PhD Position in Soil Microbial Ecology of Agroecosystems
ETH Zurich
Zürich, Switzerland  
vor 1 Tg.
source : Academic Media Group International AB

PhD Position in Soil Microbial Ecology of Agroecosystems

As the global population expands, the demand for food rises steadily. Meeting these needs in a sustainable manner remains one of the greatest challenges of our time.

It is becoming clear that recycling human wastes can provide effective fertilizers for enhancing soil fertility and crop production, soil amendments for increasing carbon sequestration, and a means for improving public sanitation and health.

Yet while waste-based fertilizers are already used in many developing countries, the potential health risks connected to these practices are still debated, especially since very little is known regarding how antibiotics potentially contained in these fertilizers impact the soil-microbial-plant nexus.

Job description

This four-year PhD position will be a key component of the SNF Prima project Understanding the impacts of antibiotics from human excreta derived fertilizers on the soil-microbial-plant nexus awarded to Dr.

Gina Garland. The main goals of the project will be to determine how antibiotics contained in currently utilized human waste-based fertilizers across Africa impact soil microbial community structure, functioning and development of antibiotic resistance genes.

The planned work will involve managing a large-scale greenhouse trial, where multiple crop species will be grown in African soils with contrasting fertilizer sources.

The PhD candidate will be based in the and supervised together with Dr. Gina Garland and Dr. Martin Hartmann of the Sustainable Agroecosystem Group.

Your profile

We are looking for a motivated and team-oriented PhD student interested in better understanding and improving agricultural sustainability by assessing the impact of human excreta derived fertilizers application on soil microbial community dynamics through the use of cutting-edge molecular techniques.

A Master’s degree in Environmental Sciences, Soil Sciences, Biology, Microbiology, or Ecology is needed. Experience in DNA or RNA sequencing, bioinformatics, statistics, biogeochemical analysis, and general laboratory skills are strong assets.

Excellent oral and written English communication skills is required.

ETH Zurich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society.

Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence.

Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.


We look forward to receiving your online application including the following documents :

  • Certificates and transcripts of your Master and Bachelor courses
  • Title and abstract of your Master thesis
  • Motivation letter describing how the past experience and research interests fits the profile sketched in this call
  • Contact details of two referees
  • Optionally you can additionally upload publications to which you have contributed
  • Certificates regarding your proficiency in English
  • The deadline to submit an application is Friday, 30th April . The anticipated start date is 1st September, 2021 (with some flexibility possible) for a period of four years.

    Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or post will not be considered.

    Questions regarding the position should be directed to Dr. Gina Garland by email at gina.garland (no applications).

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