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PostDoc position in Soil Science: RootMix

PostDoc position in Soil Science: RootMix – Mixed cultivar systems to mitigate drought effects on Nordic crop production

Department of Geoscience and Natural Resource Management

Faculty of Science

University of Copenhagen

The Department for Geoscience and Natural Resource Management, at the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) is offering a PostDoc position in Soil Science on mixed cultivar systems to mitigate drought effects on Nordic crop production commencing 01.05.2021 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Description of the scientific environment

The successful applicant will be based at the Terrestrial Ecosystem Analysis Group, Geography Section, thereby joining a lively research environment with a focus on a deeper understanding of biogeochemical, physical, geochemical and biological processes in terrestrial ecosystems. Our section is a diverse group comprising research and teaching staff members, laboratory technicians, PhD candidates and MSc and BSc students, focusing on many aspects of physical and human geography as well as natural resource management. The section has state-of-the-art laboratory facilities and substantial experience in conducting laboratory and field-based experiments.

Project description

The PostDoc position is part of a 3-year joint project between the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) in Uppsala, Sweden and the University of Copenhagen financed by Novo Nordisk Fonden. The work at the University of Copenhagen will be led by Associate Professor Carsten W. Mueller and Associate Professor Dorette Sophie Müller-Stöver (Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences).

Spring droughts are becoming a major threat for crop production in the Nordic countries. Swedish and Danish crop yields decreased by 20-40% due to the drought in spring 2018. With climate change, such events will become more frequent and severe, causing tremendous costs.

In an interdisciplinary approach, we will test whether mixed cultivar systems combining shallow and deep rooting cultivars are more drought resistant (i.e. productive) than single cultivar systems. Spring barley will be used as a model crop due to its great importance for crop production in Nordic countries. In a set of cultivars, we will quantify relationships between root system traits, soil resource exploration and drought tolerance. We will then quantify effects of mixed cultivar systems on soil exploration by roots and the acquisition of water and nutrients under drought. Finally, we will quantify the agronomic performance, resource acquisition and mycorrhizal diversity of mixed cultivar systems subjected to drought under field conditions in Denmark and Sweden. The work will be conducted in close collaboration with the project PI Professor Thomas Keller (SLU, Uppsala Sweden) and the co-applicants Tino Colombi (SLU, Uppsala Sweden) and Professor Björn Lindahl (SLU, Uppsala Sweden).

Principal supervisor is Associate Professor Carsten W. Mueller, Dept. for Geoscience and Natural Resource Management, Co-supervisor is Associate Professor Dorette Sophie Müller-Stöver, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences,

Job description

The position is available for a 28 months period and your key tasks as a PostDoc at SCIENCE are:

  • planning and managing field and greenhouse experiments (incl. phenotyping of barley cultivars)
  • measurement and analysis of root traits using different imaging approaches
  • studying C, N and P cycles at plant-soil interface using isotopic labelling
  • measurement of trace gas fluxes (CO2, CH4, N2O)
  • publishing of experimental results and synergies
  • teaching and dissemination of your research
  • staying at SLU in Uppsala for periods of time to conduct experiments
The post may also include performance of other duties.

Formal requirements

Applicants have to hold a PhD degree in plant physiology, geoecology, agriculture, biology, biogeochemistry or a closely related field. As criteria for the assessment of your qualifications, emphasis will be laid on publication record and relevant work experience.

We are seeking a highly motivated and ambitious individual with good interpersonal and communication skills. The successful candidate should have professional experience as stated below:

  • strong knowledge on soil biogeochemical processes
  • practical experience in planning and conducting field and greenhouse experiments with plant-soil systems
  • experience with trace gas measurements and chemical soil analyses including soil organic matter studies
  • experience with and interest for isotope analyses will be an advantage
  • knowledge about and experience with statistical data analysis
  • experience with and interest for the study of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi is an asset
  • Expertise in statistics and the use of statistical software (R, SAS, SPSS) are a merit

Fluency in spoken and written English is a requirement.

Further information on the Department is linked at For specific information, please contact Carsten W. Mueller, Department for Geoscience and Natural Resource Management,

Terms of employment

The position is covered by the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff.

Terms of appointment and payment accord to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State.

The starting salary is currently at a minimum DKK 34,654.79 (approx. € 4,651) including annual supplement (+ pension up to DKK 5,925.96). Negotiation for salary supplement is possible.

Application Procedure

The application, in English, must be submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.

Please include

  • Cover Letter (1 page) describing your background, personal qualities, research interests and motivation for applying for this position
  • CV, including scientific education, professional experience and outreach (max. 2 pages)
  • PhD iploma
  • Complete publication list
  • Separate PDF of 3 particular relevant own papers
The University wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.

The deadline for applications is 28.02.2021, 23:59 GMT +1

Procedures and shortlisting

After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Interview Committee. Afterwards, an assessment committee will be appointed to evaluate the selected applications. The applicants will be notified of the composition of the committee and the final selection of a successful candidate will be made by the Head of Department, based on the recommendations of the assessment committee and the interview committee.

You can read more about the recruitment process at


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