We are inviting applications for a PhD position in the group of Environmental Chemistry within the Institute of biogeochemistry and pollutant dynamics (IBP) at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich. The position is advertised by Dr. Michael Sander and Prof. Kristopher McNeill.
The mission of the IBP is to advance the understanding of biogeochemical cycles and processes in natural and man-made environments and potential responses to human activity and global change. IBP contributes to advancing science and addressing societal challenges via cutting-edge research, dynamic and engaging educational activities and dialogue with decision makers and the public. More information can be found here: www.ibp.ethz.ch/the-institute.
Modern agricultural practices heavily rely on the use of polymer mulch films to increase crop yields. Mulch films are conventionally composed of polyethylene (PE), a polymer that persists in agricultural soils if these films are not completely recovered from the fields after use. One promising strategy to avoid plastic accumulation is to replace conventional PE-based much films with biodegradable mulch films composed of polymers that soil microorganisms can utilize to form CO2 and microbial biomass.
This PhD project will address critical remaining knowledge gaps that relate to the rates and extents of mulch film biodegradation in agricultural soils as well as variations between soils. In addition to following film biodegradation over time, a focus will be on advancing a fundamental understanding of the steps involved in mulch film biodegradation (i.e., microbial colonization, enzymatic depolymerization, microbial utilization of polymer). The focus of the project will be on laboratory experiments and will involve state of the art analysis techniques, including advanced (spectro)microscopy, polymer extraction and quantification techniques, as well as soil incubations coupled to respirometric analyses. The laboratory experiments will be complemented by mesocosm and field experiments when needed.
The student will be part of the EU Innovative Training Network, which includes frequent travelling to the project study areas and half-yearly one-week training events distributed over several countries of Europe. Moreover, stays of one month each at several project partners are planned.
We are looking for highly motivated candidates that should hold a MSc or Diploma degree (or equivalent) in environmental chemistry, soil chemistry, microbiology, chemistry, agricultural sciences, or a related field. The candidate should have a strong interest in environmental chemistry of plastics, soil chemistry, and/or environmental microbiology. Good communication skills in English (written and spoken), preferably also in German, and the ability to work within a larger team are essential. Employment will be according to standard regulations at ETH. The salary follows the fixed regulations of Marie-Skłodowska-Curie Action-Projects for scientific employees within the Horizon 2020 framework.
Following the rules of Innovative Training Networks, applicants need to be in the first four years (full-time equivalent) of their research careers and have not been awarded a doctoral degree. To foster international exchange of early stage researchers, the applicants should not have resided in the country of the host institution (Switzerland) for more than 12 months in the last 3 years (except refugees).
Applicants should submit a curriculum vitae, a brief statement of research interests (1 page), copies of bachelor and master transcripts, a list of courses taken and grades received, a summary of the master thesis (if completed/applicable), and names and contact information or reference letters of 2-3 referees. These documents should be submitted as a single pdf file through www.jobs.ethz.ch.
For further details on the project please contact Dr. Michael Sander by mail (Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org). For further information on the Environmental Chemistry research group, please visit our homepages: www.envchem.ethz.ch and www.envchem.ethz.ch/people/sanderm.
The evaluation of applicants will start January 15th 2021 and will continue until the position is filled. The position will be available as of July 1st, 2021.
|Titel||PhD position in Environmental Chemistry on the topic ‘Elucidating biodegradation of polymeric films in agricultural soils’|
|Job location||Rämistrasse 101, 8006 Zurich|
|Publiceret||december 3, 2020|
|Områder||Agronomi,   Materialvidenskab,   Biokemi,   Mikrobiologi,   Jordbundslære,   Miljøkemi,   Polymerkemi,   Geokemi  |