Postdoctoral researcher in Terrestrial Systems Modelling (M/F)

Reference : ERIN-2020-004

Type: Researcher
Contract type: Fixed term contract
Duration: 30 months
Place: Belvaux



As part of a Research and Technology Organization (RTO), the work of the Environmental Research and Innovation (ERIN) Department tackles some of the major environmental challenges our society is facing today, such as climate change mitigation, ecosystem resilience, sustainable energy systems, the efficient use of renewable resources, and environmental pollution prevention and control. To this end, the mission of the ERIN department is:

(1) To conduct impact-driven scientific research and development, as well as technological innovation
(2) To support companies in the implementation of new environmental regulations and advise governments on determining sustainable policies for the future with the objectives of:

  • Analysing, managing and exploiting sustainable resources (water, air, soil, renewable energy, bioresources)
  • Reducing the environmental impact of human consumption and production activities




The postdoctoral researcher will be involved in the framework of the CAPACITY (ClimAte and Plant hydrAulics Controls on drought predIction uncertainty in a new-generation Terrestrial sYstem model) project funded by the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR). The project will tackle the challenges of investigating the controls of plant hydraulic traits on the drought predictive uncertainties across different ecosystems, regions, and the entire European continent under past and future climatic conditions. The CAPACITY project will make joint use of the most recent version of the Community Land Model (CLM5.0) and multi-source observations, exploit globally assembled and continuously updated databases of plant traits, and extract past and future climate signals from multi-model ensemble atmospheric simulations. The researcher will be incorporated in the Agro-Environmental Systems group of the Environmental Sensing and Modelling (ENVISION) RDI unit and will collaborate with scientists in other groups on topics related to remote sensing and plant ecophysiology.

Main missions

The postdoctoral researcher will play a central role in the project and its outputs. Her/his main mission is to perform regional- and continental-scale CLM5.0 simulations over Europe for seasonal and decadal time periods. In addition, the candidate will be asked to exploit information from a wide range of in-situ (e.g., FLUXNET and SAPFLUXNET) and remotely sensed (e.g., ESA-CCI soil moisture, MODIS Land Surface Temperature, and Sun-Induced Chlorophyll Fluorescence) datasets to establish complementarity between the land surface modelling and remote sensing.   

Scientific work tasks

  • Define plant hydraulic traits configurations for CLM5.0 continental-scale simulations
  • Perform continental-scale evaluation of CLM5.0 response for past European drought events
  • Quantify climate sensitivity of CLM5.0 using different plant hydraulic mapping
  • Test seasonal drought predictive skills of CLM5.0

Project management tasks

  • Assist in the preparation of project reports and presentations to the Scientific Advisory Board
  • Participate actively in the maintenance of a project-dedicated version-control system (e.g., GitLab)
  • Explore and employ cutting edge software packages facilitating open science  

Dissemination, valorisation and transfer tasks

  • Contribute to dissemination, valorisation and transfer of project results (e.g., participation in scientific conferences, training sessions, and publications in reputed peer-reviewed scientific journals)





  • PhD degree in Earth Science, Ecosystem Modelling, Hydrology, Meteorology or Climate Sciences or a related discipline

Required seniority

  • PhD is necessary, one or two years of postdoctoral experience is an advantage


  • Demonstrated technical skills with different programming languages (e.g., Fortran, Python, R, Matlab) and shell scripting
  • Experience with Linux-based systems, high performance computing and handling of large datasets is of clear advantage
  • Knowledge of and experience with the Community Land Model (CLM5.0) would be considered as a strong asset


  • Fluent in English (written and oral)
  • Knowledge in at least one of the official languages of Luxembourg (French, German or Luxembourgish) is an asset


Candidates interested in the above position can apply online on our website
The application file should include:

  • A CV
  • A motivation letter
  • The names of three referees
  • A list of publications, invited talks, PhD co-supervisions


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 Mauro SULIS