Researcher (Postdoc) on climate risk financing (fulltime)

Updated: about 2 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 04 Jun 2022

Job description

Timely geospatial information is of critical importance to assess the location, frequency, and impact of weather-related disasters. Climate risk financing mechanisms require such information, often extracted from earth observation data, to develop and price financial products. One such mechanism is parametric insurance, whereby payouts are triggered by the occurrence of a pre-specified event. For example, farmers can be reimbursed for crop or livestock losses based on drought-induced reductions in vegetation vigor, as estimated from satellite data. The Faculty ITC has contributed to the design of various drought index insurance projects across Africa, and has ample experience in using earth observation for assessing a variety of weather impacts. Another example is forecast-based financing for anticipatory action in humanitarian contexts, including through the Anticipation Hub to which ITC contributes.

This position is intended to better streamline ITC’s contribution to the growing international agenda on climate risk financing, while offering you the possibility to define a clear personal research program. You are expected to strategically position yourself amidst international networks and initiatives, such as the “Disaster Risk Financing & Insurance Program” and “Global Risk Financing Facility” of the World Bank, the “Africa Disaster Risk Financing Programme (ADRiFi)” of the African Development Bank, the “Anticipation Hub”, the “Centre for Disaster Protection (CDP)”, “InsuResilience”, and the technical support provided by the European Space Agency in the “Crisis Risk Finance Analytics” programme. Close collaboration with colleagues affiliated with ITC’s newly established Centre for Disaster Research (CDR) is encouraged to optimize the utilization of ITC’s expertise within these international initiatives. ITC, as an internationally established institution in geospatial analysis, recognizes the strategic importance of establishing interdisciplinary teams for making societal impact. We are therefore seeking a pro-active and enthusiastic colleague to broaden our expertise and complement our strengths, in order to contribute to effective solutions for climate resilience of vulnerable populations.

You will:

  • establish a research line on climate risk financing with a focus on 1) disaster risk management in food and agriculture, and 2) the effective and innovative use of geospatial data in financing solutions;
  • develop and maintain a strong presence in disaster risk financing fora and networks;
  • identify relevant research and capacity building opportunities related to the use of earth observation in climate risk financing programs;
  • based on identified opportunities, pursue and attract funding that builds on ITC’s geo-spatial expertise;
  • contribute to the definition and development of geospatial workflows, data, and services related to parametric financing solutions that may be published in a geo-portal;
  • publish results in scientific journals;
  • develop material for a case study around the design of climate risk financing options, which could be brought into challenge-based components of ITC’s M.Sc. programs;
  • design and coordinate, in collaboration with relevant ITC staff of different departments, a short course for online and in-house audiences on the use of geospatial data in climate risk financing.

Your profile

You have:

  • a PhD in the field of development/financial economics, geospatial sciences, meteorology, agronomy, climate or environmental sciences, and/or data science;
  • working experience on climate risk financing, including product design and/or risk modelling, preferably related to disaster risk management in food and agriculture in the developing world with one or more international organizations;
  • a good overview of current earth observation systems and derived products with preferably experience in their processing and application;
  • proven ability and enthusiasm to work in a range of international and interdisciplinary contexts;
  • demonstrated scientific creativity that has resulted in recent and relevant high-quality scientific publications in international journals;
  • experience in managing projects and writing project proposals;
  • competence in open-source programming languages, such as R or Python, is an advantage;
  • excellent communication skills;
  • a willingness to travel to low and middle income countries;
  • an interest in education and in contributing to the capacity development mission of ITC.

Our offer

We offer an inspiring and challenging international environment. You will be initially employed for two years. Prolongation of the contract after this period is a possibility.

  • Gross monthly salary between € 3,821.00 and € 5,230.00 (depending on experience and qualifications, job profile Researcher level 3).
  • A holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and a year-end bonus of 8.3%
  • Excellent support for research and facilities for professional and personal development.
  • A solid pension scheme
  • A total of 41 holiday days in case of fulltime employment
  • Professional and personal improvement programmes

Information and application

Additional information about this position can be obtained from Dr. Anton Vrieling (e-mail: ) You are also invited to visit our homepage.

Please submit your application before 5 June 2022 (choose “apply now” below). Your application should include:

  • a motivation letter, motivating your application, your research interests, and describing your specific contribution to the ITC expertise portfolio;
  • a CV with references.

About the department

The Centre for Disaster Resilience (CDR) is a new initiative that combines the expertise from multiple departments within Faculty ITC on disaster resilience and their underlying hazards and risks. It was opened on 28 October 2021 to consolidate and strengthen ITC’s research, and to build and strengthen partnerships in relation to disaster resilience. Through research, education, and cooperation activities, CDR wants to contribute to sustainable development by significantly reducing disaster risk of vulnerable populations. This will be achieved among others through the sharing of open software tools and spatial/temporal information through a geo-portal.

The current position will be hosted by the Department of Natural Resources (NRS). NRS aims to enable society to effectively develop and use geo-information and Earth observation knowledge and technologies for agricultural and environmental sustainability. These information sources and methods are used in novel ways to understand and characterise the processes that affect the availability, stability, quality and sustainability of natural resources. The outputs contribute to better monitoring and managing of natural resources which in turn enables their sustainable use, development and restoration under global change.

About the organization

The Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC) provides international postgraduate education, research and project services in the field of geo-information science and earth observation. Our mission is capacity development, where we apply, share and facilitate the effective use of geo-information and earth observation knowledge and tools for tackling global wicked problems. Our purpose is to enable our many partners around the world to track and trace the impact – and the shifting causes and frontiers – of today’s global challenges. Our vision is of a world in which researchers, educators, and students collaborate across disciplinary and geographic divides with governmental and non-governmental organisations, institutes, businesses, and local populations to surmount today’s complex global challenges and to contribute to sustainable, fair, and digital societies.

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