ETH Zurich
Institute of Agricultural Sciences
Prof. Nina Buchmann

Plant ecophysiology

PhD position

The Institute of Agricultural Sciences at ETH Zurich, Chair of Grassland Sciences (Prof. Nina Buchmann), seeks a PhD student in plant ecophysiology

Research within the project “Resilience of Organic and Conventional Production Systems to Drought” will focus on plant ecophysiology of arable crops to management (organic & conventional, with & without tillage) and to simulated summer drought. The overall goal is to test which farming system is more resistant and resilient to future climatic conditions and to identify the underlying mechanisms. This PhD project will study (1) where crop plants take up their water under ambient and drought conditions, (2) how this affects the water relations of plants; and (3) if water sourcing and water use differ among the farming systems. Using an established field trial, this joint project is carried out in a team with colleagues and another PhD student (focusing on belowground biological diversity and soil structure; Prof. van der Heijden) from Agroscope.

Tasks include set-up and maintenance of portable roofs; collection, preparation and stable isotope analyses of precipitation, soil and plant waters; assessment of plant water relations (gas exchange, water potentials, leaf traits, surface temperature) as well as statistical analyses. We expect participation in synthesis efforts and outreach to stakeholders.

We look for a dynamic, reliable and highly motivated student with M.Sc. (or equivalent) in plant ecophysiology, agricultural or environmental sciences or related disciplines. The applicant should have a strong interest in process and system oriented research and should like field work. Good statistics skills and experiences with stable isotope applications are highly beneficial. Driving license and English language proficiency are required.

The research will be carried out within a 3-year project, starting in spring/summer 2017. We offer an interesting position in an international, interdisciplinary research group at a lively university environment in Zurich as well as international working experiences. Salary and social benefits are provided according to ETH Zurich rules.

For further information, please contact Prof. Nina Buchmann by email and/or visit our web page

Please submit your complete application (CV, copies of all Bachelor and Master certificates, transcripts, letter of motivation) online (via the “apply now” button ) and address it to: ETH Zurich, Mr. Olivier Meyrat, Human Resources, 8092 Zurich. Applications via email will not be considered. Evaluation procedure will start 15th April 2017. Applications will be reviewed until the position is filled.

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