06 February 2017

Research Assistant

Vacancy 06/2017 - The Ecosystem Services and Management Program (ESM) is recruiting a Research Assistant to strengthen the team working on quantitative foresight for the formulation of policy options.


The Ecosystems Services and Management Program (ESM) at IIASA conducts research on ecosystem management for the provision of services related to fiber, food, water and energy, in connection to economic, societal and environmental changes. The Program is renowned for its expertise in long-term global changes in land use and ecosystem management and the assessment of the consequences of these changes. The program builds its competence by means of a pluridisciplinary team where quantitative analysis plays a strong role with a wide spectrum of models; from detailed process based biophysical models to global economic models. Besides modeling a major strength lies within the systems analysis approach for scenario building and model output analysis and comprises of linear and non-linear methods for impact assessment and uncertainty analysis.

The program is strongly connected to the international academic community, with an emphasis on trans-disciplinary synergies and applied approaches. The work accomplished has been long recognized through regular publication in high-ranked scientific journals. In addition, ESM has been invited to participate to numerous policy-oriented consultations and large scale scientific exercises.

The position:

The Imbalance-P research project gathers the fields of ecosystem diversity and ecology, biogeochemistry, Earth System modeling, and global agricultural and resource economics, to analyze ongoing shifts in C:N:P balances in ecosystems.

In this context ESM is seeking a Research Assistant to strengthen the team working on quantitative foresight for the formulation of policy options. The candidate will work within the team focusing on integrated assessment modeling using process based biochemical models (BGC-MAN, gEpic) and global bio-market models (GLOBIOM). 

Tasks and Responsibilities:

In stochastic optimization:

  • Scenario development using statistical modeling of historical data
  • Scenario clustering using machine learning algorithms
  • Subsequent goal function development for stochastic solving
  • Stochastic scenario optimization targeting cost or risk minimization.

In model analysis using non-linear methods:

  • Development of stability indicators
  • Resilience assessment
  • Risk resilient scenario selection.

General Tasks:

  • Contribution to project dissemination activities.


  • Advanced University degree in formal and/or quantitative natural sciences.
  • Experience in Stochastic Linear Programming and Risk Assessment.
  • Professional experience in software development (C/C++; R and/or Pyhton; SQL).
  • Experience in Dynamic Systems Theory and process based ecosystem modeling.
  • Fluency in English (spoken and written) as well as excellent presentation skills.
  • An additional degree/studies in fields related to economics or international policy-making is beneficial.

Appointment Terms:

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

The successful candidate will be offered a full-time position with an initial employment contract of one year with the possibility for extension thereafter. Preferred starting date is 1 March 2017.

IIASA offers a competitive compensation and benefits package (home leave, moving allowances, educational grants for children of school age, and five weeks’ annual vacation). IIASA salaries are exempt from taxation in the host country of Austria.  


To apply, please email a cover letter and resume, two recent examples of research work, plus names, addresses (including e-mail), and telephone numbers of three work-related references and at least one letter of recommendation to:

Deadline for receipt of applications 17 February 2017. 

IIASA is committed to a working environment that promotes equality, diversity, tolerance and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages qualified female and male candidates from all religious, ethnic and social backgrounds to apply. In the case that candidates are equally qualified, preference will be given to applicants who are nationals of IIASA member countries.

For information about this position, please contact:

About Laxenburg (near Vienna)

IIASA is located in a former 18th century imperial palace of the Habsburg Monarchy in Laxenburg, Austria about 15 km from Vienna. The facility has been gratefully provided by the host country Austria to the International Scientific Community. According to Mercer’s 18th annual Quality of Living survey, Vienna continues its reign in the top spot for overall quality of living in 2016. The survey covers 230 cities worldwide and is based on 39 criteria such as political, social, economic, educational, and environmental factors. Vienna has all the facilities of a modern, progressive city, in the heart of Europe. 

While famous for its concert venues, opera houses, theaters, and museums, Vienna also provides opportunities for great outdoor activities on nearby Lake Neusiedl, the Vienna Woods, and the Alps.

Vienna has a wealth of different research and international governmental institutions, permitting extensive dialogue at local and international level between scientists and policymakers.

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

Internal reference # 170038

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Last edited: 06 February 2017


Alia Harrison

Recruitment Coordinator

Human Resources

T +43(0) 2236 807 286

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313