Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, Göttingen

Complex Systems Neurosciences Structural and Cell Biology


Type of Job

Young Researchers

PhD positions (m/f/d) - Physics, Complex Systems & Neural Networks

Job offer from April 21, 2020

For the independent Max Planck Research Group of Dr. Viola Priesemann we seek to fill PhD positions (m/f/d) in Physics, Complex Systems & Neural Networks.

The Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization at Göttingen, Germany, is an international research institute. It provides an interdisciplinary, collaborative environment performing both experimental and theoretical fundamental scientific research and currently employs about 300 people.

The research

We are looking for Doctoral Students to join our team. We are investigating the spread of COVID-19 and address three central questions: How did past governmental measures impact the infection rate R? How will the case numbers develop under specific scenarios? What is the impact of specific social distancing measures on R? We have already developed an SIR model and use Bayesian inference to assess the central epidemiological parameters [1,2]. Our results are central in advising decision makers in politics and health care. We are a highly active and hard-working team, and work in close contact with clinicians, epidemiologists, and politicians. At the moment, we are all working from home – but on the long run we hope you can join us at the MPI in Göttingen. Women, like everyone else, are warmly encouraged to apply. Please check our github page and our prior work [1-3]. Applications are accepted any time, until the positions are filled; starting date is as soon as possible.

Your profile

  • Master’s degree, Bachelor (Honours) or comparable in in the quantitative sciences, e.g. physics, mathematics, statistics, epidemiology, computer science or theoretical biology. Background in Physics, Complex Systems & Neural Networks.
  • Fluency in English and programming experiences.
  • Desire to immerse in interdisciplinary research.
  • We are looking for excellent, highly motivated early-career researchers to join our research team.

Our offer

The PhD position is limited to three years. The salary and working hours are in accordance with the funding guidelines of the Max Planck Society for junior scientists. The salary is 2/3 of E13 TVöD-Bund. Furthermore, we offer opportunities regarding work life balance as well as health promotion services. In close collaboration with the Georg August University, a structured PhD program is offered in the graduate program of the Physics Department, or in the graduate program on Physics of Biological and Complex Systems.

The Max Planck Society is committed to increasing the number of individuals with disabilities in its workforce and therefore encourages applications from such qualified individuals. Furthermore, the Max Planck Society seeks to increase the number of women in those areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply.

Your application

Please apply online with the reference no MPIDS-W046 and submit a CV, a motivation letter (requirements below), a transcript of records (university and high school), a list of publications and contacts of up to three referees.

Written applications will not be sent back.


[1]  (under review)

[2] (our code - and announcements of regular online meetings)

[3] Three central past publications of our team:

Wilting & Priesemann, Nature Communications (2018)
Zierenberg, Wilting & Priesemann, Physical Review X (2018)
Cramer et al., Nature Communications, in press

Please consider these questions in your motivation letter:

  • Did you already do some modelling on COVID-19? If yes, please describe briefly.
  • What research projects/questions about COVID-19 spread do you have in mind?
  • What programming languages do you speak? How fluent are you in them?
  • Link to your scientific web page or google.scholar profile, if available.
  • Briefly describe your background in statistics (if any).
  • Briefly describe your background in dynamical systems (if any).
  • Briefly describe your background in scientific modelling (if any).
  • Briefly describe your background in science communication (if any).

Please contact

Dr. Viola Priesemann  should you have further questions.

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