Postdoc in Austria

15 NEW PhD POSITIONS: BOKU – University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, invites highly qualified applicants worldwide to apply for the PhD Program “Human River systems in the 21st century (HR21)”. The program offers 15 new PhD positions with full financial support, covering a range of interdisciplinary research fields related to environmental sciences and sustainability.


  • 📚 Application Guidelines:
    • Undergraduate degree equivalent to a master required.
    • Candidates finishing studies by end of May 2024 eligible.
    • Master degree in environmental sciences or related fields.
    • Fluency in spoken and written English required.
  • 🧪 Research Fields:
    • Topics ranging from hydrological extremes to urban metabolism’s impact.
    • 15 PhD projects available, each focusing on different aspects of human-river systems.
  • 📝 Application Process:
    • Choose up to 3 PhD projects.
    • Prepare a max 2-page motivation letter, 2 academic references, and academic CV.
    • Submit documents via email to recruiting(at)boku.ac.at, specifying the project number.
  • 📅 Deadline:
    • Application deadline: April 2nd, 2024.
    • Pre-screening by HR21 faculty.
    • Interviews scheduled for May 27th to May 29th, 2024.
  • 💼 Financial Support:
    • PhD students have regular employment with full social security coverage for 4 years.
    • Net annual income approx. €25,500.
    • Financial support for international conferences and research stays provided.

Designation: PhD Researchers

Research Area: Human River Systems in the 21st Century (HR21) – Environmental Sciences, Natural Resource Management, Environmental Studies, Environmental Engineering, Interdisciplinary Environmental or Sustainability Sciences.

Topic 1: Role of hydrological extremes (floods) for sediment transport and morphodynamics in the human-river system

Topic 2: Material resources demand and flows of hydraulic structures to prevent societal impact of extreme events (social ecology, environmental history)

Topic 3: Intermittent flow – hydrological effects and impacts on benthic communities, ecological state and functioning of riverine systems

Topic 4: Drought, low flow and warming – hydrological effects and impacts on the ecological state and functioning of river systems

Topic 5: Water transit time distributions as indicators for the vulnerability of riverine ecosystems under different pressures from social metabolism

Topic 6: Analyzing possible contributions of re-activated former watercourses towards a more sustainable transformation of industrialized riverine landscapes in urban areas

Topic 7: The role of the latest industrial revolutions on instream processes and ecological vulnerability of IRL

Topic 8: The effects of infrastructure development on ecological and ecosystem service network properties in river systems

Topic 9: The impact of urban settlements on organic matter and nutrient flows in industrialized riverine landscapes – What can we learn from the past?

Topic 10: Urban metabolism, a river’s ecohydrology and industrialization: Vienna and the Danube, 1800-2000

Topic 11: Impact of external organic matter sources on nutrient, sediment and water transport from cropland into streams

Topic 12: Impacts of bioenergy crops used as riparian buffer strips on stream ecosystems’ functioning

Topic 13: Sustainable hydropower & and the water-energy-food nexus in multi-stressed IRLs: Challenges and solutions for science & management

Topic 14: Integrated modelling of farmers’ climate change impact and adaptation appraisal to inform regional human river nexus management

Topic 15: Strategic planning approaches to territorial governance of industrialized riverine landscapes

Location: BOKU – University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria


  • Applicants must hold an undergraduate degree equivalent to a master, qualifying them to start a PhD thesis.
  • Candidates should finish their studies latest by the end of May 2024.
  • Applicants with only a bachelor degree or similar are not eligible.
  • PhD students must have a master degree in relevant subjects.
  • Fluency in both spoken and written English is required.

Job Description:
The HR21 program covers three research fields related to Human River Systems in the 21st Century. Applicants can choose from fifteen available PhD projects, and successful candidates will work on interdisciplinary topics in environmental sciences and sustainability. The program provides full financial support, including regular employment with full social security coverage for four years.

How to Apply:

  1. Choose up to three PhD projects from the available options.
  2. Prepare a letter of motivation (max. 2 pages), 2 academic references, and an academic CV.
  3. Send all required documents and enclosures by email to recruiting(at)boku.ac.at, clearly indicating the PhD topic number in the subject line.
  4. Enclosures include a copy of your certificates, coursework records, and passport in a single pdf file (≤10 MB).
  5. Ensure that documents in languages other than English or German are submitted as English translations.

Last Date for Apply: April 2nd, 2024

Selection Process:

  • Applications will be pre-screened by the HR21 faculty for formal requirements and completeness.
  • Short-listed candidates will be invited for interviews and information exchange in May 2024.
  • Interviews will be held in person or online, with no reimbursement for travel expenses.
  • Offers of admission will be made to successful candidates at the end of the interview period.

Financial Support:

  • PhD students admitted to HR21 Doctoral School will have regular employment with full social security coverage for 4 years.
  • Funding follows the salary scheme of the Austrian Science Fund (net annual income approx. € 25,500 after deduction of tax and social insurance).
  • Financial support is provided for conference participation and research stays abroad.



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