Monday, June 7, 2021

Postdoctoral Researcher (m/f/d) | Soil and Groundwater Biogeochemistry


The Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry (MPI-BGC) in Jena is dedicated to interdisciplinary fundamental 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 high-tech industry, internationally renowned research institutions 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. For the department of Biogeochemical Processes we are looking for a Postdoctoral Researcher (m/f/d) in Soil and Groundwater Biogeochemistry in full-time, limited until 30.06.2025.

Background and position description:

The DFG-funded Collaborative Research Centre 1076 “AquaDiva – Understanding the Links between Surface and Subsurface Biogeosphere” is an ambitious research centre with more than 70 researchers from various research areas ( It is located at Friedrich Schiller University and three non-university research institutes, including MPI-BGC. The AquaDiva project D03 “Site Management, CZE Operation, and Synoptic Synthesis” aims to advance and generalize our current understanding of links and feedbacks between the surface and the diverse subsurface habitats and their roles for ecosystem functions. The successful candidate (m/f/d) will fill a key position within a multi-disciplinary Collaborative Research Centre focusing on the synoptic analysis of the large quantities of information collected within the last years across all Critical Zone compartments, in order to assess extent and strength of surface–subsurface coupling and feedbacks. The position will be embedded within the interdisciplinary research group of Prof. S. Trumbore at MPI-BGC in Jena and will focus on the cycling of organic matter from surface to groundwater.


The responsibilities of the postdoctoral researcher will mainly focus on:

  • Combining and exploiting a very large data set of collected data and public available databases
  • Assembling data sets from soil to groundwater to quantitatively link water and matter transport to biogeochemical changes, including isotopic information, and organic matter transformations
  • Use of multivariate statistics and modeling of hydrobiogeochemical transformations
  • Writing and publishing of manuscripts for publication in high-ranking peer-reviewed journals
  • Close collaboration with other project members to facilitate synergistic analysis and writing
  • Presenting results at national and international conferences
  • Supervision of students and doctoral candidates in degree theses


  • Candidates with a higher education degree (PhD) in biogeochemistry, hydrogeology, modeling or similar fields are eligible for this position; candidates expected to earn their degree by September 2021 are welcome to apply
  • Extensive knowledge of biogeochemical modeling is considered beneficial
  • Demonstrated experience in ability to work with large data sets is a prerequisite
  • Experience in interpretation of stable isotopes and radiocarbon data is considered highly desirable
  • A flexible and proactive personality and ability to work both independently as well as in the interdisciplinary research team of AquaDiva is wanted
  • Excellent written and spoken English communication skills are essential

We offer:

  • Participation in a strongly interdisciplinary research project with diverse experimental and theoretical approaches, combined with the opportunity for research on an innovative and unique Critical Zone research platform
  • A communicative atmosphere within an international scientific network of universities and research institutes providing top-level research facilities, equipment, and infrastructure
  • Individual qualification and development measures in the frame of the Integrated Research Training Group AquaDiva and embedded with the Jena Graduate Academy

Terms of employment:

This is a full-time postdoctoral position ideally to be filled September/October 1st, 2021, or at the earliest possible date. The position is limited until 30.06.2025. Salary will be according to the German TVöD (E13) scale, depending on experience, including social benefits. The position is subject to funding approval at the end of May 2021. The Max Planck society and the CRC AquaDiva are committed to increasing the number of individuals with disabilities in its workforce and therefore encourage applications from such qualified individuals. Also, the Max Planck Society and the CRC AquaDiva seek to increase the number of women in those research areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourage women to apply.


Submit your complete application documents, addressed to Prof. Dr. Susan Trumbore and quoting the reference number 08/2021, until June 20, 2021, to our online application portal.

All applications should be in English and include (in one PDF file, max. size 15 MB) at least the following:

  1. Cover letter (max. 1 page, describing your motivation, research interests, and relevant experiences)
  2. Curriculum vitae (max. 2 pages, including contact details of at least two scientific references)
  3. Scans of certificates, diplomas, and other (e.g., PhD/M.Sc/B.Sc. certificate – if not in English or German, please provide a translation)

Further Information:

Queries concerning the application process should be directed to Dr. Anke Hädrich (; for project-related questions, please contact Prof. Dr. Susan Trumbore (). More project details can be found at Selected applicants will be invited for a short presentation and a personal interview with the project leader/s at our online recruitment symposium, presumably in July / August 2021. We look forward to receiving your application!

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