PhD position

Ionospheric Radio Occultation

Starting date

1 April 2018

Duration of contract

3 years


According to German TVöD 13

Type of employment


"Cutting-edge research requires excellent minds – particularly more females – at all levels. Launch your mission with us and send in your application now!" Prof. Pascale Ehrenfreund - Chair of the DLR Executive Board

Your mission:

The Institute of Communications and Navigation develops and investigates new systems and methods for radio transmission and positioning. Disruptions of satellite missions and modern communication, navigation and remote sensing systems can be the consequence of perturbations in the ionosphere. Therefore, a team in Neustrelitz monitors investigates and models the ionosphere for many years.

The radio occultation (RO) technique provides one of the most effective space-based methods for exploring planetary atmospheres. The availability of numerous medium Earth orbit satellites deployed by Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) such as GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, BeiDou allows continuous monitoring of the Earth’s ionosphere and neutral atmosphere by tracking GNSS signals from low Earth orbiting (LEO) satellites. Numerous electron density profiles retrieved from ionospheric radio occultation (IRO) observations opened new ways for exploring and monitoring space weather processes. For instance, particle precipitation of magnetospheric origin causes additional ionization in the auroral zone at E-layer heights seriously affecting HF propagation. Ionospheric profiles in the polar region sometimes have their maximum density at E layer altitude called E layer dominant ionosphere (ELDI).
In this context, we are looking for a phd student with strong interest on ionospheric research and ambition for team work. Your mission is to explore climatological and space weather related features of the ELDI primarily by applying radio occultation measurements aboard LEO satellite missions. In this field we support you to head for a PhD degree.

Your work includes the following tasks:

  • study the geophysical conditions, characteristics, spatial and temporal distributions, hemispherical asymmetry/symmetry of ELDI related ionospheric processes using GNSS radio occultation electron density profile retrievals from CHAMP, GRACE, Formosat-3/COSMIC, Fengyun-3C missions
  • investigate ELDI events in coordination with measurements from EISCAT and ESR radars, and ground based GNSS measurements
  • study high latitude ionospheric disturbances associated with ELDI events to derive conclusions on improving our understanding of space weather impact on terrestrial and trans-ionospheric radio wave propagation (Research results should improve current trans-ionospheric measurement techniques and terrestrial telecommunication) 
  • develop an empirical model for describing ELDI features to be integrated in the Neustrelitz Electron Density Model (NEDM)
  • publish new findings in international journals and at scientific conferences

Your working time is 19.25 hours per week.

Your qualifications:

  • completed academic university degree (Diplom/Master) in physics, mathematics, meteorology, geodesy or a related subject
  • analytical competence, expertise in data analysis and statistical knowledge
  • fundamental programming skills in Python and C/C++

Your benefits:

Look forward to a fulfilling job with an employer who appreciates your commitment and supports your personal and professional development. Our unique infrastructure offers you a working environment in which you have unparalled scope to develop your creative ideas and accomplish your professional objectives. Our human resources policy puts great value on a healthy work-life balance as well as equal opportunities for men and women. Individuals with disabilities will be given preferential consideration in the event their qualifications are equivalent to those of other candidates.

Technical contact

Dr. Mohammed Mainul Hoque
Institute of Communications and Navigation

Phone: +49 3981 480-125

Send message

Vacancy 17816

HR department Berlin

Send message

DLR site Neustrelitz

To location

DLR Institute of Communications and Navigation

To institute