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PhD candidate (f/m) to explore the topic: Maintaining regional soil quality for a Biobased economy
The DBFZ (Deutsches Biomasseforschungszentrum gemeinnützige GmbH) is dedicated to ecological and technical
questions in relation to the energetic and alternative use of biomass. To enhance our team we are looking for a:
PhD candidate (m/f) to explore the topic: “Maintaining regional soil quality for a Biobased economy”
Soils are unquestionably an essential component of the global ecosystem and will be at the fulcrum of a biobased economy
(i.e., the use of biomass resources for the production of healthy foods, materials, chemicals, fuels, and energy). Therefore
maintaining healthy and functioning soils is a fundamental requirement for not only global sustainability, but also for a
biobased economy in order to ensure security of a sustainable biomass supply. Life cycle thinking has the potential to make
linkages across the whole production chain, but the inclusion of impacts to soil functions has been challenging due to the
spatial dependency of such impacts and the contrasting global approaches of life cycle assessments (LCA). Indeed one of the
biggest challenges is to find the appropriate level of complexity and comprehensiveness for assessing impacts to soil which
can fit to life cycle approaches – this needs to come from a compromise between simplified approaches that may miss
relevant processes and highly complex models which need large amounts of input data.
Your tasks: To develop an approach, in close collaboration with the UFZ, which identifies how regional
landscapes can be organised into “Archetypes”, used as the basis for the development of indicators and impact
factors for assessing and relating soil functions (e.g. biomass production, nutrient storage and recycling, carbon storage)
to biobased products. To integrate required constraints from farm types into the setup of appropriate land use scenarios
to be applied in soil process modelling on regional scale. To use a case study to explore how both the soil archetypes
and modelling tool box (e.g. RELCA, CANDY, CCB) could be used for assessing a specific regional bioeconomy network.
We offer: Top level interdisciplinary research at two renowned scientific research centers in Germany
(DBFZ in collaboration with UFZ). The opportunity to work in dynamic interdisciplinary and multinational teams, while
developing the skill sets for conducting independent research. Support and training provided by the UFZ graduate
Requirements: Master’s degree in environmental science, soil science or related topic. Knowledge
of life cycle thinking and sustainability concepts is desirable. Previous experience in using a biophysical model is also
desirable. Candidates must have adequate proficiency in data analysis, spatial data analysis and statistical analysis
skills (use of R, SPSS, MATLAB), an ability to deal with interdisciplinary approaches and interested in working in an
international research group. Proficient fluency in German and English is also required.
The position is planned as a doctorate in the work program of the DBFZ for the BMEL (Federal Ministry of
Food and Agriculture) and is limited to three years. The regular working times are 60 per cent of a full position. We offer
salary and social benefits in conformity with the provisions of the Collective Agreement for the Civil Service (TVöD EG 13 Bund).
Please send your detailed application until 21.04.2017 to the DBFZ Deutsches Biomasseforschungszentrum
gemeinnützige GmbH, Mrs Alexandra Mohr, Torgauer Straße 116, D-04347 Leipzig, or to
(Please send only one document attachment, preferably as a PDF).
Travel expenses for the interview are refunded according to the regulations by the „Reisekostenzuschuss für
Vorstellungsreisen für das Bundes- ministerium des Inneren und den Geschäftsbereich BMI“ (ZI1-30201/2#1).
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