The professorship for Physical Geography and Soil Science at the Julius-Maximilians-University of Würzburg (JMU) offers a position, starting as soon as possible, for a Research assistant (m/f/d) / PhD student.

Northern Bavaria is a hotspot of climate change and projections predict a sharp rise in temperature as well as an increase in heavy rainfall events and soil erosion. Lower Franconia, which is one of the most heat-stressed and driest regions in Germany, is already affected by rising temperatures and extreme weather events, which lead to impacts on population, nature, and the economy. Therefore, it must be assumed that the resilience of natural and cultural landscapes will be significantly reduced. In this context, the region of the Franconian Main Valley is particularly affected, since in this area enormous social demands meet challenging natural conditions. This is mainly due to the narrow spatial conditions of the Main Valley with, partly, very steep slopes. The EFRE-project “MainPro“ aims to respond to these social challenges with ecosystem-based concepts/approaches and solutions to reduce geohazards and to protect environmental resources. For this purpose, current and future hazard scenarios of geo-ecosystems will be analyzed. The focus is placed primarily on degraded areas, slopes at risk of landslides or erosion, catchment areas of flash floods, forest areas, and areas close to settlements.

Applicants are expected to develop hazard scenarios, to conduct field work in the study region, and to cooperate closely with project partners from remote sensing, human geography, ecology, and botany. We are seeking a team-oriented member for our research group with a keen interest in current environmental conditions and a willingness to learn various methods, both in the field (e.g., soil analysis, UAS-data collection) and in data analysis.

We are seeking a highly motivated candidate holding a M.Sc. degree with expertise in Physical geography. A strong interest and knowledge of terrain analysis, modeling, and/or digital data processing is desirable. The basic requirement is the ability to work independently as well as in an interdisciplinary team. Very good knowledge in the use of geographic information systems (GIS) is required. Furthermore, proficiency in the English language and the ability to write peer-reviewed publications and research reports are required.

We offer an exciting research environment in an interdisciplinary research team. The contract includes a 65 % position and is initially limited to 3 years. The salary is according to TV-L. The job description includes a PhD and participation in the faculty-supported graduate program.

The closing date for applications is 30th of September 2023. The position is to be filled as soon as possible. Applicants are invited to submit their application via email including a cover letter, CV, and all necessary certificates to:

Prof. Dr. Birgit Terhorst
Professur für Physische Geographie Institut für Geographie und Geologie ·
Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
Am Hubland · 97074 Würzburg

Inquiries or questions should be directed to:

The University of Würzburg is an equal opportunity employer. As such, we explicitly encourage applications from qualified women. Severely handicapped applicants will be given preferential consideration in the case of broadly equal suitability, ability, and professional achievements. If you prefer a written application, please send copies only. For cost reasons, application documents cannot be returned. They will be destroyed promptly after completion of the selection process.