partners in the drafting of reports, proposals and other scientific outputs as need arises
  • In line with the team spirit that prevails at IIASA, the incumbent may occasionally work on other tasks assigned by their superiors, that might not be directly related to this appointment but where the post holder has relevant experience and skills, and/or a shortage of immediate personnel capabilities requires such.


  • Advanced degree in a related subject and/or experience in advanced statistical modeling or optimization methods
  • Good understanding of current applied ecology and conservation research
  • Familiarity with at least one scientific coding language (R, Python, C++, Julia). Experience in parallel computing and version control (e.g. Git) would be advantageous
  • Excellent organizational skills, pro-active and results-oriented plus the capacity to deliver on allocated tasks and respond in a timely manner to deadlines
  • Ability to work independently and as part of an international team distributed across different institutions and time-zones
  • Ability to write scientific articles and contribute to science-policy reports
  • Excellent communication skills (both written and verbal) in English.

Appointment Terms:

The successful candidate will be offered a full-time (40 hours per week) position, and should be available to take up the appointment on, or as soon as possible after 1 November 2020.  An initial contract of one year with the possibility for extension thereafter will be offered.

Duties will be carried out at the IIASA premises in Laxenburg, near Vienna in Austria.

Deadline for receipt of applications: 20 October 2020 (midnight CEST).

Further information can be found on the website.

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