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Advertising division: IBG-3 - Agrosphere
Reference number: 2018-133


The Institute of Bio- and Geosciences – Agrosphere (IBG-3) conducts research to improve our understanding of biogeochemical and hydrological processes in terrestrial systems. Specific studies focus on environmental controls on biogeochemical cycling of elements, the analysis of exchange processes and nutrient dynamics in the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum. A combination of experiments, modelling and innovative observation technologies is used to bridge the gap between model, process and management scale. Its research contributes to the sustainable and resource-conserving use of soils and water and to the quantification of the effect of climate and land use change on terrestrial ecosystems. We offer a competent and interdisciplinary working environment, as well as an excellent framework in the areas of experiments and modelling.

Global climate change projections predict increased drought spells as well as an increase in rainfall variability for large parts of Europe. Such increases in extended drought periods are known to be major drivers controlling terrestrial plant ecology and physiology and, thus, ecosystem carbon and water cycling. In this regard, understanding the climate change driven soil-vegetation feedbacks is of major importance and a key question within the rapidly advancing field of Ecohydrology.

We are offering a

PhD position for assessing dynamics in eco-hydrological processes during drought stress across scales in a grassland community by stable isotopes

Your Job:

  • studying the grassland responses to extended drought periods and the shift of competition between grassland species with novel research tools under controlled conditions in the laboratory
  • non-destructive monitoring of soil and plant water stable isotopic compositions (2H and 18O) and the three-dimensional mapping of roots with Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • measuring and modeling the temporal and spatial dynamics of water uptake by the plant roots

Your Profile:

  • University degree in a natural or earth science with a focus on the interface and exchange between atmosphere and terrestrial biosphere
  • Strong English writing and communication skills
  • Preferably experience in water stable isotope analytics

Our Offer:

  • A well-maintained infrastructure for the measurement of environmental variables and fluxes, into which your experiments and analyses will be embedded
  • Courses to improve your programming or other skills as needed also including English language courses
  • The possibility of an additional three-month internship abroad with an international research Group
  • Exciting working environment on an attractive research campus, ideally situated between the cities of Cologne, Düsseldorf, and Aachen
  • Limited position for 3 years
  • Salary and social benefits in conformity with the provisions of the Collective Agreement for the Civil Service (50% TVöD EG 13). Depending on the candidate's profile and the subject of his/her PhD thesis an additional allowance may be granted (up to 65% TVöD EG 13).

For further information about the application please contact Dr. Youri Rothfuss, e-mail:

Forschungszentrum Jülich aims to employ more women in this area and therefore particulary welcomes applications from women.

We also welcome applications from disabled persons.