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Advertising division: IBG-3 - Agrosphere
Reference number: 2020D-009


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 experimental work on rhizosphere processes of wheat

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 conduct a series of experiments in newly developed rhizotron systems to study the causes of the yield decline as a function of crop rotation and environmental factors, as well as try to develop suitable management options. The project strives to reach the above objectives using a combined approach of long-term field experiments and specially designed rhizotron experiments as well as simulation models on different scales.

You will be responsible for conducting rhizotron experiments using stable isotope labelling to quantify root water and nutrient uptake, root exudation and rhizosphere soil carbon and nitrogen turnover as a function of root developmental stage and senescence induced by the take-all disease of wheat, i.e. a fungal infection. The experimental data of this project will be used for model parameterisation and evaluation.

Your tasks in detail:

  • Set-up and conduction of rhizotron experiments
  • Quantification of root water and nitrogen uptake with H218O and 15NO3- labelling
  • Quantification of root exudation with 13CO2 labelling
  • Perform magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of root systems
  • Present and publish results at national and international conferences and peer reviewed journals

Your Profile:

  • Master degree in bio- or geosciences, environmental sciences, chemistry or similar subjects
  • Knowledge of plant and soil sciences
  • Experimental skills, ideally laboratory and greenhouse experience
  • 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-009:
Please note that for technical reasons we cannot accept applications via email.