PhD position (m/f/d) in ichthyosaur ontogeny and evolution

State Museum of Natural History


PhD position (m/f/d) in ichthyosaur ontogeny and evolution at the State Museum of Natural History Stuttgart (E13 TV-L, 50%)


The State Museum of Natural History Stuttgart (SMNS) is an internationally renowned research institution with extensive palaeontological and neontological collections. The museum is seeking to the earliest possible date a highly motivated student with an interest in vertebrate palaeontology and palaeoecology to fill a three-year PhD position funded by the SMNS.

The Project

The Posidonia Shale is one of the classic European fossil lagerstätten. It has been intensively sampled for both invertebrate and vertebrate fossils for over 400 years, resulting in extensive museum collections, one of the largest of which is housed at the SMNS. The doctoral student (m/f/d) is expected to scientifically focus on the evolution of ontogenies in Posidonia Shale marine reptiles (ichthyosaurs) with the goal of understanding how growth and development vary with species and change over evolutionary time in these marine reptiles. The Museum has an ongoing emphasis on understanding the evolution of ontogenies and life history strategies in a phylogenetic context, and the student will have access to top experts in this field of research.

The project will be supervised by Dr. Erin Maxwell ( and PD Dr. Rainer Schoch (SMNS),  Evolutionary variation in ontogenies in the Ichthyosauria. A small proportion of working time may be dedicated to museum-specific tasks.

The successful candidate is expected to have

  • an M.Sc./Diploma degree or equivalent in biology or palaeontology by the time of the commencement of the project
  • strong English language skills in both speaking and writing
  • research experience dealing with fossil marine reptiles is an asset
  • ability to work both independently (including field work) and in a team
  • organizational skills and flexibility

Please note: The applicant must enroll in a doctoral program at a suitable university to obtain the appropriate degree (subject to university-specific conditions).

In turn we offer:

  • the opportunity to pursue your academic career in an internationally renowned research museum
  • intensive academic and personal mentoring
  • an attractive workplace in the center of Stuttgart
  • flexible and family-friendly working hours
  • benefits from occupational health management
  • support to publish and present research results at national and international conferences and workshops

The salary is based on the German civil service salary scale E13 (TV-L, 50%). The position is limited to three years. Please send your application including a cover letter, CV with contact information of two academic references, as well as a 1-page statement of research interests detailing past research experience exclusively online (in one file, max 5 MB) to by August 20, 2019.

Please note that your incoming data will not be automatically encrypted. By submitting your application documents, you agree to them being passed on to members of the selection committee in compliance with the provisions of the European General Data Protection Regulation (DSGVO).

The job interviews are scheduled for August 28, 2019. For further information, please contact Dr. Erin Maxwell: 0049-(0)711/8936-145.

The SMNS is an equal opportunity employer that values diversity, tolerance and excellence. Preference will be given to applicants with severe disabilities if equally qualified.

Achtung! Bitte senden Sie Ihre Bewerbungen direkt an die Einrichtung, die die Stelle ausschreibt, und nicht an den Deutschen Museumsbund. Wenn in der Ausschreibung keine E-Mail-Adresse angegeben ist, sind Online-Bewerbungen nicht erwünscht. Vielen Dank!

Bewerbungsende: 20.08.2019