Equal opportunities are an integral part of our personnel policy; we therefore particularly welcome applications from qualified women. Severely disabled persons are given priority where applicants are equally qualified.

Your contact for any questions you may have about the job:
Jun.-Prof. Dr. Marc Walther

Closing date for applications:

Place of work: Leipzig

Please use our online application system for your application.

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Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung GmbH - UFZ
Permoserstraße 15
04318 Leipzig, Germany

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The Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) with its 1,100 employees has gained an excellent reputation as an international competence centre for environmental sciences. We are part of the largest scientific organisation in Germany, the Helmholtz association. Our mission: Our research seeks to find a balance between social development and the long-term protection of our natural resources.

MARZIPAN: A DFG-funded research project is searching for a PhD candidate for the development and application of a coupled vegetation-groundwater model
The use and application of simulation models comes with an everlasting endeavour on the search for best-fit values while balancing optimal model complexity, non-uniqueness and over-parameterization. Even in the age of Big-Data, parameterization of subsurface and groundwater domains is limited by too few data, and will always be due to the restricted monitoring capabilities.
A DFG-funded research project will address this issue by combining allometric properties of above-ground vegetation, and it demands for water take up, with the inherent information of subsurface flow and transport processes through the coupling of vegetation growth and groundwater flow models. For this, we have chosen a tropical coastal forest system as a unifying example.

We are looking for a PhD-candidate with an interdisciplinary education and interest in the subjects of hydro-, geo-, forest- or computer sciences (or combination of these).

PhD position (f/m)

working time: 65 % (25,35 h / week), limited for three years

Your tasks:

With the finalization of your PhD thesis (in joint supervision and evaluation with the Technische Universität Dresden), we prospect the following outcomes:

  • a coupled surface vegetation-groundwater flow and transport model system,
  • an increased, process-based understanding on how subsurface macro-scale heterogeneities influence vegetation states,
  • the possibility to utilize easily observable surface vegetation cover and allometric properties for the deduction of subsurface properties.

With this project, we intend to connect different research areas. Therefore, we offer you:
  • the possibility to grow an interdisciplinary background in several environmental research fields,
  • a lively, interactive community with multinational scientists from the fields of hydrology, forestry, and computer sciences
  • flexible workflows for conducting research in a state-of-the-art work environment,

Your profile:

As your tasks will mainly involve numerical groundwater modeling (flow and transport) and code coupling, you:

  • should have a fundamental knowledge in hydrology, preferably in groundwater/subsurface hydraulic processes and can show advanced skills in programming/coding (knowledge in C++ required) - MSc degree required in either of these,
  • may have a background in forestry sciences or plant ecology but not required,
  • be ambitious to advance beyond your current state of experience, have a clear mind and be ready for unconventional out-of-the-box thinking,
  • willingness to work in an international team including occasional travels to sub-tropical countries
  • must have very good skills in written and spoken English or German, additional knowledge in Portuguese preferable.

We offer:

  • Top level interdisciplinary research at a research centre which enjoys an excellent reputation within Germany as well as internationally
  • Excellent technical facilities 
  • Work in inter-disciplinary and multinational teams
  • Excellent links to national and international research networks
  • Support and optimal training courses by our graduate school (HIGRADE)
  • Remuneration in accordance with the TVöD public-sector pay grade 13