The Technical University of Munich (TUM) is one of the best universities in Europe. It is characterized by excellence in research and teaching, interdisciplinarity, and talent development.

The Terrestrial Ecology Research Group is part of the Department of Life Science Systems in the TUM School of Life Sciences and is based in Freising, Germany. Our group conducts fundamental research on how human land-use affects biodiversity, and on the importance of biodiversity for ecosystem processes, and our research group has a strong focus on insects.

For a newly funded project by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) – as part of the Research Unit FOR3000 on Ecology and Evolution of Intraspecific Chemodiversity in Plants – we are looking for a motivated PhD candidate, ideally starting 01.03.2024 or before (m/f/d – 65% TV-L E13).

Your tasks:

Plants can vary greatly in their chemical make-up, even among individuals of the same species. Our Research Unit aims to understand the consequences of this chemical variations for plant functioning and their interactions with the environment. Your task in this project will be to investigate the consequences of plant chemical diversity in the model plant Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare), with particular focus on its effects on ant-aphid mutualisms and soil-dwelling communities.

Your role will be to sample and observe soils, plants and insects in our established chemodiversity field experiment in Jena, Germany. Furthermore, under our supervision you will conceptualize ideas and hypotheses, and publish findings in peer-reviewed journals, with the goal of obtaining a PhD degree through the university’s graduate school. 

Your responsibilities:

•       Conducting research project associated with the funded project in the area of chemical ecology, soil ecology and entomology.
•       Analysis of collected data, and publishing findings in peer-reviewed journals.
•       Attendance of various FOR 3000 Research Unit-associated activities, including annual meetings, potential lab exchanges, workshops and conferences.
•       Active engagement in a vibrant research group.

Your qualifications:

•       MSc in Biology, Ecology or a related field.
•       Strong motivation to work with plants and their associated interactions as model systems.
•       Very good oral and written communication skills in English. (Knowledge of the German language is of advantage).
•       Ability to work dynamically in a team.
•       Experience with plant care, insect rearing, and/or molecular lab work are of advantage.
•       Familiarity with the natural history of a particular taxon (e.g. soil organisms, ants, insect herbivores, pollinators) is of advantage.
•       A driver’s license is helpful.

Our offer

•       A funded PhD position covering 3 years of salary
•       A dynamic working environment in a success-oriented team
•       Participation in highly beneficial Research Unit activities with many experts in the field.
•       Potential for collaboration in existing research projects
•       Participation in TUM career development programs
•       Employment with appropriate remuneration for doctoral candidates, according to the collective agreement for the public service of the federal states (65% TV-L E13)

TUM strives to raise the proportion of women in its workforce and explicitly encourages applications from qualified women. Severely disabled applicants will be given preference in the event of equal suitability, ability and professional performance.

How to apply and further information:

Applications should be sent as a single pdf file to (preferred), or via mail to Dr. Robin Heinen, Technische Universität München, Lehrstuhl für Terrestrische Ökologie, Hans-Carl-von-Carlowitz-Platz 2, D-85354 Freising, Germany. Applications should include a cover letter, a  Curriculum Vitae including potential publications, and the names and email-addresses of two references, in a single pdf document.

Information about the research carried out in the Terrestrial Ecology Research Group can be found on our group’s home page under Please contact Dr. Robin Heinen (, +49 8161 71 4148), or Prof. Wolfgang Weisser ( for further information about the position. Deadline of applications is 30. November 2023.

Data Protection Information: When you apply for a position with the Technical University of Munich (TUM), you are submitting personal information. With regard to personal information, please take note of the data protection information on collecting and processing personal data contained in your application in accordance with Art. 13 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

( Datenschutzhinweise gemäß Art. 13 Datenschutz-Grundverordnung (DSGVO) zur Erhebung und Verarbeitung von personenbezogenen Daten im Rahmen Ihrer Bewerbung). By submitting your application, you confirm that you have acknowledged the above data protection information of TUM.

Dr. Robin Heinen
TUM, LS für Terrestrische Ökologie

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