PhD position in Microbiology, Ecology, Bioinformatics: Germany

The Institute of Biodiversity at the Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institute, Federal Research Institute for Rural Areas, Forestry and Fisheries is offering a 3-year limited position starting 1 January 2018 for a Scientist with expertise in Microbiology, Ecology, Bioinformatics (index number: 17-207-BD-engl)

PhD details

  • Conduct research in the area of “biodiversity and ecosystem service assessment of diversified farming system”
  • The position is ideal to work on a PhD thesis
  • It is a part-time position with 19.5 hours per week
  • The position is designed to promote individual academic qualifications and in addition to official responsibilities, also opens up opportunities for further academic training
  • The individually achieved work results may be used for the purpose of obtaining a doctorate. If desired, the Ph.D can be submitted to the Technical University of Braunschweig
  • The 36-months term is fixed – employment complies with the terms of the contract for Public Service (TVöD); payment will be according to the German pay scale TVöD 13, which includes health and social insurances.

Research institute

  • The Thünen Institut is a German research institute under the auspices of the German Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL)
  • It develops scientific basics as decision-making helps for the policies of the German government
  • The Institute of Biodiversity studies life in agroecosystems, especially in regard to the utilization and protection of biodiversity. This includes plants, animals and microorganisms.
  • The research will be conducted in the Microbiology and Molecular Ecology group (head: Prof. Dr. Christoph Tebbe). The Institute is located on an agricultural research campus in Braunschweig, one of the main research centers in Germany.

Project details

The position is within the project “DiverIMPACTS ˗ Diversification through Rotation, Intercropping, Multiple Cropping, Promoted with Actors and value-Chains towards Sustainability“, funded by the European Community. The overall goal of DiverIMPACTS is to achieve the full potential of diversification of cropping systems for improved productivity, delivery of ecosystem services and resource-efficient and sustainable value chains. Field experiments and on-farm case studies will be used to analyze and evaluate effects of diversification strategies on the structural and functional diversity of soil inhabiting microorganisms, utilizing the new potentials of next-generation DNA sequencing and molecular ecology.

Job description

  • Development and application of a sampling strategy for soil samples from field experiments and agricultural case-studies based on an appropriate statistical design
  • Extraction of DNA and/or RNA from soil samples, purification and PCR amplification of rRNA genes and other genes for DNA sequencing and quantification utilizing real-time PCR
  • Analysis of DNA sequences for phylogenetic and further bioinformatic analyses, including statistical data evaluation and visualization of results
  • Generation of reports, presentations and manuscripts for publication of own results in international peer-reviewed journals; Presentations of project-related results at internal and external meetings

Your profile

  • University degree (M.Sc., Diploma) in microbiology, biotechnology, bioinformatics or related disciplines
  • Interest in agricultural and environmental topics
  • Knowledge in molecular ecology, next-generation DNA sequencing technologies and bioinformatic analyses is appreciated
  • Knowledge in general and applied ecology would be appreciated
  • Experienced in statistical data analyses, in particular with R
  • Ability to work independently and strong capacity for interdisciplinary teamwork
  • Candidates should be fluent in English (written and spoken)
  • Candidates should be willing to travel within Europe and spend time (days to weeks) for sampling and sample preparation and cooperation at locations in Europe
  • German language skills are advantageous but not required

We offer the possibility to work in an active and stimulating scientific environment on questions of high relevance at the intersection between basic and applied life science and agriculture. The EU project promotes the collaboration and interaction with experts from national and international research organizations. The Thünen Institute offers a family-friendly environment, flexible working hours and the possibility for further training and qualification.

The Thünen Institute supports gender equality. Qualified female applicants are encouraged to apply.

Individuals with disabilities will be accorded particular consideration, subject to comparable qualifications; they will be expected to show only a minimum degree of physical aptitude.

Please contact Prof. Dr. Christoph Tebbe (telephone: +49 531 596 253) for enquiries about the position.

Applicants should submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae, and copies of relevant certificates. Electronic submission is preferred. E-mail all application material must be compiled in one single pdf-document (subject 17-207-BD) and submitted no later than 2 October 2017 to

Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut
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