PhD position, paleoecology/paleoclimatology - Bern, Switzerland

In the frame of the ERC-synergy project EXPLO (Exploring the dynamics and causes of prehistoric land use change in the cradle of European farming), a PhD student position is available at the Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research and the Institute of Plant Sciences, University of Bern, Switzerland.


Start of position is 1 July 2019. Salary follows the Swiss standard for doctoral students. Duration is three years with possibility of extension for one year.


The PhD student will study the long-term interactions between climate, vegetation, fire, environment and land use in Greece and the Southern Balkans.

Cereal-based farming developed more than 10,000 years ago in the Near East under warm, dry, and open conditions. In this project we will explore the processes and mechanisms that more than 8000 years ago allowed the introduction of agriculture to the rather moist, cool, dark and forested environments of Europe.

The ERC-synergy project is in collaboration with Archaeology (Universities of Bern and Thessaloniki) and Bioarchaeology (University of Oxford).


The goal of the doctoral student position is to reconstruct the environmental conditions during the introduction of agriculture in the Southern Balkan with high resolution and precision.

Ecological and environmental reconstructions will require the use of Quaternary methods (sediment analyses, palynology, macrofossil, charcoal, diatom and/or chironomid analyses).


Past and present environments will be simulated with dynamic landscape models (e.g. LANDCLIM), thus knowledge in dynamic modelling or GIS analyses is of advantage.

The position requires a Master of Science in Natural Sciences, preferably in Ecology, Geography, Climate Sciences, Earth Sciences or Quaternary Sciences. Good knowledge in vegetation ecology, limnology, biostratigraphy and/or sedimentology is desired.

The position involves labor-intensive microscopic analyses (e.g. of pollen, macrofossils, diatoms, chironomids) and two-three months of field work in sub-mediterranean environments (core and data collection).

Knowledge of Greek language is of advantage.


Please send your electronic application including motivation letter (max. 1 page), CV, academic transcripts, MSc diploma and contact address or reference letter of your MSc thesis supervisor as one pdf file to Prof. Willy Tinner: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Applications will remain open until the position is filled.