The mission of the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF) as a nationally and internationally active research institute is to deliver solutions for an ecologically, economically and socially sustainable agriculture – together with society. ZALF is a member of the Leibniz Association and is located in Müncheberg (approx. 35 minutes by regional train from Berlin-Lichtenberg).

It also maintains a research station with further locations in Dedelow and Paulinenaue.The Research Area 1 Landscape Functioning of ZALF (RA1) investigates the functioning of agricultural landscapes and aims at contributions to the United Nations’ Sustainability Goals (SDGs) Zero Hunger, Climate Action, and Life on Land.

The BMEL funded project of the working group Isotope Biogeochemistry and Gas Fluxes “Rhizosphere traits to improve crop breeding for enhanced P efficiency under water limitation” aims to identify root and rhizosphere traits to be considered in plant breeding for the development of climate-ready, resource-efficient cereal cultivars. The methods cover field trails as well as approaches under controlled conditions, investigating the plant-soil-system.

The project includes a cooperation with the Japan International Research Centre for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS), Tsukuba, Japan and BOKU Vienna (Rhizosphere Ecology and Biogeochemistry Group).We are offering a 65% position temporarily limited for 36 months (Start: Oct 2023 or later)**** at our location in Müncheberg as PhD student (m/f/d) 79-2023

Your tasks:

  • performing field experiments and pot experiments with different rice, wheat and maize varieties at ZALF, Müncheberg
  • possibility to stay for approx. 3 month with the project partners at JIRCAS, Tsukuba, Japan
  • project-related lab work incl. sample preparation, plant and root carbon/phosphorus analysis
  • metabolom analysis of root exudates and soil microbial community analysis
  • statistical data analysis
  • presentation of results on national and international conferences
  • publication of results in peer-reviewed scientific journals

Your qualifications:

  • master of science in the field of agricultural, ecological or geological sciences
  • experience in experimental laboratory work
  • experience in soil microbial community analysis
  • excellent communication skills (incl. English)
  • a substantial interest in science and willingness to learn new methods
  • willingness to travel within Germany and abroad
  • hands on experience with plant experiments and radiotracer techniques would be beneficial.
  • advanced knowledge in statistics would be advantageous

What we offer:

  • a collegial and open-minded working atmosphere in state-of-the-art facilities
  • family-orientated work
  • possibility to achieve a doctoral degree
  • participation in national and international conferences
  • membership in ZALF’s graduate program (incl. benefit from skill training courses)
  • scientific and personal exchange with the project partners at BOKU (Austria) and JIRCAS (Japan)
  • an interdisciplinary and international working environment that encourages independence and self-reliance
  • classification according to the collective agreement of the federal states (TV-L) up to EG13 (including special annual payment)
  • company ticket

Women are particularly encouraged to apply. Applications from severely disabled persons with equal qualifications are favored.**** It is generally possible to work in the position on a part-time basis.

Please send your application preferably by e-mail (one PDF file, max. 5 MB) with cover letter, CV, proof of qualification and certificates, stating the reference number 79-2023 until July 31, 2023 to: (see button e-mail application below).**** Applications without cover letter will not be considered.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact usDr. Maire Holz, phone +49(0)33432/82-127, Email:

For  costreasons,  application  documentsor  extensive  publicationscan  only  be returnedif  an  adequately stamped envelope is attached. If you apply, we collect and process your personal data in accordance with Articles 5 and 6 of the EU GDPR only forthe  processing  ofyour  application  andfor  purposes  thatresult  from  possiblefuture  employment  withthe ZALF. Your data will be deleted after six months.

Online application

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