The mission of the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF) as a nationally and internationally active research institute is to deliver solutions for an ecologically, economically and socially sustainable agriculture – together with society. ZALF is a member of the Leibniz Association and is located in Müncheberg (approx. 35 minutes by regional train from Berlin-Lichtenberg). It also maintains a research station with further locations in Dedelow and Paulinenaue.

We are offering a research position within the BMBF funded Junior Research Group “Towards healthy soils by using autonomous field robots in diversified agricultural landscapes” (SoilRob). SoilRob aims at examining whether the utilization of autonomous field robots and the integration of high-resolution data in diversified cropping systems can enhance soil health, boost soil-based ecosystem services, and stabilize or increase yields compared to conventionally managed fields. A comprehensive assessment of physical, chemical, and biological soil parameters related to soil-based ecosystem functions and sustainable development goals is carried out with beyond state-of the art methods and technologies.

This researcher position will forward the simulation of various selected soil functions such as water infiltration or compaction in a digital twin of diversified agricultural landscapes within the virtual environment of the Farming Simulator 2022 game. For this purpose, the researcher will intersect remote and proximal sensed data of biomass, yield, soil carbon, soil moisture and texture maps, as well as integrate field-collected and measured soil-based information in a cooperative game environment. The cooperative gaming environment already exists as the "digi.farming.lab" communication platform (developed by TU Dresden and ZALF) and will be expanded in SoilRob as an experimental platform for scientific simulation. This position also includes the work with various sensors (field scanner based on LIDAR) and cameras (thermal and hyperspectral) to carry out additional data collection surveys on soil and plant properties at various experimental sites.

We are offering a full-time position for 4 years starting earliest in October 2024 at our location in Müncheberg at the ZALF research area “Land Use and Governance” in the working group “Resource-Efficient Cropping Systems” as

Postdoctoral Researcher (f/m/d)

Your tasks:

  • precise calibration and optimization of sensor and camera technologies for high-resolution data collection of soil and plant properties in the field
  • facilitate data harmonization and homogenization for high-dimensional, heterogeneous datasets with varying temporal and spatial scale
  • integration and visual implementation of simplified crop and soil models into the virtual gaming environment
  • data exchange with SoilRob team and consolidate collaboration and communication with technical design team at TU Dresden
  • data analysis and public results presentation, e.g. at international conferences
  • publish results in peer-reviewed internationally journals and contribute actively to new project proposals

Your qualifications:

  • PhD in agronomy, environmental science, geosciences, or data science
  • experience in the use of digital technologies like remote or proximal soil sensors
  • experience with geographical information systems and crop, soil or hydrological modelling approaches
  • as an internationally research institution, located in Germany we require good to very good written and spoken English skills and the willingness to take part in further training as part of the language courses in German offered internally
  • interest in science communication & transdisciplinary research
  • affinity for communication design, graphic design or interaction design
  • basic programming skills (Java, Python or C#) and knowledge of statistical data analysis, preferably with R or Python, is expected
  • driver’s licence recommended
  • willingness to travel within Germany for several days, for sampling campaigns and cooperation with project partners must be present

What we offer:

  • an interdisciplinary and open-minded working environment that encourages independence and self-reliance
  • broad network activities within the Junior Research group SoilRob
  • strong institutional commitment to a good work-life balance
  • classification according to the collective agreement of the federal states (TV-L) up to EG13 (40h, including special annual payment)
  • company ticket
  • in-house language courses in German and English

Women are particularly encouraged to apply. Applications from severely disabled persons with equal qualifications are favored. The filling of the position in part-time is possible in principle. Please send your application preferably online (see button online application below). For e-mail applications, create a PDF document (one PDF file, max. 5 MB; packed PDF documents, archive files like zip, rar etc. Word documents cannot be processed and therefore cannot be considered!) with the usual documents, in particular CV, proof of qualification and certificates, stating the reference number 46-2024 until July 7th, 2024, to (see button e-mail application below).

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact: Dr. Kathrin Grahmann, Tel. +49 (0) 33432/82-142, .

For cost reasons, application documents or extensive publications can only be returned if an adequately stamped envelope is attached.

If you apply, we collect and process your personal data in accordance with Articles 5 and 6 of the EU GDPR only for the processing of your application and for purposes that result from possible future employment with the ZALF. Your data will be deleted after six months.

E-mail application Online application