Data Scientist (m/f/d)

Einsatzort: Jena


  • Microbiology & Ecology
  • Earth Sciences and Climate Research

Art der Stelle

Data Scientist (m/f/d)

Stellenangebot vom 08.09.2022

The Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry (MPI-BGC) in Jena is dedicated to interdisciplinary fundamental research in the field of Earth system sciences with a focus on climate and ecosystems. The internationally renowned institute, which currently employs around 230 people, will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2022. Jena is known for high-tech industry, internationally renowned research institutions and a modern university, but it also has a beautiful natural setting in the green Saale valley with steep limestone slopes. The city of Jena has an active student scene and a diverse cultural life. We are looking for 01.02.2023 a Data Scientist (m/f/d) in full-time, initially limited to 2 years with the possibility of extension.

Background and position description

Earth Observation (EO) currently offers an unprecedented capacity to monitor the state of our planet. In parallel, innovative computing techniques based on artificial intelligence (AI) offer new avenues to deal with the increasing complexity and volume of these datastreams. The combination of process-based understanding with deep learning technology applied to synergistic and complementary sources of EO is expected to profoundly revolutionize our capacity to monitor the functioning ecosystem processes (Reichstein et al. 2019). Yet, if such information is to help solve societal challenges in this era of global climate urgency, it is also essential that the workflows are transparent and reproducible, accessible to researchers, decision-makers and citizens alike.

The department of Biogeochemical Integration, where this position is hosted, has spearheaded the development of Earth System data cubes (Mahecha et al. 2020), where EO and climate data streams are combined together. The present position falls within a new Horizon Europe project called Open-Earth-Monitor (, whose mission is to accelerate uptake of environmental information in an open framework. Within this project, we seek to develop an innovative software interface for EO data cubes that would enable the application of knowledge-guided AI and hybrid modelling to urgent problems of climate and ecological significance. This requires a rethinking of the spatial representation of dataset beyond the traditional data cube and towards spherical representations, potentially involving other tessellations such as triangles or hexagons, in a computationally efficient and scalable way that enables the application of novel techniques (e.g. graphical convolutional networks) to EO data at global scales.

Your tasks

  • Develop an innovative framework redesigning how data cubes can work at scale under a spherical model, enabling the application of localized knowledge-guided AI methodologies on EO data streams
  • Couple this framework to deep learning libraries for training Graph Convolutional Networks and co-design workflows with other researchers to apply them to various environmental problems
  • Active contribution to the development of open source Julia packages related to scalable computing on geospatial data
  • Report progress of respective activities within the Open-Earth-Monitor project and contribute to scientific publications

Your profile

  • Strong interest in computational geography and earth observation
  • Master's degree in Environmental/Earth system science, environmental engineering, computational science, physics, geography or a related field
  • Very good programming skill in a modern language for data analysis (Python, Julia, R), with skills in Julia being a particularly strong asset. Fluent with GIT version control.
  • Strong skills in handling, processing and managing large geospatial data, ideally from both the climate and the Earth Observation fields. Familiarity with Zarr cubes is an asset.
  • Experience and interest with machine learning and deep learning
  • Strong affinity for open source software to support Open Science
  • Good knowledge of written and spoken English, and good communication skills

Our offer

  • Work in the attractive international environment of an interdisciplinary research institute of the Max Planck Society as well as in a friendly and team-oriented working environment.
  • Participation in a strongly interdisciplinary research project involving various European partners both in the public and private sector

Part-time work is generally possible. The position will be evaluated and graded following the collective agreement according to TVöD Bund; in addition, we will provide a pension plan based on the public service (VBL). The Max Planck Society (MPS) strives for gender equality and diversity. The MPS aims to increase the proportion of women in areas where they are underrepresented. Women are therefore explicitly encouraged to apply. We welcome applications from all fields. The Max Planck Society has set itself the goal of employing more severely disabled people. Applications from severely disabled persons are expressly encouraged.

Your application:

If you have any questions, please contact Gregory Duveiller () or Fabian Gans (). Are you interested? Please send us your application with cover letter, curriculum vitae as well a s names and contact information of two references summarised in a PDF file (max. 10 MB) by October 31, 2022, quoting the reference number 38/2022 by e-mail to or to the

Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie
Personalbüro: Kennwort “Datenwissenschaftler”
Hans-Knöll-Straße 10
07745 Jena

We ask that you do not use application folders, but only submit copies, as your documents will be destroyed in accordance with data protection regulations after the application process has been completed. We look forward to receiving your application!