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The Helmholtz Centre Potsdam – GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences is the national centre for geosphere research. As a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres we are part of the largest scientific organization in Germany. With approximately 1,300 employees our key mission is to secure a profound understanding of the systems and processes of solid Earth, to develop strategies and options for action in addressing global change and its impacts on a regional level, to understand natural hazards and to minimize associated risks, to ensure the sustainable provision of energy and raw materials for a high-tech society and to evaluate the influence of human activity on system Earth.
As a partner in Geo.X, the GFZ has access to an excellent network of other geoscience institutions in Potsdam and Berlin. This largest regional concentration of geoscientific competence in Europe offers first-class cooperation and development opportunities. 
To strengthen the microbiological part of the Interface Geochemistry team, we invite applications for a postdoctoral fellow position in Bioinformatics.

Research Associate (PostDoc) in Bioinformatics (f_m_x)

Reference Number 5927

The post holder will become part of a multidisciplinary team in the Interface Geochemistry section at the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) in Potsdam, Germany and closely interface with members of the Cryo-Microbiology group at Aarhus University in Denmark. The prime goal of the work will be to elucidate microbial processes on the Greenland Ice Sheet in the framework of the European Research Council (ERC) Synergy grant "Deep Purple". 

She/he/they will join the international and diverse team of researchers led by Liane G. Benning, who is very committed to fostering a fully inclusive research environment. Non-discrimination and equal treatment are integral parts of our group policy.

We are seeking a highly motivated and enthusiastic bioinformatic focussed scientist who wants to develop her/his/their skills in a complementary research environment, where different disciplines work closely together to obtain a holistic understanding of cryogenic microbial processes and interactions in snow and ice environments.

The focus will be on eukaryotes and bioinformatic analyses of sequencing data from various 'omic' approaches that target the interactions between algae and other cryophillic microbes. The aim is to derive variation in functionality and pathways of gene expression related to algal blooms both during melting in the summer and the consequences of re-freezing in the winter. Fieldwork, including camping on the Greenland Ice Sheet under harsh conditions is an integral part of the project. Further information about the science, the team and our fieldwork can be found on the DeepPurple website.

Your responsibilities:

  • Carry out original bioinformatic focussed research related to genomes, metagenomes, and in particular metatranscriptomes of cryophillic eukaryotic dominated samples from Greenland and other polar settings
  • Provide bioinformatics support to other projects within the team
  • Publish in international peer-reviewed journals; present research results at scientific meetings 
  • Lead and/or considerably contribute to writing proposals for third party funding opportunities 
  • Help co-supervise Masters and PhD students 

Your qualifications:

  • MSc and PhD in bioinformatics, geobiology, molecular microbiology, geoecology or equivalent in all cases with a strong computational focus
  • Specialized knowledge in next-generation sequencing data evaluation - ideally with a focus on eukaryotes
  • Documented record in developing and applying bioinformatic algorithms and pipelines to complex environmental samples
  • Capacity for interdisciplinary and international teamwork and excellent communication skills 
  • Documentable excellent publication and 3rd party funding records 
  • Polar fieldwork is a part of the project, so willingness / experience in outdoor activities is a bonus 
  • Proficiency in spoken and written English, German is an asset 


Start date: As soon as possible
Fixed-term: 2 years
Salary: The position is classed as salary group 13 according to “TVöD Bund (Tarifgebiet Ost)”. The salary group is determined on the basis of the Collective Wage Agreement and the respective personal qualifications.
Working hours: Full-time (currently 39 h/week); The position is generally suitable for part-time work.
Place of work: Potsdam

What we offer:

  • Ambitious and varied tasks in a dynamic and international research environment
  • State-of-the-art equipment
  • Public service benefits
  • Extensive training opportunities
  • Professional career advice offered by our in-house Career-Centre 
  • Flexible working hours and conditions
  • Support with finding a good work-life balance offered by benefit@work
  • Institute day-care centre on site
  • Working at the Albert Einstein science park on the Telegrafenberg in Potsdam
  • Work place within walking distance of Potsdam main train station, or just a short ride on the shuttle bus

Have we piqued your interest?

Please prepare and upload a single application document containing the following information:

  • (a) cover letter detailing how you fit the above described responsibilities and qualifications
  • (b) CV and publication list including names and contact of at least 2 referees
  • (c) max 2 page research statement
We look forward to receiving your application by 1st April 2022. Only applications submitted via the APPLY button below can be considered.

Diversity and equal opportunities are integral components of our human resources policy. The GFZ actively promotes diversity and explicitly welcomes applications from all qualified individuals, regardless of ethnic and social origin, nationality, gender, sexual orientation and identity, religion/belief, age and physical characteristics. Anyone who has been recognized as severely disabled, will be given preferential consideration in the event of equal suitability and qualification in accordance with the provisions of the German Social Code IX. If you have any questions, please contact our representative for the severely disabled at sbv@gfz-potsdam.de, who will be happy to assist you in the further application process. In case of further queries regarding gender equality, please do not hesitate to contact our Equal Opportunities Officer at gba@gfz-potsdam.de.

Your personal data will be processed for the purpose of conducting the selection procedure on the basis of Art. 6 para. 1 b, Art. 88 GDPR in conjunction with Art. 26 of the Data Protection Act for the State of Brandenburg. After completion of the procedure, application documents will be deleted in compliance with data protection regulations. Members of the Cryo-Microbiology group of the Aarhus University, Denmark will be involved in the selection procedure. Your personal data will, of course, be treated confidentially and will be communicated to the involved person exclusively for the purpose of evaluating your professional suitability within the framework of this selection procedure. Once the procedure has been completed, the personal data will also be deleted there in compliance with data protection regulations.

In case of any further queries relating to the field of activity, please contact Liane G. Benning via email at benning@gfz-potsdam.de. If you have any general questions about the application process, please contact Ms Buge under +49 (0)331-288-28787.

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