Science Refugees European Research Council funded job vacancy for PhD-thesis on modelling soil-vegetation interactions (3 years)

Soil organic matter is the largest terrestrial carbon reservoir, and the most important source of nutrients for plants. Understanding the interactions between plants and soil microorganisms is important to predict how global change will affect soil carbon storage and ecosystem nutrient limitation. The candidate will contribute to the development of a process-based soil model, which explicitly treats vertical transport of organic material and mineral stabilisation of organic material. The PhD-thesis will focus on the effects of varying nutrient availability on soil organic matter turnover and stabilization to improve the simulation of soil organic matter dynamics at regional scales. The project will involve making conceptual advances of the model regarding the competition of plants and soil microorganisms for nutrients and its effect on soil organic matter stabilisation, corroborating model predictions using soil and ecosystem observations, and making regional predictions.

Nr of positions available : 1

Research Fields:

Environmental science – Global change

Career Stage

Early stage researcher or 0-4 yrs (Post graduate)

Research bemefits:

First Stage Researcher (R1)


The conditions of employment, including upgrades and duration follow the rules of the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Sciences and those of the German civil service. The Max Planck Society seeks to increase the number of women in those areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply. The Max-Planck society is committed to increasing the number of individuals with disabilities in its workforce and therefore encourages applications from such qualified individuals.


A university degree in a quantitative science (e.g. geo-ecology, environmental science, biology, or applied mathematics) with experience in ecosystem modelling and scientific programming, as well as an interest in applying their expertise to soil science, terrestrial ecology and global change research, and in particular to integrate physiological understanding, ecosystem observations and numerical modelling. Detailed knowledge of soil science, in particular soil organic matter dynamics and nutrient cycling, as well as the terrestrial carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus cycles and their response to elevated CO2 is an asset.

For more details click here.