PhD Position in Designing financial risk hedging tools for climate change adaptation 

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The Environmental Intelligence Lab at Politecnico di Milano invites applications for one PhD position for a period of 3 (+1) years starting in 2023.

This position is funded under the EU Horizon 2020 project GoNEXUS in cooperation with the AXA and IOC-UNESCO programme on Coastal Livelihoods contributing to the UN Ocean Decade Actions for Coastal Resilience.

The PhD research will aim to develop novel financial risk-hedging tools, including index-based insurances and relief funds, to strengthen multi-sector resilience to climate change induced extreme events, mainly droughts and floods. In particular, the PhD research activity will focus on:

  • Designing optimal and robust index-based insurance schemes based on both the frequency and severity of insurance claims for hydro-meteorological risks (e.g. droughts for irrigated crops and hydropower production, compound floods for floodplain crops). Seasonal forecasts, satellite data, and climate projections will be used to support the hedging of farmers’ revenues in case of extreme events and to mitigate water risks in the energy sector. 
  • Testing alternative Machine Learning (ML) techniques to optimally design a multivariate insurance index (linked to drought and flood occurrence) to pay out farmers and energy companies, and estimate the probabilities of an extreme event happening at a target spatial resolution from forecasts and satellite data available in near real-time. New loss functions will be tested for the ML algorithms training to incorporate the characteristics of insurances, crops and food and energy prices in an interpretable and transparent way for all users.
  • Evaluating the value of the insurance schemes across multiple sectors using a multiobjective approach and exploring the sensitivity to user optional choices through behavioral models.

Qualifications for this position include an M.Sc. in Environmental Engineering or Economics or related fields. Profiles with a background in Artificial Intelligence, Applied Mathematics, Meteorology or Atmospheric/Climate Science will be also considered. Strong numerical and computational skills are required as well as English language skills both in oral and written communication. 

The candidate will be jointly supervised by Professor Andrea Castelletti (Politecnico di Milano) and Professor Gregory Charaklis (University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill), with co-supervision support by Dr Andrea Ficchì (AXA Research Fellow at Politecnico di Milano).

The position includes financial support for six months research visit at UNC. 

The application package must include CV, list of publications, and the name of two references. A motivation letter will be appreciated. 

Deadline for the package submission: 15th January 2023

For submitting the application and for any informal enquiries please contact Dr Andrea Ficchì (email:


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