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Universität Bern: 4-year PhD position in the field of Geography/GIS-Analysis (100%)

4-year PhD position in the field of Geography/GIS-Analysis (100%)

You will develop and apply geospatial approaches to model and analyze regional densification processes based on changes in the built environment and social sphere. You will conduct spatial analysis of the case study regions Bern and Utrecht (Netherlands). In your research you will develop a mutual data basis for both cases, develop and apply indicators and analyze patterns of densification. You will be testing and deploying various multi-temporal data sources for changes in settlement structure, population and urban quality from fine grained local to regional level.

As a PhD student, you will have room for creativity, while closely collaborating with the senior and PhD members of the project GoverDENSE (Governing densification – The impact of performance-based planning on qualitative urban densification) funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. The project’s overall research goal is to examine the conditions under which spatial planning can lead to densification more effectively, while retaining urban quality for all, especially vulnerable socio-economic groups.

You will be affiliated with the Institute of Geography of the University of Bern and collaborate closely with the GoverDENSE partner Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development (IOER) (Dresden, Germany) who leads the research on geographic analysis. The project offers the opportunity to work in Dresden or Bern, while having research stays at the other partner institute.

You will write an independent thesis in the project (PhD in Geography, University of Bern), participate in project publications, research workshops, and build your research network. You will also be involved in teaching, including the supervision of bachelor and master theses.

We invite applications from candidates with the following credentials:

  • a very good (research) master degree in Geography or related fields (e.g. geoinformatics, spatial planning);
  • fluency in German and English both spoken and written is a must;
  • excellent skills and proven experience in handling and analyzing spatial data using common GIS software (e.g. ArcGIS and QGIS);
  • comprehensive skills in related programming (e.g. Python and R);
  • proven strong interest in modelling and analyzing urban dynamics;
  • strong interest in urban development issues, land use planning and sustainability;
  • skills and commitment to work in an interdisciplinary team are required.

Conditions of employment
We offer an exciting interdisciplinary project in an international research team. The appointment will initially be for one year and subject to renewal upon satisfactory evaluation of research progress. Remuneration is according to Swiss NSF standards (http://www.snf.ch/SiteCollectionDocuments/Annex_XII_Ausfuehrungsreglement_Beitragsreglement_E.pdf).

The start date is on April 1st or as soon as possible.

The University of Bern as an equal opportunity employer promotes gender equality and diversity. Therefore, we encourage women and international candidates to apply. Equally, qualified candidates with disabilities or applicants with equivalent status receive preference in the application process.

Please submit the following documents as one single pdf file to

  • a letter of motivation (not more than one page);
  • a curriculum vitae (including copy of university transcript) and names and contact details of two academic referees;
  • Details of publications if any and one sample writing (e.g. chapter from master thesis).

For full consideration, please submit your materials by Sunday, March 15, 2020. If you have further questions about the position, you are very welcome to contact Prof. Jean-David Gerber (jean-david.gerber@giub.unibe.ch) or Dr. Mathias Jehling (m.jehling@ioer.de).


Stellenausschreibung (PDF)

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