1 PhD position

Project team 12.10 PhosForest

Closing date for applications 19 February 2018

Model-experiment integration for constraining phosphorus and CO2 interactions in the Amazon rainforest. 

About us
The professorship “Land Surface-Atmosphere Interactions” at the Department of Ecology and Ecosystem Management investigates impacts of global climate change on terrestrial ecosystems and potential feedbacks at regional and global scale, specializing in nutrient interactions, feedbacks from land use change and droughts. For more information, see www.lsai.wzw.tum.de. 

You will work in an international project team that aims to advance our current understanding of P feedbacks by bridging the gap between observational-based ecology and ecosystem modelling. International partners from Brazil are Dr. Quesada (Manaus, INPA) and Dr. Lapola (Campinas, Unicamp), experts in tropical P cycling and ecosystem modelling.

Your profile
Full university degree (Diploma/M.Sc.) in Earth Science, Ecology, Computer Science, Mathematics, Geo-Ecology, Environmental Science or a related discipline.

  • Sound programming skills applied to ecosystem modelling and strong interest in developing dynamic global vegetation models is essential, experience with object oriented programming (preferably C++) is considered an advantage.
  • Willingness to conduct field or laboratory work to assist model development and to spend considerable time abroad with collaboration partners in Brazil is required.
  • Knowledge in soil science, tropical ecology and vegetation dynamics is beneficial.
  • You should be able to communicate concepts and results in fluent English, and we expect you to be dedicated, independent, creative and a responsible team player.

The functioning and the resilience of the Amazon forest in the light of global climate change is of great uncertainty, among other factors due to the unclear role of phosphorus (P) feedbacks in the system. The low availability of P in the Amazon may limit the forests ability to act as a carbon (C) sink due to elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), i.e. the CO2 fertilization effect. Global dynamic vegetation models are progressively incorporating P feedbacks but profound mechanistic understanding of the key P-related processes in tropical soils and plants are currently lacking. Tropical ecosystem responses to climate change and eCO2 are therefore poorly constrained by ecosystem models. 

You will address uncertainties in P cycle constraints on the CO2 fertilization effect in the Amazon by 1) alleviating the data lack and providing key measurements from the Amazon to increase mechanistic understanding, and 2) translate those into ecosystem model(s) to improve the representation of P cycle processes. Together with the associated doctoral researchers of the project, you will develop new modeling approaches for soil P cycling, synthesize existing data, and employ new laboratory or field analysis to improve observation-based estimates of P stocks and/or fluxes in the Amazon, all to be integrated in the development of two contrasting ecosystem models that our team is working with. The ecosystem models are then employed to assess the P control on the CO2 fertilization effect at larger scale. Overall, the proposed work will advance our understanding of P control on the functioning of the Amazon rainforest, which is essential in predicting its response to global change.
Upon completion, you will have gained expertise in observation- and model-based ecosystem ecology and be part of a diverse international research team.

Our offer
Stimulating working environment and an interdisciplinary research team. A stipend equivalent to TV-L E13 for 36 months (with a positive interim evaluation required after 12 months) with additional funding available for travel, conference visits, stay abroad and personal development. TUM is an equal opportunity employer. Qualified women are therefore particularly encouraged to apply. Applicants with disabilities are treated with preference given comparable qualification.

Please send your electronic application before 19th of February 2018 (including a compelling cover letter demonstrating interest in and qualifications for the planned project, CV, certificates, and two letters of reference) as a single PDF via email to: Dr. Katrin Fleischer (Katrin.Fleischer@tum.de). For further inquiries, please contact Dr. Katrin Fleischer or Prof. Anja Rammig (Anja.Rammig@tum.de)


1 PhD position

Project team 11.09 INTERACT

Closing date for applications 28 February 2018

Project description
In cognitive neuroscience, sound sequences are used as abstracted models for temporal and sensorimotor processing in individuals and multi-agent interactions. In engineering, Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCI) and Neurofeedback applications have been developed for providing users with alternative pathways of communication, as well as neurorehabilitation treatment protocols. Bridging these two fields, the goal of this project is the interdisciplinary development of a Brain-Computer Interface platform for investigating the human brain in continuous interaction with synthesized sound and music stimuli. e.g. the underlying neural dynamics of entrainment, temporal prediction, synchronization and adaptation. 
You will be a member of project team 11.09 INTERACT in collaboration with partners from the Georgetown University Medical Center. Your task will be on the systems engineering side: development and validation of sound synthesis algorithms; development and validation of Brain-to- Sound interfaces; collaboration with researchers at Georgetown on implementing/transferring neuroscientific theories and models into algorithms and interfaces.

You have your Master/Diploma degree in either Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Physics, or equivalent. You are proficient in MATLAB, C/C++, and Python. Prior experience in human study design, EEG data acquisition, EEG data processing and statistical analysis is an asset. You have knowledge in and a strong appreciation for music theory and sound synthesis (preferably active musician). You are fluent in verbal and written English (C1-level). Experience in scientific project management and proposal writing is an asset. We expect you to have good communication skills, the ability to work in a team and are willing to spend time abroad in the US.

The scholarship and appointment terms are consistent with the current rules for PhD degree students. The period of employment is 3 years. The approximate starting date is the 1st of April 2018, or soon after this date.

Deadline for applications is 28 February 2018. Please send your applications (PDF files) with

(1) a cover letter
(2) your CV with photo
(3) list of publications
(4) letters of recommendation
(5) certificates including credit points and marks

via email to
Prof. Dr. Gordon Cheng (info@ics.ei.tum.de)
Chair for Cognitive Systems | Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Karlstraße 45
80333 München 
phone +49 (89) 289-26800