Research Scientist Position: “Genomic Basis of Marine Sponge Symbioses” – Deadline 12 December 2023

GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel is a foundation under public law jointly financed by the Federal Republic of Germany (90%) and the State of Schleswig-Holstein (10%). It is one of the internationally leading institutions in the field of marine research.

Through our research and our commitment to the transfer of knowledge and technology, we contribute significantly to the preservation of the function and protection of the ocean for future generations.

The research unit Marine Symbioses of the research division Marine Ecology is offering a Research Scientist Position (m/f/d) “Genomic Basis of Marine Sponge Symbioses”,  starting on the nearest possible date.

Project Description:

The Hentschel lab at GEOMAR seeks to elucidate the physiological and metabolic functioning and mechanisms of interaction between marine sponges and their symbiotic microbial consortia. Our research covers fundamental aspects of biodiversity in sponge-microbe symbioses and addresses how sponges function, evolve, and influence marine habitats.

We seek to fill a research scientist position to take a leading role in exploring the genomic underpinnings of sponge symbioses. A particular interest lies in the definition of genes and gene products that define how host-symbiont collaborations have arisen, how they are maintained and how they compare to other metazoan phyla. We welcome approaches that combine sponge genome/metagenome sequencing with laboratory experimentation.


The successful candidate will utilize bioinformatic, genomic or meta-omic-based technologies to (1) explore the basis of marine sponge-symbiont interactions, (2) lead the preparation of research papers and grant proposals, (3) and supervise and train students.


A PhD or equivalent in biology or life sciences is required. Candidates must be able to undertake substantial research and scholarship and must be knowledgeable in one or more of the following disciplines: symbiosis, genomics, microbiology, bioinformatics, molecular biology.

Further Required experience/skills are:

  • Knowledge of fundamental concepts in symbiosis research
  • Proficiency with bioinformatic skills to process genomics/meta-omics datasets
  • Ability to lead a junior research group and supervise students
  • Excellent English language skills

Preferred experience/skills

  • Publication record in symbiosis research

At a workplace, directly on the Kiel Fjord with many leisure and recreational opportunities, we offer you:

  • Good conditions for work-life balance: We offer, among other things, the possibility of mobile working and individual working time arrangements, vacation courses for the children of our employees, and good support in finding a place in a daycare center at the Kiel site
  • Support services for professional and personal life situations
  • An exciting work environment with the opportunity to provide important impetus for the development of sustainable solutions
  • Exciting topics in an international environment
  • Work in the field of marine and climate research, a forward-looking area with social significance
  • 30 vacation days + additional time off at Christmas and New Year’s Eve
  • Company pension plan and capital-forming benefits

The position is for 3 years with an option for an additional 3 years if the evaluation is positive. The fixed-term contract shall comply with § 2 Abs. 1 WissZeitVG

The salary depends on qualification and could be up to the class 13 TVöD-Bund of the German tariff for public employees. This is a full-time position and can be split. Flexible working time models are generally possible.

GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel seeks to increase the proportion of female scientists and explicitly encourages qualified female academics to apply.

GEOMAR is an equal opportunity employer and encourages scientists with disabilities to apply. Qualified disabled applicants will receive preference in the application process.

Please send your application for this post not later than 12th December 2023 under the following link: Online application

As soon as the selection procedure has finished, all your application data will be removed according to data protection regulation.

For further information regarding the position and research unit please contact Prof. Dr. Ute Hentschel Humeida (

However, we will answer all your questions if you send us an e-mail to In doing so, please refer to the keyword “Marine Sponge Genomics”.

Read more about the opportunity here.

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