The Biodiversity, Ecology, and Conservation (BEC) Research Group, within the BNR Program is offering an opportunity for a talented early career researcher who would like to build a career in ecological modeling and informing biodiversity and climate policies through quantitative evidence.
The BEC Research Group at IIASA develops and applies state-of-the art ecological knowledge, methods, and tools to understand ecosystem functioning, ecological responses, and feedbacks in coupled social-economic-ecological systems. The group aims to apply this knowledge and tools to investigate appropriate management options to achieve sustainability goals that have ecological implications.
The incumbent is expected to lead on some of the tasks in ACCREU, a Horizon Europe funded project that focusses on investigating climate change impacts, mitigation, adaptation, and prospects for a sustainable social and economic development in the EU. ACCREU will identify challenges, highlight opportunities, and deliver practical solutions to policy making and societal to accelerate a just societal transformation towards climate resilience in the short, medium and long term. The specific role of the BEC group in this project is to investigate the impacts of climate and land-use change on terrestrial biodiversity in Europe, as well as identifying options for economically cost-efficient climate adaptation measures that also benefit biodiversity.
Additionally, there will be opportunities to contribute to other projects such as the Biodiversa+ funded INSPIRE project (“INtegrated Spatial PlannIng across REalms for biodiversity conservation and human development in a context of change”) where we aim to develop a conservation planning framework to evaluate opportunities for improved management actions in Austria and Hungary. Besides the two projects, we will also support the incumbent in applying for their own funding and developing a research career in ecological modeling in our group.
The successful candidate will work within the BNR Program and the BEC research group, and work in close collaboration with Dr. Martin Jung and other project partners at IIASA and beyond.
Depending on the profile of the selected person, they will be expected to work on estimating climate change impacts on biodiversity using species distribution models, contributing towards the development and expansion of the BEC Integrated model for BiodIversity distribution projectionS (ibis.iSDM) modeling suite. Furthermore, using estimates of anticipated climate change impacts, the incumbent is expected to estimate the potential economic displacement and conservation management costs under different climate adaption scenarios using a conservation planning approach.
The ideal candidate has prior knowledge and practical experience in advanced ecological modeling (correlative and/or mechanistic) techniques, biodiversity impact assessments as well as an understanding of the theory and techniques underlying systematic conservation planning. There will be opportunities to attend conferences, visit partners and be involved in case studies across existing projects. The person should be comfortable working with complex datasets and applied problems and does not shy away from talking to people from different disciplines or sectors.
TASKS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Prepare large geo-spatial data for climate change impacts assessments on biodiversity.
Estimate the impact of different climate change mitigation and adaptation scenarios on European biodiversity and contribute to the development of SDM techniques in the BEC group.
Implement a framework to estimate the expected economic costs of managing biodiversity under different future climate scenarios.
Liaise between case-study stakeholders in the project and keep themselves updated on climate change adaptation and conservation policy literature.
Contribute to or lead on the dissemination of project results via high-quality journal publications and conference presentations.
Support all project partners in the drafting of reports, proposals and other scientific outputs as need arises.
QUALIFICATIONS AND EXPERIENCE
Prior knowledge of Climate adaptation, Nature-based solutions, biodiversity impact assessments or ecosystem accounting. Scientific interest in integrating biodiversity and conservation issues in cross-sectoral problems.
Experience using advanced quantitative analyses, particularly in the context of ecological modeling and conservation planning. Proven prior knowledge of machine learning (for example Gradient boosting or CNNs) and/or spatial optimization techniques (linear and mixed integer programming).
Existing skills in scientific programming for example with R, Python or Julia. Familiarity with version control techniques using git and collaborative coding. R-package development experience desirable.
Excellent organizational skills, pro-active and results-oriented, and the capacity to deliver on allocated tasks and respond in a timely manner to deadlines.
Ability to work independently, and at times with minimal supervision.
Full fluency in English (both written and oral) and excellent communication skills.
The selected candidate should be available to take up the position as soon as possible. We offer a full-time (40 hours per week) employment contract for one year initially, with the possibility to extend thereafter (by mutual agreement). Eligible applicants wishing to work part-time hours may be considered.
Duties will be carried out at the IIASA premises in Laxenburg, near Vienna in Austria.
The successful candidate will be appointed in accordance with the IIASA profiles for research careers.
EUR 48,050.00 per annum (full-time equivalent) for R2 Researchers.
In addition, IIASA salaries are:
IIASA is committed to a working environment that promotes equality, diversity, tolerance and inclusion within its workforce. This is reflected in our IIASA core values. We encourage qualified candidates from all religious, ethnic, and social backgrounds to apply. In the case that candidates are equally qualified, preference will be given to applicants from countries where IIASA has a Member Organization.
To apply for this opportunity, you will need to provide the following documents in English: