PhD position "Development and application of functional-structural models of root resource uptake from subsoil"

As a member of the Helmholtz Association, Forschungszentrum Jülich makes an effective contribution to solving major challenges facing society in the fields of information, energy, and bioeconomy. It focuses on varied tasks in the area of research management and utilizes large, often unique, scientific infrastructure. Come and work with around 5,900 colleagues across a range of topics and disciplines at one of Europe’s largest research centres.

The Institute of Bio- and Geosciences – Agrosphere (IBG-3) conducts research to improve our understanding of hydrological and biogeochemical processes in terrestrial systems. A combination of experiments, modelling, and innovative observation technologies is used to bridge the gap between model, process, and management scale. Our 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.

We are offering a

PhD position "Development and application of functional-structural models of root resource uptake from subsoil"

Your Job:
This PhD position is part of the BMBF-funded project “Soil3” on sustainable subsoil management. 
Your tasks are especially: 
  • development of mathematical models describing subsoil processes in the soil-root system
  • implementation of these models in the simulation environment DUNE/DuMuX
  • to analyse and to use Data that will be provided by the different project partners, in particular data from long-term agricultural field experiments, for model calibration and validation
  • to extend the new virtual soil-root system 
  • to carry out scenario analyses on the effect of different subsoil management methods on plant water and nutrient uptake efficiency

Your Profile:
  • MSc degree (or equivalent) in natural or engineering sciences with an overall grade of at least good
  • knowledge about soil physics including partial differential equations for water flow and solute transport is of advantage
  • experience in mathematical modelling and/or programming are of advantage
  • since the work involves interdisciplinary cooperation with several research institutes, good communication and organisational skills are essential

Our Offer:
  • working in an interdisciplinary environment as well as excellent facilities for experimental and numerical simulation studies
  • opportunities of being part of the national and international scientific community
  • PhD students are encouraged to attend international conferences and a three months research stay abroad with a cooperating partner is planned
  • specialized courses, summer schools, seminars by renown experts
  • a comprehensive further training programme, including English language courses
  • exciting working environment on an attractive research campus, ideally situated between the cities of Cologne, Düsseldorf, and Aachen
  • limited for 3 years

Salary and social benefits in conformity with the provisions of the Collective Agreement for the Civil Service (50% TVöD EG 13). Depending on the candidate's profile and the subject of his/her PhD thesis an additional allowance may be granted (up to 75% TVöD EG 13). 

Forschungszentrum Jülich aims to employ more women in this area and therefore particularly welcomes applications from women.

We also welcome applications from disabled persons.

For further information visit our website or contact Prof. Jan Vanderborght, Phone: +49 2461 61-2281, e-mail: or Prof. Andrea Schnepf, Phone: +49 2461 61-2281, email:
Kontakt für Bewerbungen
We look forward to receiving your application, preferably via our online recruitment system on our career site, quoting the reference number 2018-190.

Anja Schurf
Phone: +49 2461 61 9700
Bitte beziehen Sie sich bei Ihrer Bewerbung auf jobvector und geben Sie die folgende Referenznummer an: 2018-190

Über Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH

Das Forschungszentrum Jülich leistet als Mitglied der Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft wirksame Beiträge zur Lösung großer gesellschaftlicher Herausforderungen in den Bereichen Information, Energie und Bioökonomie. Es bearbeitet vielfältige Aufgaben im Forschungsmanagement und nutzt große, oft einzigartige wissenschaftliche Infrastrukturen. Arbeiten Sie zusammen mit rund 5.900 Kolleginnen und Kollegen...

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