Post-Doc (m/f/d) | Modelling Nutrient Cycles

Scientist Jena
Microbiology & Ecology Earth Sciences and Climate Research

Job Code:

Job Offer from November 19, 2020

The Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry (MPI-BGC) in Jena is dedicated to interdisciplinary basic research in the field of Earth System Sciences with a focus on climate and ecosystems. The internationally renowned institute, which currently employs around 230 people, will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2022. Jena is known for its high-tech industry, internationally renowned research facilities and a modern university. But it also has a beautiful natural setting in the green Saale valley with steep limestone slopes. The city of Jena has an active student scene and a diverse cultural life. With an intended starting date of 01.03.2021, we are looking for a Post-Doc (m/f/d) for 2 years full time, with the possibility of extension.

Background and position description:

The newly formed department of Biogeochemical Signals (BSI) at the MPI for Biogeochemistry in Jena, Germany, conducts research to better understand the manifold interactions between terrestrial biogeochemistry and climate. One of its foci is the study of the coupled terrestrial carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus cycles and their response to global change: a key uncertainty in future projections of the global carbon balance. In the past few years, a new generation of nutrient-enabled land surface model has emerged to tackle this challenge. However, representing nutrient limitation of plant growth is a key challenge to representing and projecting the terrestrial carbon sink in such models.

In this context, we are looking to recruit a Post-Doc (f/m/d) specialising in modelling nutrient cycles.

Your tasks:

  • develop and test process representations of plant nutrient economy controlling biological nitrogen fixation and nutrient uptake by mycorrhiza
  • investigate the effect of these processes on projected carbon storage and nitrous oxide emissions
  • Lead and contribute to publications in international scientific journals and represent the research group in national and international meetings

This position also offers the opportunity to contribute to the development of new ideas and model formulations regarding the interactions of soil and vegetation processes in the QUINCY model (Thum et al. 2019 GMD; Yu et al. 2020, GMD).

Your profile:

  • PhD degree in a quantitative natural science (e.g. geo-ecology, environmental science, biology, or applied mathematics)
  • experience in ecosystem modelling
  • very good analytical and programming skills
  • demonstrated ability to write publications in scientific journals
  • very good communication and organisational skills as well as knowledge of English

Our offer:

The successful applicant will join a growing, young and international team in a vibrant research environment, encompassing experimental and theoretical work on the role of the biogeochemical cycles of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus in the Earth system. The department has established an extensive network of international collaborations in Europe, the U.S. and Australia. Jena is not only famous for its high-tech industry, internationally renowned research institutions and a modern university, but also for its beautiful natural setting in the Saale valley with its steep limestone slopes. The city of Jena has a large active student scene supporting a diverse cultural life. The conditions of employment, including upgrades and duration follow the rules of the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Sciences and those of the German civil service. The Max Planck Society strives for equality between women and men and for diversity. In addition, the Max Planck Society wants to increase the proportion of women in those areas in which they are underrepresented. Women are therefore expressly encouraged to apply. We welcome applications from all areas. The Max Planck Society has set itself the goal of employing more severely disabled people. Applications from severely disabled persons are expressly welcome.

Your application:

Please send your inquiries and/or applications including a letter of interest, CV, and the names and contact information of two references to Dr. Sönke Zaehle (, with indication of reference BSI1120), or directly to the institute’s address:

Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry
Dr. Sönke Zaehle
Hans-Knöll-Straße 10
07745 Jena

Review of applications will begin on the 3rd December 2020. Web-based interviews are foreseen to take place end of Early-Mid December 2020. Relevant links: The Terrestrial Biosphere Modelling group. We are looking forward to your application!

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