The Institute of Climate-Smart Agriculture of the Johann Heinrich von Thünen Institute, Federal Research Institute for Rural Areas, Forests and Fisher-ies, is seeking, subject to funding approval research assistant (f/m/d) (Agricultural, soil, geological or environmental sciences)

The position is to be filled as of 01.02.2023 and is limited to 4 years. The week-ly working time is 100% of the regular weekly working time. The place of work is Braunschweig. Gaseous emissions from denitrification (nitrogen oxide, nitrous oxide [N2O], and molecular nitrogen, [N2]) cause relevant nitrogen losses and direct N2O emissions. The amount is extremely variable and depends on climatic factors, management and soil properties.

Denitrification losses can in principle be quantified by biogeochemical models, but these are uncertain, based on dif-ferent approaches and currently insufficiently validated for N2 losses. Within the framework of the joint research project MinDen (“Measures to reduce di-rect and indirect climate-impacting emissions caused by denitrification in agri-culturally used soils”), denitrification in agriculturally used soils will be investi-gated in more detail. Field experiments will determine effects of different con-trol variables and mitigation measures on N2O and N2 fluxes.

The data ob-tained will then be used to test and improve biogeochemical models. These models will ultimately be used to estimate how high region-specific denitrifica-tion losses actually are in German agriculture and which strategies can be used to reduce them efficiently.

Tasks of the advertised position include coordination of the joint project, as well as independently conducting field and lab experiment to optimize liquid organic fertilization, tillage and incorporation of crop residues with respect to their effect for avoiding N losses from denitrification. The joint project MinDen is carried out together with the following project partners: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology,  Julius Kühn Institute, Georg-August-University Göttingen and  Justus Liebig University Giessen.


–       Coordination of the joint project (integration of all subprojects, speaker of the consortium, coordination of experiments and modelling, planning and organization of workshops, lead in interim and final reports)
–       Support in applying the 15N gas flux method of project partners in lab and field studies
–       Conducting field studies to lower denitrification by optimized tillage
–       Conducting lab experiments for optimized incorporation of crop residues
–       Lead in synthesis and transfer of results of the joint project for assessing mitigation options
–       Coordinate quality assurance, harmonization of methods and results and data documentation of the joint project
–       Presentation and publication of results for the scientific community.
Personal profile of requirements:
–       Good degree in agricultural, soil, geosciences or environmental sciences, or comparable disciplines (master’s degree, diploma)
–       Experience in independent realisation of research projects and preferably also in project coordination
–       Experience in the application of stable isotope approaches and in field measurement of greenhouse gas fluxes
–       Profound knowledge of nitrogen dynamics in agricultural soils as well as environmental and climate relevant matter fluxes from agricultural soils, as well as experience in scientific publication in this field
–       Profound knowledge of statistical methods
–       Good basic knowledge in the fields of crop nutrition and fertilization
–       Motivation and interest in scientific topics at the interface of agriculture and environment and in publication of new scientific knowledge
–       Efficient, independent and careful way of working
–       Good ability to work in a team and excellent communication skills
–       Good command of written and spoken English and German

We offer a challenging, interesting and practice-relevant activity, in a dynamic research institute, characterized by lively interdisciplinary exchange.
We support the compatibility of work and family and are the holder of the audit berufundfamilie certificate. In order to support the compatibility, the Thünen Institute offers, among other things, flexible working time models, home office and teleworking within the scope of the official possibilities. Part-time employment is generally possible.

The employment relationship is based on the provisions of the collective agreement for the public service (TVöD). Salary payment is in accordance of the TVöD up to pay group 14 depending on qualification.
The Thünen Institute promotes professional equality between women and men and therefore expressly welcomes applications from women.

The Thünen Institute is committed to inclusion. Applications from people with severe disabilities are therefore expressly welcome. They will be given special consideration in the selection process.

For queries and additional information, please contact Herr Dr. Reinhard Well (E-Mail:, phone: 0531/596-2535). Please submit your written application online with the following documents: Cover letter, with curriculum vitae in table form with list of publications, copies of certificates and, if possible, 2 references) together in a PDF file under the password “2022_xxx_AKxx” by 12.1.2023 to
Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut
Institut für Agrarklimaschutz
Bundesallee 65
38116 Braunschweig

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