PhD in Microbial Ecology: Prague

Fully-funded PhD position to investigate the response of soil microbial communities to climate change in Arctic tundra is available in the Institute of Microbiology, Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague, Czechia. The position is funded by a prestigious 5-year project (JUNIOR STAR) from the Czech Science Foundation. PhD student will be member of a junior group of Jana Voriskova within the Laboratory of Environmental Microbiology headed by Petr Baldrian.

Project description
Climate models predict substantial changes in temperature and precipitation patterns across the Arctic regions in future decades. Microbes are known to play key roles in determining the stability of soil carbon and its possible release into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide and methane. Carbon-rich Arctic soil ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to carbon losses due to warming and subsequent ecosystem disturbances as wildfires. On the other hand, the release of C from soil to the atmosphere could be mitigated due to increased plant growth. The project aims to comprehensively explore the response of soil microbes to the conditions caused by future climate change (increased winter precipitation, summer warming and wildfires); and to identify microbial processes affecting shrub expansion in Greenland. Project is based on close collaboration with the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

Key responsibilities

  • Perform laboratory analysis of soil samples using molecular biology and microbiology approaches
  • Perform basic bioinformatic and statistical analysis of microbiome data
  • Publish in scientific research papers
  • Present at conferences and meetings
  • Write a thesis

Qualification requirements

  • MSc in Biology, Microbiology, Ecology, Environmental Sciences, Molecular Biology or related fields
  • Experience with molecular biology and microbiology laboratory techniques
  • Strong interest in microbial ecology, soil microbiology, climate change or Arctic ecosystems
  • Fluency in English
  • Experience with field work, bioinformatics or biostatistics is an advantage

What we offer

  • Remuneration consists of university non-taxable stipend starting at 10,500 CZK/month, (ca. 400 EUR) and gross salary 18,000 CZK/month (ca. 700 EUR), note that cost of living in Czechia is considerably lower compared to Western Europe
  • Fully covered health insurance and contribution to social security system (sickness insurance, paid parental leave, sick leave for family care and pension contribution)
  • 30 days of paid vacation per year, meal vouchers, vouchers for leisure time activities
  • Flexible working hours, family-friendly work place, good work-life balance
  • Resources for travel to conferences and workshops abroad
  • Support of career development and mentoring
  • Administration support with relocation to Czechia
  • Language courses
  • On campus dining services, child-care center, temporary housing and sport facilities (indoor gym, squash court, outdoor sport court)

This is a temporary position, initially with 1-year contract with possibility of extension up to 4 years in total, given the satisfactory performance within the first year. The position starts summer-fall 2021. Successful applicant is expected to enroll into Ph.D. program of Faculty of Sciences, Charles University in Prague by April 30, 2021.

To apply for the position, send a motivation letter (1-2 page), master thesis and detailed CV including education, previous employments, list of publications and contact details for one reference to Jana Voriskova,, email subject: PhD microbial ecology. The deadline for application is March 31, 2021. Informal inquiries are welcome.

About the Institute of Microbiology, Czech Academy of Sciences
Czech Academy of Sciences is the leading non-university public research institution in Czechia. Institute of Microbiology with more than five hundred employees and two hundred students represents a key national institution conduction research in different fields of microbiology. The research infrastructure of the institute includes sequencing facilities and bioinformatics core facility equipped with several large computing clusters on site. The institute is located in spacious green campus in the outskirt of Prague, 30 min from the city center by public transportation. Research community in the campus is fully international, working language is English.

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