Scientific activities / projects, PhD position

Development of novel methods for semantic description and curation of scientific data

Starting date

1 July 2020

Duration of contract

3 years


up 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
At the Institute of Data Science in Jena we are establishing a new research group on „Data Management Technologies“. In this group, we develop novel methods and techniques for storing, managing, describing, and processing large amounts of multi-dimensional data in distributed storage systems. The work is conducted in close collaboration with the German Remote Sensing Data Center and external partners at the Thüringer Landessternwarte Tautenburg and the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy.
Your task is to develop novel methods for the semantic description and curation of scientific data in the context of data portals in cooperation with our internal and external partners. You are responsible for the conception of scientific methods for improving data access in data portals and the implementation of those methods in software modules. In particular, you will develop standardized metadata descriptions/use existing standards and improve the overall data access, e.g., by incorporating semantic search capabilities. Other aspects of your work include the development of concepts for integrating multiple, potentially heterogeneous, data sources with varying spatial and temporal resolution and the curation & evolution of metadata descriptions. The conceptual works will be validated on two exemplary use cases from transport research and space.
The emphasis of your activities will be on:
  • analysis of core requirements for the management of large, complex scientific data sources in data portals
  • literature research in the area of large-scale data management for scientific data portals, in particular metadata descriptions, curation & evolution of metadata descriptions, and data access methods with the goal to compare existing and develop new methods and techniques
  • analysis of current IT architectures and systems for their usage in data portals and by leveraging semantic methods and technologies
  • development of innovative concepts for semantic metadata descriptions, curation & evolution of metadata descriptions, and the integration of different data sources in scientific data portals
  • implementation of developed methods in software prototypes and validation on selected use cases from transport research and space science
  • integration & testing of developed software modules
  • scientific evaluation, documentation, and publication of results in scientific journals, workshops, or conferences
  • oral presentation of scientific results at national and international conferences/events
  • technical supervision of undergraduate students
  • reviewing student theses
  • hands-on support for new colleagues into the developed software modules
  • contribution to the management, documentation, and maintenance of IT platforms
The position allows obtaining a PhD degree at a collaborating university.

Your qualifications:

  • completed academic degree in computer science, (applied) mathematics, or physics (university diploma / master’s degree)
  • ability to work independently and autonomously on complex research questions
  • proven, practical knowledge of object-oriented programming (Java, C#, Python, JavaScript etc.)
  • fluency in written and oral English
  • practical experience in large-scale data management (in particular semantic modelling and metadata description) desired
  • in-depth knowledge of semantic technologies and methods, such as, RDF databases, SPARQL, ontologies, semantic search, or recommender systems welcome
  • fluency in written and oral German desired

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 places great value on a healthy family and work-life-balance as well as equal opportunities for persons of all genders (m/f/non-binary). Individuals with disabilities will be given preferential consideration in the event their qualifications are equivalent to those of other candidates.

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Technical contact

Dr. Marcus Paradies
Institute of Data Science

Phone: +49 3641 30960-103

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Vacancy 47497

HR department Berlin

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DLR site Jena

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DLR Institute of Data Science

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