Modelling honeybees and vitality indicators (Postdoctoral Researcher)

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The Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research GmbH – UFZ Leipzig, Department of Ecological Modelling invites – conditional upon funding by the BLE (Federal Office for Agriculture and Food) – applications for a scientist position (m/f/x) within the project VIBee (Vitality Indicators for honeybees). The aim of VIBee is to develop new indicators of the vitality of honeybee colonies which inform about how much they are affected by stressors in their environment and how well they will be able to cope with additional stress. The project will use data from a new electronic counter of the flight activity of a colony with data from drone-based surveys of flowering plants in the surrounding landscape to inform the honeybee model BEEHAVE. BEEHAVE will then be used to develop stress tests for identifying new indicators. Project partners include the Julius Kühn-Institute Braunschweig, beekeeping institutes and consulting firms dealing with ecological risk assessment of pesticides.

We offer a unique scientific environment within the Department of Ecological Modelling, which is one of the largest and most experienced modelling departments worldwide and which is well connected within national and international networks ( We offer the chance to bridge research on basic questions (vitality of honeybee colonies, resilience theory) to application (monitoring programs, beekeeper education, pesticide regulations).

Anticipated starting date: April 1, 2020.
Working time: 100% (39 hours per week), in subject to the budget confirmation limited to 36 months

Your tasks:

  • Update the honeybee model BEEHAVE ( based on existing new data and tests.
  • Represent the four study sites of VIBee, including their landscape data and the experiments performed, in BEEHAVE.
  • Develop BEEHAVE to include the new data on flight activities, validate the model, and suggest new experiments.
  • Contribute to the development and test of vitality indicators.
  • Produce an educational version of BEEHAVE which can be used for beekeeper education.
  • Communicate of the obtained results at conferences and in high impact peer-reviewed journals.

Your profile:

  • PhD in biology, physics, computer science, mathematics or any other discipline that includes quantitative methods for systems analysis.
  • Highly motivated and independent scientist with interest in both basic and applied research.
  • Experience in ecological or agent-based modelling and in programming.
  • Ideally experience with: evaluating complex simulation models, the software platform/programming language NetLogo, handling geodata, collaboration within a heterogeneous team of researchers, collaboration with resource managers.
  • Excellent language skills in English, preferably also in German.

We offer:

  • Excellent technical facilities which are without parallel
  • The freedom you need to bridge the difficult gap between basic research and close to being ready for application
  • Work in inter-disciplinary, multinational teams and excellent links with national and international research networks
  • A vibrant region with a high quality of life and a wide cultural offering for a balance between family and professional life
  • Interesting career opportunities and an extensive range of training and further education courses
  • Remuneration up to the  TVöD public-sector pay grade 13 including attractive public-sector social security benefits

Futher information:

Application: Via „APPLY HERE!“ on

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