PhD Bioinspired Plant Hybrid Materials

The Cluster of Excellence livMatS develops completely novel, life-like materials systems that adapt autonomously to various environments and harvest clean energy from their surroundings. The intention of these purely technical – yet in a behavioral sense quasi-living – materials systems is to meet the demands of humans with regard to pioneering environmental and energy technologies. The societal relevance of autonomous systems and their sustainability will thus play an important role in their development. The research program of livMatS is characterized by highly interdisciplinary collaboration between researchers from a broad range of fields including engineering, chemistry, physics, biology, psychology, the humanities, and sustainability science.

The livMats Cluster of Excellence is offering a PhD position in the following project:

Bioinspired Plant Hybrid Materials

Start-date: 01 April 2024

Project description
The Bioinspired Plant-hybrid Materials Group is led by Isabella Fiorello, a Junior Group Leader with over 6 years of experience in smart materials, plant biomechanics, and soft robotics ( Our research focuses on developing a new class of bioinspired miniaturized materials capable of precisely interacting with complex, unstructured surfaces for applications in precision agriculture, aerospace, and soft robotics.
Your responsibilities will include:

  • Investigating the morphology and biomechanics of selected living organisms, primarily plants, to design new materials.
  • Developing new protocols and tools for the creation of bioinspired and/or biohybrid materials at small scales, ranging from centimeters to micrometers.
  • Writing publications and presenting at international conferences.

Candidate profile

  • A Master's degree in Biology, Biotechnology, Biochemistry, Bioengineering, Materials Science, Microsystems Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, or a related field.
  • Experience with CAD design (SolidWorks®), 3D printing (bioprinter, SLA, two-photon lithography), and mechanical tests (e.g., tensile tests).
  • Basic knowledge of Plant Biomechanics and/or Microsystems Engineering.
  • High motivation to achieve significant scientific results.
  • Creativity and innovation skills.
  • Good communication skills in English.
  • Ability to work in a multidisciplinary and international environment.

Please hand in:

  • Letter of intent detailing why you are interested in this specific project and how your previous research qualifies you for the project (up to 1,500 words)
  • Curriculum Vitae with list of publications (if applicable)
  • Certified copies of your university degree(s) with grades (Bachelor and Master certificate / Diploma certificate and transcript / doctoral certificate)
  • Short summary of your Master thesis (up to 1,000 words)
  • Work sample (chapter from recent thesis or journal article, up to 5,000 words)
  • Suggestion of two referees with contact details
  • Your documents will not be returned after the application process. For this reason, please submit copies only. The position is funded for 48 months and your salary will be determined in accordance with TV-L E13. We are particularly pleased to receive applications from women for the position advertised here.

Please send your application in English including supporting documents mentioned above citing the reference number 00003348, Application deadline is 08 December 2023. Application is to be emailed as ONE SINGLE PDF FILE to

Direct all scientific questions about the project to Dr. Isabella Fiorello