PhD position (m/f/d) in the joint KI-Morph project (E13 TV-L, 65%) at the State Museum of Natural History Stuttgart (Stuttgart):

The State Museum of Natural History Stuttgart (SMNS) is one of the largest natural history museums in Germany, and is focused on research, education, and teaching. We are a future-oriented research and educational institution that works towards solving pressing societal challenges such as the biodiversity crisis.

The KI-Morph project: The aim of the KI-Morph project is to develop a user platform based on artificial intelligence for the automated segmentation of 3D X-ray and neutron datasets within the fields of extant arthropods and paleontology. The SMNS hosts a comprehensive collection with large amounts of genetic and ecological data from completed and ongoing research projects on arthropods, which are to be complemented by the systematic examination of comparative morphological data.

This integrative taxonomic approach can provide answers to scientific questions in the fields of systematics, zoology, developmental biology, genetics, biological pest and disease control, and biomimetics.

The use of CT data in paleontology has revolutionized the description and quantification of vertebrate morphology. The fossil data acquired as part of KI-Morph will be used to focus on fundamental questions in evolution, functional morphology and the history of life on earth. The challenge that fossils present for automated segmentation due to diverse preservation and tissue types will be addressed as part of KI-Morph.


  • Establishing morphological and tomographic training datasets in the application fields of arthropods and paleontology
  • Annotating datasets (especially CT datasets of the heads of various parasitic wasps, amber inclusions, and mineralized insects as well as X-ray and neutron laminography datasets of vertebrates) that serve as ground truth labels and training data for artificial neural networks for automated segmentation; evaluation of AI-segmented datasets compared to the ground truth labels; reporting of the results
  • Coordinating the contributing partners in the application fields of arthropods and paleontology (mainly the University of Heidelberg and KIT)
  • Support in conducting / participating in workshops with associated partners and user communities


•       You want to develop your potential in interdisciplinary work in a collection-based research institution with international reputation

•       High affinity for biodiversity informatics and a strong interest in implementing AI-based methods in the scientific context

•       M.Sc./Diploma degree or equivalent in biology, paleontology, or related fields by the time of the start of the project

•       Very good English language skills in both spoken and written form

•       Experience and interest in questions of biodiversity and evolution

•       Experience in 3D reconstruction is an advantage

•       Ability to collaborate effectively, organizational skills and flexibility

We offer:

•       A highly exciting research project in an international and multidisciplinary environment with taxonomist, evolutionary biologists and biodiversity informaticians

•       Intensive academic and personal mentoring in the course of the PhD-project

•       an attractive workplace in the centre of Stuttgart

•       flexible worktime for your research

•       professional and personal development opportunities through training programs

•       benefits from occupational health management

Salary corresponds to the German civil service salary scale E13 TV-L, 65%. The position is funded for 3 years. The applicant should formally register for a doctoral program, preferably at the University of Hohenheim, to obtain the appropriate degree.

To apply: Please submit your electronic application exclusively online (in one file, max 5 MB), to  until July 20, 2023. The online selection interviews are scheduled in calender week 31.

The electronic application must be in English and should contain: (1) a Cover letter, (2) a brief CV, (3) a copy of relevant academic certificates, (4) contact details of at least one referee who can recommend your work. For further information, please contact Prof. Dr. Lars Krogmann (+49(0)711-8936-112 or ).

The SMNS strives to increase the percentage of women in areas where women are underrepresented and therefore strongly encourages applications from qualified women. Individuals with disabilities will be given priority for employment if equally qualified. Further information on data protection law for applicants can be found on our homepage under “Jobs” (in German).


Lucia Banholzer

Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde Stuttgart


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