The University of Bonn is an international research university offering a broad range of subjects. With a 200-year history, some 35,000 students, more than 6,000 employees and an outstanding reputation in Germany and abroad, the University of Bonn is one of the leading universities in Germany and has been awarded the status of a University of Excellence. The Institute of Crop Science and Resource Conservation (INRES) is looking for 1 Doctoral Researcher in Plant-Soil Interactions (65 %)
(TV-L E13)

The position should start in April 2023 (or as soon as possible thereafter) and will be for a period of three years. The doctoral researcher will work towards their doctoral degree at the University of Bonn. The research will focus on how to leverage plant-soil interactions for enhanced crop nutrition and crop resilience to perturbation within a Malawian subsistence farming context and will be supervised by Jun. Prof. Janina Dierks.

Your tasks:

  • Plan and conduct experiments to better understand how diversifying practices influence plant-soil interactions and in turn, crop nutrition and resilience to perturbation (e. g. drought & insect herbivory)
  • Plan and conduct extensive field trips to Malawi and closely work with subsistence farmers.
  • Take a proactive approach and strive to work increasingly independent in conducting your research.
  • Write and publish research papers in international journals
  • Based on the research, prepare and submit a doctoral dissertation
  • Travel internationally to present research results at conferences and workshops

Your profile:

  • Master’s degree in agricultural, plant, soil or environmental systems sciences, ecology, or related fields
  • Interest in leveraging ecological principles to help design environmentally sound agriculture
  • Experience in conducting experimental work – from data collection and laboratory analyses to data analyses using statistical software environment R
  • Knowledge on and/or strong interest in soil biogeochemical cycling, isotope tracing, mycorrhizal symbiosis, and/or plant physiology (e. g. plant water status and/or plant defense responses) are a plus
  • First-hand experience in international travelling, specifically within Africa and in dealing with serious language barriers are of great advantage
  • Adventurous and comfortable with basic living conditions during extensive field seasons
  • Excellent oral and written English language and communication skills
  • Open-mindedness, team spirit, enthusiasm, strong interpersonal skills, meticulous work attitude

We offer:

  • Stimulating research environment
  • Salary according to the German Federal pay scale (65 % TV-L E13)
  • Excellent network of research partners
  • Support in personal career development

The University of Bonn is committed to diversity and equal opportunity. It is certified as a family-friendly university and aims to increase the number of women employed in areas where women are under-represented and to promote their careers. Thus, women with relevant qualifications are encouraged to apply. Applications will be handled in accordance with the Landesgleichstellungsgesetz (State Equality Act).

Applications from suitable candidates with a certified disability or equivalent status are particularly welcome. Please submit your application (motivation letter, CV, transcript and certificate of Master’s degree, title and abstract of Master’s thesis, names and contact details of two reference persons in one combined PDF file) electronically with subject “PhD application – Malawi [104-22-3.202]” to ( by January 31, 2023.

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