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PhD Thesis

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Your options at ZALF and our expectations

Kai Nitzsche, Ph.D. candidate, taking sediment samples from kettle holes in the Uckermark region. (Foto: K. Nitzsche)

ZALF offers you:

  • Excellent connections to all higher education institutions in the Berlin-Brandenburg region and to the most prestigious universities in Germany and the rest of Europe. We help you to find the right higher education institution for you to obtain a PhD.
  • Your doctoral research project is integrated into dedicated teams of researchers whose specialised exchange and input help you to reflect upon matters outside the boundary of your PhD thesis.
  • An experienced Senior Scientist will accompany you throughout all stages of your PhD, offering regular supervisory meetings, and will help you to develop as a scholar and to further your career plans.
  • The opportunity to establish your own research network during your PhD studies.
  • We will provide you with specialised and financial support so that you can present your work at national and international conferences.
  • You can present your work at institute colloquia, enabling you to hone your scientific expertise and further develop your methodological skills.
  • ZALF will help you to conclude your PhD thesis with high-calibre English specialist articles, enabling you to present your topic to experts, qualifying you for your later career.
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    Isabell von Rein extracting Phospholipid Fatty Acids (PLFAs) from forest soil samples for her PhD thesis. (Picture: I. v. Rein)
  • Staff at ZALF’s library provide assistance in the form of one-on-one consultation and training, a wide range of offers concerning data research and the selection of suitable international journals where your scientific results can be published.
  • During your PhD phase at ZALF, you may participate free of charge in several high-calibre further training events in order to develop your PhD thesis and to prepare publications in leading international journals.
  • When qualifying for an academic career, it is important to take on teaching responsibilities. We will help you to gain experience in knowledge transfer at national and international higher education institutions by awarding teaching assignments.
  • We will provide assistance in applying for and realising periods abroad in the context of your doctoral research project, such as with long-standing research partners of ZALF in Europe and further afield.
  • An extensive ZALF-internal financial support programme (to finance the final stage of your PhD studies, initial funding for your own research projects after completing your PhD) is available exclusively to our PhD students.
  • Once you have completed your PhD, we will help you to prepare applications for funding from the German Research Foundation (DFG) for your own research projects as a post-doc at ZALF.

What we expect from you:

  • You will meet all of the formal criteria for eligibility to a PhD program, in particular the formal requirement of admission as a PhD student at the University of your choice.
  • You will prepare a cumulative PhD on the basis of a minimum of three scientific articles in international peer-reviewed journals within the space of three years.
  • You will work independently on your research topic in a highly motivated manner and will make proactive use of the services offered by ZALF for your information requirements.
  • You will be capable of independently establishing a network of experts for your subject area, embedded in a research network comprising ZALF and its national and international partners.
  • You will possess a high degree of scientific curiosity, the ability to work in a team and readiness to work scientifically, and you will be keen to complete your PhD thesis promptly.
  • You will be open to gaining experience in an international team of researchers during periods spent abroad.
  • You will be willing to discuss your findings with experts at scientific conferences.

Why not take a look at our current vacancies or apply speculatively (it is best to request a list of the application documents required by e-mail from the supervisor of the project).

Other topics for PhD theses can be found here.

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