PhD project in soil science in Munich

Formation and composition of soil microaggregates as explored by their elemental and isotopic label composition

We offer a 3-year PhD-position at the Chair of Soil Science of the Technische Universität München ( / within the DFG-funded research unit MAD Soil. The group of Prof. Ingrid Kögel-Knabner is located at Freising-Weihenstephan, nearby Munich in southern Bavaria, Germany. The announced position includes a salary according to TV-L E13 (65%), corresponding to the German TV-L system (Tarifvertrag für den Öffentlichen Dienst der Länder). The starting date is October 1st 2015.


In this project we aim to elucidate governing processes and mechanisms for the formation of soil microaggregates by means of the analysis of elemental/isotopic composition and the three-dimensional structural association of organic and mineral soil components at submicron resolution. We will specifically focus our approach on the analytical power of NanoSIMS in order to elucidate soil microaggregate structure and composition. This spatially explicit data will be supplemented by bulk scale measurements, such as 13C-NMR. We intend to reveal the dynamics of soil microaggregate formation and turnover by applying our analytical approach to various natural soil materials. The data collected will enable us to define relevant statistical relationships regarding the functions of soils as being carbon sinks, habitats for microorganisms and the water storage and transport function.

This position gives an opportunity to use cutting edge technologies, such as NanoSIMS and AFM, in an internationally renowned group focusing on the fate and stabilisation of soil organic matter.


Applicants should hold a M. Sc. degree in physics, chemistry, geosciences, geoecology, biology, environmental sciences or a related discipline. Candidates with experience in microscopic techniques like secondary ion spectrometry, epi-fluorescence, scanning and/or transmission electron microscopy (SEM, TEM) are highly welcome. Experience with sample preparation and (geo-) statistical modelling approaches will be highly beneficial. The candidate should be highly motivated, team-oriented and willing to work with advanced analytical techniques.


A single pdf-file including letter of motivation, a CV, the contact data of 2 referees, and a statement of research interests should be sent by email indicating [PhD-Mad Soil] in the subject line to until August 7th 2015. Evaluation of the applications will start soon after the deadline. For questions concerning your application feel free to contact