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For the project "PatHogens of Algae for Biocontrol and Biosecurity (PHABB)" we are inviting applications for a doctoral student position starting in summer 2024, spanning a duration of 36 months.

Funded by the prestigious HORIZON–MSCA-2022-DN program of the European Commission, PHABB unites eight European institutions alongside the University of Aberdeen, thanks to co-funding by UK Research and Innovation. Collaborating with several industry partners, our mission within PHABB is to cultivate the next cohort of researchers and engineers poised to address the intricate biological and evolutionary mechanisms underpinning microbial community dynamics, virulence, and host specificity of pathogens targeting both beneficial and detrimental algae. Our overarching goal is to pioneer novel strategies for disease management in seaweeds and combatting harmful algal blooms. Situated at the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) in Berlin, the doctoral project within PHABB aims to unlock the mysteries surrounding harmful algal bloom (HAB) pathogens. Our objectives encompass identifying pivotal factors influencing disease dynamics (including anthropogenic stressors, such as elevated temperature and various pollutants), evaluating adaptation to novel environments through experimental evolution, and exploring the significance of HAB diversity in pathogen resistance. Employing a diverse array of methodologies, including experimental assays, field collections, metabarcoding, and transcriptomics, we aim to illuminate the intricate interplay between algae and their pathogens.

The successful candidate will enrol in a PhD program at the Free University Berlin, benefiting from two planned secondments: at BioPol (Iceland) and at the University of Aberdeen (UK).

Your tasks

  • Designing and executing laboratory experiments focusing on various HAB species and their pathogens
  • Analysing field plankton samples, employing microscopy and cutting-edge metabarcoding techniques
  • Isolating and processing RNA/DNA extracted from both HAB species and their respective pathogens
  • Publishing in scientific journals and conference presentations
  • Active participation in PHABB Doctoral Network

Your profile

  • Master’s Degree in Biology or related field
  • Demonstrated experience in experimental work
  • Experience with molecular/genomic techniques would be advantageous
  • Strong statistical or bioinformatic skills
  • Collaborative team player
  • Effective communication skills in English, including scientific writing


To be eligible for this PhD position the applicant should fulfil the trans-national mobility criterion, i.e. not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Germany for more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately before the recruitment date — unless as part of a compulsory national service or a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention. In addition, the applicant has to be — at the date of recruitment — a doctoral candidate (i.e. not already in possession of a doctoral degree). Researchers who have successfully defended their doctoral thesis but who have not yet formally been awarded the doctoral degree will not be considered eligible.

Our offer

We offer an exciting position in an international and dynamic team of researchers, and an attractive scientific working environment including excellent equipment and technical support. We foster flat hierarchies and active participation and offer a variety of training opportunities. We actively support the reconciliation of work and family life. Qualified women are particularly encouraged to apply. The IGB is committed to diversity. We welcome every application, regardless of gender and gender identity, origin, nationality, religion, belief, health and physical disabilities, age or sexual orientation. Disabled applicants with equal qualification and aptitude will be given preferential consideration.

This is a full-time position with 3 years duration and a tentative start date of 01.07.2024 (or shortly thereafter). For the salary of the Marie Sklodowska-Curie PhDs in Germany the European Commission provides a monthly Living Allowance of 3,342.20 € plus a monthly Mobility Allowance of 600 €. Researchers who have or acquire family obligations during their employment are also awarded a monthly Family Allowance of 660 €. Please note that the combined amounts form the monthly gross employer salary, which is subject to deductions and taxes as per national law. The monthly gross salary varies, depending on the personal circumstances, and amounts to approximately 3,250 €/3,800 € (without family allowance/with family allowance). Family is defined as persons linked to the researcher by (i) marriage, or (ii) a relationship with equivalent status to a marriage recognised by the legislation of the country or region where this relationship was formalised, or (iii) dependent children who are actually being maintained by the researcher. A Special Needs Allowance might be awarded to recruited researchers with disabilities whose long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments are certified by a competent national authority and of such nature that their participation in the action would not be possible without the special needs items or services.

Are you interested?

We look forward to receiving your application (letter of motivation indicating research interests and experience, CV, certificates, contact information of two potential referees; as a single PDF document) by 22.04.2023. Please state the job reference number 09/2024 and apply exclusively via our recruitment platform at Enquiries can be directed to Prof. Justyna Wolinska at

“Research for the future of our freshwaters” is the mission of the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB). The IGB is Germany’s largest and one of the leading international research centres for freshwaters. We seek to understand the fundamental processes governing freshwaters and their communities. Our research findings help to tackle global environmental changes. The IGB is a diverse and inspiring place to work and conduct research. We promote individual development at every career level. With more than 350 employees and guests from all over the world, we conduct research at five locations in Berlin and at Lake Stechlin (Brandenburg). IGB closely collaborates with numerous national and international universities and other partners in science and society and is a member of the Leibniz Association, which connects 96 independent public research institutes in Germany.