Research associate (Soil Biodiversity and Agriculture) m/f

Senckenberg Museum für Naturkunde


Job posting – Ref. #08-18010

The Senckenberg Nature Research Society (SGN) is an institution of the Leibniz Association with almost 800 employees in total. It operates six internationally leading research institutes located in seven federal states with its main headquarters in Frankfurt am Main. The SGN also administers the UNESCO World Heritage Site „Grube Messel“.

For the BMBF project „BonaRes – Centre for Soil Research“, the Senckenberg Nature Research Society is inviting applications to its institute in Görlitz (Museum of Natural History” (SMNG)) in the Department of Soil Zoology for a Research associate (Soil Biodiversity and Agriculture) m/f (part time)

Within the framework of the research program „Soils as Sustainable Resource for the Bioeconomy – BonaRes“, launched by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the central project „BonaRes – Centre for Soil Research“ will be funded for a further 3 years, with a total planned period up to 2023. Aims of this project are the provision of soil-related data in standardized form, the development of integrative model tools to evaluate land-use options regarding their sustainability, and to develop a web-based portal for knowledge-based options for farming strategies and soil-use management based on the models. To face these challenges, an interdisciplinary group of scientists has been established from the Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), the Technical University of Munich, the Senckenberg Nature Research Society (SGN), the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) and the University of Giessen.

The research associate will help this team elucidate and quantify the effects of agricultural methods on soil animal communities. The position will search, review and analyze (via meta-analyses) literature information of agricultural effects on the soil fauna; the results of the meta-analyses are intended for inclusion in models of agricultural methods on soil functionality. While a basic knowledge of soil animals and biodiversity analyses is necessary, fieldwork and animal determination is not intended. The possibility of incorporating the research into a Ph.D. dissertation is possible. Post-Docs are welcome to apply.

Your tasks:

  • Collation of data on agricultural effects on soil faunal biodiversity from scientific literature
  • Meta-analyses and assessments of literature information on agricultural effects on soil fauna
  • Identification of functional character traits for soil fauna effected by agricultural measures
  • Establishment and preparation of quantified soil-biological functional data for models, preparation and provisioning of such data in database systems
  • Preparation of project reports; representation and presentation of the project, i.e. at conferences etc.
  • Writing high-quality publications on the project content

Your profile:

  • Minimum of a master degree in soil ecology with a thorough knowledge of soil fauna
  • Working knowledge of agricultural and soil-management methods
  • Basic knowledge of meta-analysis statistics, i.e. mixed effect models
  • Familiarity with transdisciplinary research environments, especially in the area of soil research
  • Publication experience, excellent written and oral presentation skills
  • Outstanding command of spoken and written German and English
  • Willingness to travel (project meetings, conferences)
  • Integration, team-work, resilience and load-carrying abilities


Salary and benefits are according to the German public service position (TV-L); pay scale and weekly hours dependent on academic qualifications (i.e. post-doc: TV-L 13, 60% = 24 hrs/week). The position can start on December 1st, 2018 and will be initially limited to August 31st, 2021. The employer is the Senckenberg Nature Research Society; the place of employment is Görlitz, Germany. Senckenberg supports equal opportunity of men and women and therefore strongly invites women to apply. Equally qualified handicapped applicants will be given preference.

Are you interested?

Please send your application before November 15th, 2018 (application deadline) by e-mail (attachment in a single pdf document), mentioning the reference of this position (Ref. #08-18010) and including a letter outlining your suitability, a detailed CV, educational transcripts, contact details of 2 references and a list of publications to:


Prof. Dr. Willi Xylander

c/o Senckenberg Museum für Naturkunde Görlitz

PF 30 01 54

02806 Görlitz



For scientific enquiries please contact Dr. David Russell, +49 (0)3581 / 4760-5502.

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Bewerbungsende: 15.11.2018