The open position is part of the Mobiliar Lab for Natural Risks. The goal of the Mobiliar Lab is to study and to quantify the spatio-temporal characteristics of climate risks and natural hazards and their impacts upon the Swiss society. The focus is on applied research and practical applications. The Mobiliar Lab for Natural Risks ( is part of the Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of Bern.

We have an opening for a one year PostDoc position (starting as soon as possible or by agreement, possible prolongation).

The Post Doc will work together with other members of the Mobiliar Lab on a project focusing on infrastructure in Switzerland and possible impacts by water-related hazards. The contribution of the Post Doc will focus on analysing and modelling infrastructure networks and implications of interconnectedness and (functional, spatial) interdependencies for a better understanding of systemic vulnerability and risk.

We are looking for a highly motivated candidate who

  • holds PhD in mathematics, physics, computer science, geo-informatics / -statistics
  • has experience in modelling complex systems and/or infrastructure systems
  • has experience in the application of graph theory
  • has excellent skills in programming (Python, C++ and/or other relevant languages)
  • likes to work in a trans-disciplinary research environment and to develop creative strategies,
  • is interested in applied research,
  • is fluent in English.

Basic knowledge in Swiss geography and basic knowledge of German would be an asset. The close collaboration with the Swiss Mobiliar Insurance company offers the possibility to transfer the research results into practice.

The gross salary is fixed according to regulation of the University of Bern and Canton Bern. The appointment will be in the Mobiliar Lab for Natural Risk at University Bern, with an initial term of one year and the expectation that progress would merit reappointment for another half year or more.

Questions regarding the position can be directed to Margreth Keiler ( Please send your application (letter of motivation, CV including a publication list, names and addresses of two references, diploma and transcript) in ONE pdf file to Mirjam Mertin ( Review of applications will start by beginning of March, 2018 and will be continued until the position is filled. Interviews are planned in the week of March 19, 2018.

Applications from qualified women are warmly encouraged

Geographisches Institut

Unit Geomorphologie, Naturgefahren- und Risikoforschung


Aufgaben im Bereich der Lehre

  • Unterstützung bei der Ausarbeitung und Durchführung von Lehrveranstaltungen
  • Assistenz bei Prüfungen
  • Betreuung der Studierenden im Rahmen ihrer Bachelorarbeit

Organisatorische Arbeiten für die Forschungsgruppe

Mitwirken bei Forschungsprojekten


Masterabschluss in Geographie, Spezialisierung Geomorphologie
Pädagogische Ausbildung
Gutes Kommunikationsvermögen, gute aktive Kenntnisse in Englisch
Engagement im Team
Flexibilität und Selbstständigkeit

Wir bieten

Spannende und herausfordernde Aufgaben im Bereich Forschung und Lehre (siehe
Flexible Arbeitszeiten und selbstständiges Arbeiten
Anstellung gemäss dem Personalreglement des Kantons Bern (GK18) ab März 2018


Bitte senden Sie Ihre Bewerbungsunterlagen (Motivationsschreiben, Lebenslauf, Angabe von relevanten Kompetenzen, Zertifikate, Angaben zu zwei Referenzpersonen) als eine pdf-Datei wenn möglich bis 01. Februar 2018 an Prof. Margreth Keiler ( Bewerbungsgespräche finden ab 05. Februar 2018 statt bis die Stelle besetzt ist.

Thomas Tahler, Andreas Zischg, Margreth Keiler, Sven Fuchs

Abstract As financing protection against mountain hazards becomes increasingly challenging and therefore investments have to be prioritized, dilemmas of justice emerge: some local governments and individuals benefit from natural hazard protection schemes, whereas others loose. Decisions on whom to protect often caused contradicting concepts of political understanding, which differ in interpretations of fair resource allocation and distribution. This paper analyses the impact of different philosophical schools of social justice on mountain hazard management in Austria. We used data from a spatially explicit, object-based assessment of elements at risk and compared potential distributional effects of three political jurisdictions. We found that—depending on the respective political direction—various local governments gain and others loose within the actual distributional system of mitigation strategies. The implementation of a utilitarian policy approach would cause that high income communities in hazard-prone areas would mainly benefit. Consequently, this policy direction would encourage the public administration to ignore their own failure in the past natural hazards management and prevention. On the other hand, following a Rawlsians approach mainly peripheral communities would gain from new policy direction who often show besides natural hazards problem mainly large socio-economic challenges. Finally, the most radical change would include the implementation of a liberalism policy, whereabouts the state only provides hazard information, but no further mitigation measures. These findings highlight the distributional consequences of future mountain hazard management strategies and point to the crucial selection of policy direction in navigating the selection of various adaptation schemes.

Keywords Social justice . Political economy . Risk reduction . Distributional consequences . Mountain hazards

Research topics for a Master’s thesis with the Geomorphology, Natural Hazard and Risk Research group are assigned based on current research topics (please refer to the research page).  

You can find the proposed topics for Master's thesis in the PDF below. If you are interested in one of these topics, please contact the contact person marked in the PDF providing the following informations:

  • short letter of motivation about the chosen topic
  • short CV about your studies, formations and experiences
  • list with completed courses (year, university, institute) with relation to the topic

We will be pleased to answer further questions by email or in a personal meeting. 

Information on current and completed Master’s theses can be found in the link below.

If you wish to write your Master’s thesis in cooperation with other research institutes (e.g. WSL, SLF) or government agencies, please consult with Margreth Keiler in advance.

Ein See, der sich zum Glück nur selten füllt

In den Bergen ist oft ein hoher Anteil der Bevölkerung von Hochwasser bedroht. Die wirklich grossen Schadenpotenziale liegen aber im Mittelland – zum Beispiel in Winterthur. Von Lukas Denzler

The Article in German can be downloaded below: