PhD in Soil Microbial Ecology of Global Peatlands: Estonia

A PhD position to investigate the soil microbial communities, with emphasis on carbon and nitrogen cycles, in global peatlands is available in the Institute of Ecology and Earth Sciences, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia. The PhD student will be supervised by Dr. Mikk Espenberg and Prof. Ülo Mander.

Project description

Peatlands account for ca 3% of the terrestrial surface of the global land surface, but they store one-third of the world’s soil carbon and one-tenth of the world’s soil nitrogen. Agricultural pressure on peatlands, mainly tropical areas, has been increased a lot in the last decades; and that means sustainable management of those areas is one of the critical aspects in the near future. Quantity and distribution of carbon and nitrogen in soils are controlled through microbial processes, and deciphering the biogeography of peatland soil microbial communities as a whole would help to decide “green” and feasible care of the global peatlands.

Key responsibilities

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

Qualification requirements

  • M.Sc. degree in Bioinformatics, Microbiology, Environmental Sciences, Ecology, Molecular Biology or related fields
  • Strong interest in microbial ecology, soil microbiology and/or climate change
  • Willingness to learn programming with R and/or Python
  • Knowledge of statistical approaches used in microbial ecology
  • Fluency in English. Research community is fully international, working language is English.
  • Experience with molecular biology and microbiology laboratory techniques
  • Experience with bioinformatics, biostatistics or field work is an advantage

What we offer

  • Full-time PhD students receive a doctoral allowance of 660 euros per month plus an additional performance stipend of 400 euros per month, regardless of their citizenship. Both are tax-free payments and there is no separate application for receiving them, it is taken care of automatically. Note that cost of living in Estonia is considerably lower compared to Western Europe.
  • All PhD students who receive a doctoral allowance get Estonian national health insurance. Doctoral allowance can be paid as soon as the student has obtained temporary residence permit (non-EU students) or temporary right of residence (EU students). Health insurance coverage is available for the full standard period of PhD studies (four years).
  • Flexible working hours
  • Support of career development and mentoring

Appointment and application

The position starts summer-fall 2021. To apply for the position, following documents are needed: motivation letter (1-2 page), master thesis and detailed CV including education, previous employments, list of publications and contact details. These documents must be sent to Dr. Mikk Espenberg, . The deadline for application is May 12, 2021. Informal inquiries are welcome.

About the University of Tartu

The University of Tartu is known for its high reputation of the quality of studies and research. Students choose our university, because they can count on the excellent reputation of the diploma they receive upon graduation. The University of Tartu belongs to the top 1.2% of world’s best universities (THE World University Rankings 2020, QS World University Rankings 2020) and is the fourth university in the Eastern region (QS EECA 2020). It is the highest ranked university in the Baltics. More information about University of Tartu is available here

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