The mission of the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF) as a nationally and internationally active research institute is to deliver solutions for an ecologically, economically and socially sustainable agriculture – together with society. ZALF is a member of the Leibniz Association and is located in Müncheberg (approx. 35 minutes by regional train from Berlin-Lichtenberg). It also maintains a research station with further locations in Dedelow and Paulinenaue.

A significant portion of Germany's Greenhouse Gas Emissions (approximately 6%) stems from drained peatlands, primarily utilized as agricultural land. Rewetting these areas would substantially reduce emissions. Developing compelling land-use strategies for re-wetted peatlands is therefore pivotal in mitigating climate change. In the long term, the cultivation of re-wetted areas—referred to as paludiculture—is anticipated to be supported by value chains for innovative products. These products may include insulation material or packaging made from paludiculture biomass. However, these emerging business models are in their early stages, necessitating policy instruments during the transitional phase to provide adequate incentives for farmers to re-wet agricultural areas and foster the adoption of new farming practices.

We are currently looking for a PhD researcher to join our team, focusing on completing a dissertation within the research project 'WetNetBB'. The specific emphasis of the dissertation is on designing and evaluating policy interventions to facilitate the rewetting of peatlands. The research will utilize behavioral economic theory and quantitative methods to gain insights into farmers' behavior concerning paludiculture adoption and to evaluate tailored policy interventions aimed at supporting peatland rewetting. Depending on the specifics of the PhD thesis, discrete choice experiments, economic experiments, or survey experiments will be implemented with farmers in Germany.

The position is based within the working group ‘governance of ecosystem services’ that focusses on the analysis of market- and community-based instruments to better incentivize the provision of ecosystem services as public goods for specific beneficiaries and society at large. Through our inter- and transdisciplinary research projects, we mainly conduct empirical research within case studies spanning Europe, Asia, and the Americas.

We offer a part-time position (65% full-time equivalent) for three years (from 01.10.2024 until 30.09.2027).

PhD researcher (f/m/d) specializing in policy instrument design for Climate Change mitigation in agriculture

Your responsibilities will include:

  • development of your own research design to analyze the behavioral factors that hinder and facilitate farmers' adoption of paludiculture and their willingness to rewet peatlands
  • testing the effectiveness of tailored policy interventions aimed at supporting paludiculture adoption and rewetting.
  • collecting empirical data through surveys with farmers
  • conducting literature reviews and analysis to inform your research
  • analyzing quantitative data using R
  • preparing results for communication to stakeholders, such as project workshops, as well as the scientific community, including presentations at national and international conferences and journal publications

Your qualifications:

  • outstanding MSc degree in environmental or agricultural economics or related fields
  • familiarity of experimental and behavioral economics, as well as environmental/ ecological economics, is advantageous
  • knowledge of the EU common agricultural policy is advantageous
  • strong organizational skills and the ability to work independently are essential
  • interest in working in an interdisciplinary group and project team
  • scientific curiosity and high interest in writing a doctoral thesis
  • as an internationally research institution, located in Germany we require good to very good written and spoken English skills and the willingness to take part in further training as part of the language courses in German offered internally

What we offer:

  • interdisciplinary and international environment that encourages independence
  • collaborative and inclusive atmosphere within a vibrant research institution
  • project budget for data collection and travel expenses
  • links to national and international research networks (e.g., REECAP network, network in socio-economics of climate-friendly peatland use)
  • access to training courses for PhD students (e.g. in-house training, Doctoral Certificate Program in Agricultural Economics, budget for additional training)
  • salary in accordance with the guidelines for public employees according to the German TV-L, up to level E13, including special annual payment
  • possibility to work 40% of the monthly working hours in mobile work
  • support in reconciling work and family life
  • employer subsidized public transportation ticket
  • in-house language courses in German and English

Women are particularly encouraged to apply. Applications from severely disabled persons with equal qualifications are favored. The filling of the position in part-time is possible in principle. Please send your application preferably online (see button online application below). For e-mail applications, create a PDF document (one PDF file, max. 5 MB; packed PDF documents, archive files like zip, rar etc. Word documents cannot be processed and therefore cannot be considered!) with the usual documents, in particular CV, proof of qualification and certificates, stating the reference number 57-2024 until July 28, 2024 to (see button e-mail application below).

Please note that invitations for job interviews will be sent out on August 1, 2024.  Job interviews are tentatively scheduled between August 26 - 31, 2024.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us: Dr. Tobias Vorlaufer (

For cost reasons, application documents or extensive publications can only be returned if an adequately stamped envelope is attached.

If you apply, we collect and process your personal data in accordance with Articles 5 and 6 of the EU GDPR only for the processing of your application and for purposes that result from possible future employment with the ZALF. Your data will be deleted after six months.

E-mail application Online application