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Advertising division: IBG-3 - Agrosphere
Reference number: 2020D-085


The Institute of Bio- and Geosciences – Agrosphere (IBG-3) conducts research to improve our understanding of biogeochemical and hydrological processes in terrestrial systems. Specific studies focus on environmental controls on biogeochemical cycling of elements, the analysis of exchange processes and nutrient dynamics in the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum. A combination of experiments, modelling and innovative observation technologies is used to bridge the gap between model, process and management scale. Its research contributes to the sustainable and resource-conserving use of soils and water and to the quantification of the effect of climate and land use change on terrestrial ecosystems.

The work will be conducted in the project “Reducing NH3 losses from application of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers and increasing nitrogen use efficiency of fertilization (NH3-Min)”, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture. The NH3-Min project aims at quantifying NH3 volatilization losses from a range of different mineral N fertilizers under field conditions and at developing recommendations for a more efficient fertilizer use. For this purpose, we will conduct a field experiment together with our partners of the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Bonn at the field research station Campus Klein Altendorf close to Bonn. In this field experiment of three years duration, which is conducted in the same way also at several other locations in Germany by the different project partners, we will apply eight different kinds of ammonium-based fertilizers and quantify with different offline and online methods.

We are offering a

PhD position - Reducing NH3 losses from synthetic nitrogen fertilizers and increasing fertilizer N use efficiency

Your Job:

You will be responsible for conducting the NH3 volatilization measurements in the field from the differently fertilized plots and for determining the associated plant and soil parameters. Furthermore, you will conduct laboratory incubation experiments under different moisture and temperature regimes with different soils, determine the factors responsible for the NH3 losses and study how the NH3 losses can be minimized effectively and efficiently, for example by the combined use of urease and nitrification inhibitors.

Your tasks in detail:

  • Setting up, testing and running the different NH3 measuring techniques in the field
  • Determining soil and plant parameters for the quantification of N use efficiency and N losses
  • Setting up and conducting laboratory incubation experiments with different soils
  • Quantifying NH3 losses from the different soils under different conditions
  • Processing and analysing the data obtained in the field and laboratory experiments
  • Present and publish results at national and international conferences and in peer reviewed journals

Your Profile:

  • MSc degree in bio- or geosciences, environmental sciences, chemistry or similar subjects
  • Knowledge of plant and soil sciences
  • Experimental skills, ideally laboratory and field experience
  • Ability to work independently as well as collaboratively in an international, interdisciplinary team
  • Very good communication and organizational skills
  • Very good command of the English language

Please do not let lack of some skills make you feel you are ineligible for the position. If some skills are missing, they can generally be taught.

Our Offer:

  • Competent and interdisciplinary working environment, as well as an excellent framework in the areas of experiments and modelling.
  • Vibrant international work environment on an attractive research campus, ideally situated between the cities of Cologne, Düsseldorf, and Aachen
  • Attendance at national and international conferences and workshops
  • Possibility for further scientific and technical training through international experts
  • Exceptional research infrastructure
  • Contract for the duration of 3 years
  • Pay in line with 65% of pay group 13 of the Collective Agreement for the Public Service (TVöD-Bund).
  • Information on employment as a PhD student at Forschungszentrum Jülich can be found here

Forschungszentrum Jülich promotes equal opportunities and diversity in its employment relations.
We also welcome applications from disabled persons.

Additional Information

The job will be advertised until the position has been successfully filled. You should therefore submit your application as soon as possible. We look forward to receiving your application via our

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