livMatS JRG Program Bioinspired Materials Concepts

International Call

The Cluster of Excellence Living, Adaptive and Energy-autonomous Materials Systems (livMatS) strives to promote early scientific independence of early career researchers within an interdisciplinary setting. The livMatS Junior Research Group Program is an essential building block of the Cluster’s early career advancement objectives.

The Cluster’s Junior Research Group Program aims to provide excellent early career researchers with the means and room to establish their own group in a highly interdisciplinary environment at the University of Freiburg, Germany. The intended focus of this Junior Research Group is in research and development within the following fields:

• Bioinspired materials and surfaces
• Bioinspired soft machines and soft robots
• Bioinspired systems research
• Bioinspired sensing and actuation
• Bioinspired energy harvesting, storage and conversion

The research focus of the candidate can be situated at any hierarchical level from the molecule over mesoscopic to macroscopic bioinspired materials or materials systems. Research addressing different hierarchical levels is of added value.

The Cluster of Excellence Living, Adaptive and Energy-autonomous Materials Systems (livMatS) at the University of Freiburg develops completely novel, bioinspired materials systems that adapt autonomously to various environments and harvest clean energy from their surroundings. The research program of livMatS is characterized by highly interdisciplinary collaboration between researchers from engineering, chemistry, physics, biology, psychology, philosophy, and sustainability research. Research in four interlinked research areas targets Concepts for Energy Autonomy and Integration, Concepts for Adaptive and Active Materials Systems, Concepts for the Longevity of Systems Functions, and Societal Challenges – Sustainability Assessment and Investigation of Psychological, Philosophical, and Ethical Implications of Living Materials Systems. Research in these areas is integrated through the development of technology demonstrators.

The chosen candidate will become a Principal Investigator of livMatS. They are expected to establish a vigorous and independent research program and build up an internationally visible research group that makes central contributions to cluster research. The candidate is expected to publish in high-ranking journals, attract funding for their own group, and integrate and strengthen the interdisciplinary and collaborative environment of the Cluster.

Duration, Funding and Starting Date
Funding within the program is up to 950.000 € for the duration of five years. The funding can be used for the candidate’s position and the establishment of a Junior Research Group. The candidate will be employed at the University of Freiburg. The position is a full-time position (100%) for a period of five years. The salary will be determined in accordance with TV-L E 14. The funding includes a position for a doctoral researcher (48 months, 65%, TV-L 13), a position for a lab technician (50%, up to TV-L E9), consumables, and an initial investment package of 80,000 €.

We offer access to institutional infrastructure, including modern laboratory space and state-of-the-art facilities at the Freiburg Center for Interactive Materials and Bioinspired Technologies (FIT). In addition, we provide opportunities to collaborate with the application-oriented Fraunhofer Institutes ISE and IWM and the Ökoinstitut e.V., which are partner institutions of the Cluster. There are also opportunities for career advancement training and mentoring opportunities at the University. Funding can only be used for activities at the University of Freiburg.

We envisage candidates to start their group in May 2023 at the latest.

Target Group and Funding Criteria
The call targets researchers within two to six years of their postdoctoral experience in the areas of biology/biomimetics, materials research, physics, engineering, soft matter chemistry or physics. Applicants must have a track record of outstanding academic work in their field, with first and/or corresponding author publications. Additional criteria include prizes and awards, a proven record of obtaining extramural funding, and international mobility. Excellent interper-sonal and leadership skills are essential. We expect fluency in English.
The proposed concept for a Junior Research Group will be judged according to its academic and methodological quality, prospects of success, originality, and relevance to the livMatS research program.

Applications need to be submitted by February 28th, 2023, to The use of the livMatS Junior Research Group Leader Program template is mandatory and a formal prerequisite for the submission of your application. All parts of your application need to be in English. The template that also contains an overview of the documents to be submitted, can be found here.