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    Opportunity: Systems engineer / Control engineer (m/f/div) @ Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research (MPIPZ) -- Cologne, Germany
    Submitted by Max-Planck-Institut f├╝r Pflanzenz├╝chtungsforschung; posted on Tuesday, August 31, 2021

    The Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research (MPIPZ) is one of the world's premier sites for research into fundamental processes in plant biology. Around 400 staff from all over the world work at the institute, which consists of four scientific departments, several independent research groups, and specialist support. The Department of Plant Microbe Interactions at the MPIPZ is a global leader in research that seeks to define the principles as well as consequences of plant interactions with harmful and beneficial microorganisms.

    We are inviting applications for a

    Systems engineer / Control engineer (m/f/div)


    Human actions are driving rapid changes to the ecological environment at a global scale, reducing biodiversity by causing extinctions and altering the population sizes of surviving species. This has motivated research efforts aimed at a deeper understanding of how natural and anthropogenic environmental changes influence biodiversity and impact ecosystem functions. However, current research is mainly limited to collection and analysis of observational data and modelling approaches. In the next four years, we will develop an alternative approach to explore the stability and dynamics of terrestrial ecosystems by constructing synthetic ecosystems of increasing complexity, which are amenable to reproducible and controlled perturbation, high-resolution monitoring, and genetic manipulation.


    The aim of this project is to design and build small scale synthetic ecosystems in gnotobiotic chambers inspired by naturally occurring terrestrial ecosystems which will include small communities of plants, microbes (i.e., bacteria, fungi) and small animals (i.e., nematodes). These 'eco chambers' need to be designed to allow for control of environmental parameters (e.g., light, humidity, temperature) and real-time monitoring of relevant parameters such as atmosphere composition, plant biomass through imaging approaches, etc. The selected candidate will join a team of researchers with expertise in ecology, molecular biology, and bioinformatics, dedicated to the development and use of these synthetic ecosystems for hypothesis-driven ecological research.


    We seek a creative and motivated candidate with a master's degree in Electrical Engineering, Mechatronics, Process Engineering, Automation Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Physical Engineering, Scientific Instrumentation or comparable qualification. The ideal candidate will be expected to work in an international, multi-disciplinary team of scientists and be able to carry out the following tasks:
    • Development, construction, support and optimization of experimental setups and sensor technology for ecosystem research.
    • Design of equipment for the acquisition and manipulation of ecological processes, together with scientific collaborators.
    • Programming of the automation and data transmission of the devices and installations.
    • Supervision of modern gas analysis and environmental measurement technology.
    • Organization and implementation of projects in the laboratory and field.
    • Documentation of experimental setups and evaluation of measurement data.


    This position is available immediately, and the initial contract is for a duration of two years with a possibility for extension. Salary and social benefits will be in accordance with the regulations of the German TVöD Bund (E 13; salary agreement for public service employees). The successful applicant will join a dedicated research team lead by the head of department, Prof. Dr. Paul Schulze-Lefert and the group leader, Dr. Ruben Garrido-Oter.

    The Max Planck Society is committed to increasing the number of individuals with disabilities in its workforce and therefore encourages applications from such qualified individuals. Further, the Max Planck Society seeks to increase the percentage of women in those areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourages female candidates to apply.

    Applicants are requested to submit a motivation letter and CV (in English as a single PDF file) including the names and affiliations of two referees through the online system, by October 10th, 2021.


    German TVöD Bund (E 13; salary agreement for public service employees)


    Through the online system:[...]epage


    October 10th, 2021.

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