PhD Position in MarDATA-1 in Computer Science and Marine Data Science in the project “Attribution of Climate Events – Exploring Methods of Explainable AI” – Deadline 04 July 2021

GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel is a foundation of public law jointly financed by the Federal Republic of Germany (90 %) and the state of Schleswig-Holstein (10 %) and is one of the internationally leading institutions in the field of marine sciences. Currently GEOMAR disposes over an annual budget of approx. 80 million Euro and has approx. 1000 employees.

Project Description

Interpretable machine learning and eXplainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI) explore methods that build more transparent predictive models. This is especially important in the scientific domain of Ocean Dynamics where the identification of causally linked modes of climate variability is key to understanding the climate system, and to improving the predictive skill of forecast systems. For these tasks, usually deep models such as Artificial Neural Networks (ANN) are applied. The successful candidate will seek to improve the interpretability of (deep) machine learning models such as ANNs in the context of climate event prediction by defining generic design patterns for the network topology and training process that leverage interpretability, and by developing visualizations of the input representations, e.g. through Network Dissection.

This is a joint research project of GEOMAR and the Department of Computer Science at Kiel University. The PhD student will work at the interface between Computer Science, Data Science and Climate Science, but have a research focus on the Computer Science aspects. Supervision will be jointly provided by Prof. Dr. Peer Kröger (CAU Kiel and Munich Center for Machine Learning) and Prof. Dr. Martin Claus (GEOMAR).



  • University degree (MSc., Diploma or equivalent) in Applied Mathematics/ Statistics, Computer Science, Data Science or related at the time of employment
  • Proficiency in English

If the required degree is not completed at the time of application, the degree certificate must be handed in before the above start date of the contract and the application must contain plausible evidence that the degree can be finished before that date.


  • Practical experience in working with ANNs
  • Knowledge in explainable AI methods
  • Experience with data analysis and visualization
  • Good communication skills
  • Willingness to work in an interdisciplinary team
  • Scientific writing skills

The position is available for a funding period of 36 months. The salary depends on qualification and could be up to the class 13 TVöD-Bund of the German tariff for public employees. This is a full-time position. The position cannot be split. The fixed-term contract shall comply with Section 2 Paragraph 1 of The Act of Academic Fixed-Term Contract (German WissZeitVG).

GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel seeks to increase the proportion of female scientists and explicitly encourages qualified female academics to apply.

GEOMAR is an equal opportunity employer and encourages scientists with disabilities to apply. Qualified disabled applicants will receive preference in the application process.

Please send your application for this post via email in a single pdf-file mentioning the keyword MarData – Attribution of Climate Events” in the subject line. Please send your application not later than July 4th, 2021 to: bewerbung(at)


For further information regarding the position and research unit please contact Prof. Dr. Martin Claus (mclaus(at)

More details about the position here.

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