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PhD position

Space weather research

Starting date

1 July 2020

Duration of contract

3 years


up to the 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 Solar-Terrestrial Physics of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), solar-terrestrial relationships are studied with the focus on the ionosphere and their relation to phenomena and effects of space weather. Modern communication and navigation systems as well as high-resolution radar techniques of remote sensing work with radio waves whose propagation is significantly influenced by the electrically conductive part of the Earth's atmosphere, the ionosphere. In view of constantly increasing demands on accuracy, availability and reliability of the radio signals used, it is necessary to have the most comprehensive knowledge possible of the propagation properties of the ionosphere. For this purpose and to understand the basic solar-terrestrial relationships, comprehensive observations of the state of the ionosphere and various space weather factors including solar wind as well as significant coupling processes with the magnetosphere, thermosphere, atmosphere and lithosphere are required.

The department of Space Weather Observations deals with ionosphere measurement and inversion techniques using ground and space borne sensors. The observation data are used to reconstruct the 3D electron density distribution of the geo-plasma environment by means of data fusion, reconstruction and assimilation techniques.

The investigation of ionospheric propagation of radio waves in the low and very low frequency (VLF) range and their correlation with atmospheric and space weather effects are of great interest for reliable long range communications. Besides solar radiation, which is the main driver of the ionosphere, especially the lower layers are subject to atmospheric variability. Often observed wave like structures or travelling ionospheric disturbances are the primary manifestation of forcing from the lower atmosphere. In order to understand the dynamic behaviour of the lower ionosphere, the propagation parameters of radio waves shall be measured, analysed and simulated. Modern radio control systems operated on long radio waves are often subject to high demands on transmission reliability. Therefore, the knowledge of ionospheric impact factors and their variability is of practical importance.

The Institute for Solar-Terrestrial Physics is therefore looking for staff to work on the following topics:

  • investigation and simulation of VLF signal propagation, deduction of ionospheric processes, and reconstruction of the lower ionosphere (D-layer)  
  • long-term analysis of various ground-based ionosphere measurements as well as satellite-based measurements of solar radiation to exclude space weather impacts
  • investigation of coupling processes between the D-layer and atmospheric processes (especially mesosphere)
  • comparative studies on mesospheric radar wind measurements and global atmospheric simulation data sets
  • installation and extension of VLF receiving stations
  • implementation of VLF data processing systems based on the programming languages C++, Python and Matlab on Linux and Microsoft Windows systems
  • Documentation of work results in publications

You will bring in your excellent skills into an international successful and highly motivated research team with long scientific expertise in ionosphere and space weather research. Here, you will experience a very good working atmosphere in a well-equipped and modern research site situated in a beautiful and livable region of Germany.

Your qualifications:

  • university degree (master's or diploma) in physics, meteorology, applied mathematics or a comparable scientific discipline
  • very good knowledge of relevant programming languages (e.g. Fortran, Python, Matlab, C++) and common operating systems
  • experience in space weather research and signal processing is advantageous
  • excellent German and English knowledge in spoken and written
  • ability to work in a team as well as independent, creative and goal-oriented way of working

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

Daniela Banyś
Institute for Solar-Terrestrial Physics

Phone: +49 3981 480-214

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Vacancy 49224

HR department Berlin

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DLR site Neustrelitz

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Institute for Solar-Terrestrial Physics

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