The Research Group of Environmental and Applied Botany at the University of Genoa, School of Maths, Physics and Natural Sciences, Dept. of Earth, Environment and Life Sciences, Genoa, is recruiting a postdoctoral Research Assistant (m/f/d) to work in the EU-funded research project ECOLOPES, limited to 12 months (100%, approx. 40 h/week, net salary approx. 1600 euro/month).

ECOLOPES ( is a HORIZON 2020-FET OPEN funded research project proposing a radical change for city development: instead of minimizing the negative impact of urbanisation on nature, it aims at urbanisation to be planned and designed such that nature can co-evolve within the city. ECOLOPES envisages a radically new integrated ecosystem approach to architecture that focuses equally on humans, plants, animals, and associated organisms such as microbiota. ECOLOPES will provide the technology that will help to achieve this vision.

ECOLOPES focuses on the envelope, the building enclosure. The envelope will be transformed into an ecolope, a multi-species living space for four types of inhabitants, humans, plants, animals, and microbiota. ECOLOPES will develop the core technologies for designing ecolopes in a systematic way, considering the needs of both humans, as well as of plants, animals, and beneficial microbes. ECOLOPES will make biological knowledge available for the architectural design process, to find architectural solutions that enable synergies and limit conflicts between the inhabitants. The ecolopes designed by this multi-species approach will restore the beneficial human – nature relationships in cities.

The advertised position will be critical in implementing the modelling of population dynamics and resource requirements of plants into the computational architectural tools developed in ECOLOPES.

The post-doc will model the dynamics of the plant component of the ecolope ecosystem, building on existing data sets and experiments to feed the ECOLOPES database, and will work in collaboration with INRAE of Lyon-Grenoble, LESSEM (Ecosystems and Society in Mountains) and Technical University of Munich, chair of terrestrial ecology.

Your tasks
The post-doc will build the plant functional (PFG) grouping plants selected from worldwide databases by ecological dimensions (i.e., space dispersal ability, tolerance to abiotic conditions, response to competition, competitive effects, demographic characteristics) and in relations with animals and humans (i.e., resistance to disturbance and aesthetics), creating a multidimensional niche. This will allow to attribute any plant to a generic functional group.

PFG dynamics will be spatially and temporally modelled as a function of architecture, abiotic conditions (e.g., light), soil (e.g., water, nutrients), animals, and human management (e.g., mowing, weeding) using the FATE-HD model, that simulates plant functional groups dynamics based on habitat suitability, succession, disturbances, and dispersal.

Specific tasks to be developed:
Design relevant Functional Groups for ECOLOPES from the global floras
Parameterization of FATE-HD to ECOLOPES Functional Groups
Integration of the regional and local scales dynamics
Running of simulations and adapt or develop post-treatment scripts.
Validation of the temporal dynamics using observations

Titles and skills
University degree (M.Sc.) in ecology, biology, environmental sciences, plant sciences or a comparable field of study
Excellent knowledge of R
Experience in quantitative ecology welcome
Experience in modelling plant population dynamics welcome
Interested in interdisciplinary approaches
Good language skills (English)
Ability to work in a team

We offer an interesting and challenging job in a motivated international team, in collaboration among the University of Genoa (Genoa, Italy), the INRAE of Lyon-Grenoble, LESSEM (Ecosystems and Society in Mountains) and the Technical University of Munich, chair of Terrestrial Ecology.

ECOLOPES partners are the Technical University of Munich in Germany (leader partner), the University of Genoa in Italy, the Technical University of Vienna, Austria, TECHNION in Haifa, Israel, McNeel Europe, based in Barcelona, Spain, and Studio Animal-Aided Design in Germany. The project team works on various topics, including biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, plant-microbiota interactions, urban ecology.

Working hours are flexible and remuneration is in accordance with the applicable UNIGE regulations.

Details and contact
More details on post-doc enrolment and required documents for application can be found here: Call publication by 22nd April 2022 can be available here: Calls for research grants | Deadline for application: 24th May 2022.

Please direct questions about the position to Prof. Enrica Roccotiello, Università degli Studi di Genova (, Dr. Isabelle Boulangeat (, LESSEM (Ecosystems and Society in Mountains), INRAE of Lyon-Grenoble, Site de Grenoble and Dr. Anne Mimet (, Technical University of Munich.

More information about the project can be found at

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