PhD Opportunity at Chair of Soil Science, Technical University of Munich (TUM), Germany

Closing date: 15 January 2017

As part of the research project Interaction between phosphorus heterogeneity patterns in silicate and calcareous soils and root architecture, P nutrition, and growth of European beech and Norway spruce, which contributes to the Priority Programme 1685 Ecosystem Nutrition – Forest strategies for limited phosphorus resources ( funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), the Chair of Soil Science at the Technical University of Munich offers a 3-yr-doctoral position.

Project description

We investigate heterogeneity patterns of different P fractions and P species in calcareous soils in the Bavarian Limestone Alps and the Swabian Alb at various spatial (sub-micron to profile) scales and relate them to heterogeneity patterns of other soil properties. Furthermore, we study interrelations/interactions between the P status of soils on silicate and calcareous bedrock and biotic systems (forest plants + associated microorganism communities) in laboratory and field experiments with tree seedlings grown on model soils. We use standard methods of soil and plant analysis, but focus on ground-breaking innovative technologies like synchrotron-based X-ray spectro(micro)scopy (XRF, XANES, µ-XRF, µ-XANES) and high-resolution Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (NanoSIMS).

Candidate profile

We are looking for a highly motivated candidate, who should hold an MSc degree (or equivalent) in geo-ecology, biology, forestry, environmental chemistry, geology, agriculture or related natural sciences and have sound knowledge of soil science. Applicants should be able to work self-organized and in a team, have excellent management and communication skills, and should be committed to pursuing interdisciplinary research. Good computer and language skills (English) are necessary. Candidates with experience in synchrotron-based X-ray spectroscopy or X-ray microscopy or high-resolution Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (NanoSIMS) are highly welcome. The candidate is expected to present her/his results in highly-ranked international journals and at conferences.

The Soil Science Group at TUM ( offers a vibrant academic environment with well-equipped facilities located nearby Munich in southern Germany. The framework of the Priority Programme 1685 provides the opportunity to interact and co-operate with excellent scientists in different fields of life and environmental sciences.

The project is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) for three years and provides a salary of 65 % of German TVL E13 (approx. EUR 1400 per month/net) scheme together with health and social security benefits. The envisaged starting date is March 1, 2017.

Interested candidates are asked to send a single pdf-file including letter of motivation, research experience, CV, and any publications by email to Prof. Dr. Jörg Prietzel ( Application deadline is January 15, 2017.