Helmholtz School for Marine Data Science


Going deep with Data Science to understand the largest habitat on our planet better – and to help protecting it


The Helmholtz School for Marine Data Science (MarDATA) pools scientific marine expertise in the far north and offers young scientists the unique opportunity to refine Data Science methods specifically for the marine research.



MarDATA has the goal of defining a new type of "Marine Data Scientists" and training them in a structured doctoral program. Scientists from computer science, information technology and mathematics work together on marine topics. This includes modeling on supercomputers, (bio-) computer science and robotics or statistics and big data methods.

„For a long time now, countless measuring instruments have been in daily use on all oceans, permanently generating data on water temperatures, salinity, nutrient concentrations and much more. Our task at MarDATA is to process these data in a useful way.“

Maria-Theresia Verwega

Maria-Theresia Verwega is researching at MarDATA. In her doctoral thesis she wants to improve predictions for earth system models.

Research areas

The doctoral students conduct research in computer science, computer science or mathematics, each in connection with current issues in marine research.

Selection of current doctoral projects

Partners of MarDATA: GEOMAR Kiel, Alfred Wegener Institute Bremerhaven, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, University of Bremen, Jacobs University Bremen



  • Supervision by a tandem of an expert at GEOMAR or AWI with focus on marine research and a supervisor at a partner university, who is in charge of the information and Data Science methods
  • Obligatory course for a general introduction to marine science
  • Compulsory block courses on methods of Information and Data Sciences: advanced scientific programming, statistics, databases, machine learning, in-depth learning, computer vision and FAIR principles (4 x 3 days)
  • Further joint seminars and colloquia over the entire period
  • Two one-week summer schools at international locations (e.g. at a research station of GEOMAR or AWI or on board of a research vessel)
  • Enrolment in the postgraduate programs ISOS (Kiel) and POLMAR (Bremerhaven) with use of the courses offered there for scientific further education, personal competence training and comprehensive support measures with regard to networking and career development



Funding and duration of the program

The program extends over three years and offers full funding. The remuneration during the term corresponds to the tariff level E13 of the TVöD.


Application and further information

A total of 40 doctoral positions are available, which are advertised and organized in two cohorts (20 at GEOMAR and 20 at AWI). MarDATA locations are Kiel and Bremen/Bremerhaven. The program language is English. The first cohort started in 2019 with 16 PhD students. A second round of applications will take place in 2021/2022.



Are you interested in advancing artificial intelligence and data science for a better exploration of the ocean?

For further information please contact the coordinator Dr. Enno Prigge.



The following Helmholtz centers and partner universities are involved in MarDATA: GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), University of Kiel, University of Bremen and Jacobs University Bremen.