PhD position Mathematic / Statistics, University of Zurich/CH

Natural Sciences, Mathematics, Statistics
Universität Zürich
Zurich, Switzerland

Institut / Abteilung
Applied Statistics Group, Institute of Mathematics

The University of Zurich (UZH) Research Priority Programme (URPP) on Global Change and Biodiversity (GCB) is a newly established interdisciplinary programme. Biodiversity is both, a response variable affected by global change drivers and a factor modifying ecosystem processes and services that are essential to human well-being. Improved capability to predict the consequences of changes in drivers will aid improved prediction of the state of the environment. The URPP GCB embarks on innovative avenues in this research domain by using a latitudinal gradient approach based on interactions, feedback and scale, which will yield more reliable and robust knowledge about global change processes.

We therefore invite applications for a PhD position in the area of assessing uncertainty in global change–biodiversity research using multi-scale Bayesian modelling.
The Applied Statistics group at the Institute of Mathematics addresses relevant problems in the environmental and biological sciences that involve a quantitative analysis of large datasets. The Spatial Ecology and Remote Sensing group focuses on the role of vegetation composition and structure on land surface processes and climate feedbacks

This project aims to improve ecosystem–environment models by linking sparse and local field data together with coarse (relatively) low-resolution satellite data. Explicit focus is placed on assessments of model prediction uncertainty. The statistical model to develop consists of two components. The first is a dynamical state-space downscaling model that links biodiversity and vegetation variables to feedback variables such as surface temperature. The second is an up-scaling approach of the feedback effects of vegetation of specified biodiversity on surface temperature and energy balance to larger, climate-relevant temporal scales. Addressing the uncertainty quantification will be crucial.

Upon start, applicants must have a completed masters degree in mathematics or any related science field, preferably with a certain degree of specialization in statistics. Applicants must be able to pursue data-oriented computational research (modelling) as well as theoretical statistical modelling. Literacy in programming languages and experience with remote sensing data products are an asset.

A good standard of written and spoken English is required.

Literacy in programming languages and experience with remote sensing data products are an asset.

Spezielle Anforderungen
We are looking for a highly motivated, enthusiastic and independent person with a passion for science to join our team.

Wir bieten
We offer outstanding working conditions, a high quality of life in Zurich, and an excellent supporting environment.

Please send your application (including position reference URPP-GCB-317-1) as one single PDF file (motivation letter, complete CV, and names of 2 references) to, no later than December 15, 2012.

The position will start as of July 1, 2013 and is limited to 3+1 years. Salaries correspond to the UZH regulations of PhD salaries.

For further questions, please contact or


Bitte senden Sie Ihre Bewerbung mit den üblichen Unterlagen an oben genannte E-Mail-Adresse.

Rita Ott
Universität Zürich
Remote Sensing Laboratories, Department of Geography
Winterthurerstrasse 190
8057 Zürich

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