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Advertising division: IBG-3 - Agrosphere
Reference number: 2020D-008


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 are offering a

PhD position in root-soil modelling

Your Job:

The work will be part of the program of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) “Plant roots and soil ecosystems: Importance of the rhizosphere for the bioeconomy” in the framework of the “National Research Strategy Bioeconomy 2030”.
The RhizoWheat project aims at elucidating and quantifying the key (rhizosphere) processes governing yield decline of wheat as a second or third wheat in a crop rotation. We will establish a model framework enabling the prediction of yield decline as a function of initial soil inoculum and environmental factors, as well as identify beneficial management options. The project strives to reach the above objectives using a combined approach of long-term field experiments and specially designed container experiments as well as simulation models on different scales.

You will be responsible for the enhancement of the dynamic root growth module of the 3-dimensional CPlantBox model to include senescence and its effect on root water uptake from soil and other plant-soil interactions. Model parameterisation and evaluation will be based on the experimental data from this project.

Your tasks in detail:

  • Implementation of senescence and its effects in a 3-dimensional root architecture model
  • Parameterise this model based on experimental data
  • Root image analysis
  • Perform simulations of root and soil interactions
  • Present and publish results at national and international conferences and peer reviewed journals

Your Profile:

  • Masters degree in bioengineering, environmental sciences or applied mathematics
  • Knowledge of plant and soil sciences
  • Modelling skills
  • Ability to work independently as well as collaboratively in an international, interdisciplinary team across institutes
  • Very good communication and organizational skills
  • Very good command of the English language

Please do not let lack of some skills make you feel you are ineligible for the position. If some skills are missing, they can generally be taught.

Our Offer:

  • Competent and interdisciplinary working environment, as well as an excellent framework in the areas of experiments and modelling.
  • Vibrant international work environment on an attractive research campus, ideally situated between the cities of Cologne, Düsseldorf, and Aachen
  • Attendance at national and international conferences and workshops
  • Possibility for further scientific and technical training through international experts
  • Exceptional research infrastructure
  • A contract for the duration of 4 years
  • Pay in line with 75 % of pay group 13 of the Collective Agreement for the Public Service (TVöD-Bund).
  • Information on employment as a PhD student at Forschungszentrum Jülich can be found here

Forschungszentrum Jülich promotes equal opportunities and diversity in its employment relations.

We also welcome applications from disabled persons.

Additional Information

The job will be advertised until the position has been successfully filled. You should therefore submit your application as soon as possible. We look forward to receiving your application via our

Questions about the vacancy?
Contact us by mentioning the reference number 2020D-008:
Please note that for technical reasons we cannot accept applications via email.