Forschung im Labor Department Technische Umweltchemie. Foto: André Künzelmann/UFZ

Science and infrastructure

The professional backgrounds of the scientists working for us are just as diverse as our interdisciplinary environmental research. Here natural scientists from various disciplines work together with economists and social scientists on highly relevant social issues. Integrated environmental research is our trademark, in other words, system solutions for sustainable development. This means that scientific research is carried out systematically at its highest level.

Over 430 postdocs, senior scientists, section leaders, scientific managers and department heads work in our 37 departments (

Terrestrial Environment – that is the name of our research programme within the Helmholtz research field of Earth and Environment. The five research topics and the 10 Integrated Projects (IPs) organised within the topics respond to societal challenges in the face of global change: climate change, land-use change, demographic change and an increasing demand for food and energy.

Good reasons to work in science with us

The UFZ boasts exceptional technical facilities, infrastructure and budgets, presenting scientists with the best conditions for their research.

Our outstanding research depends on the excellence of our employees who are at work in our modern laboratories, using our technical facilities or working in the field. Whether engineers, technicians, technical assistants or laboratory technicians – at the UFZ more than 200 technical employees ensure that experiments are well planned, run smoothly and that test data are reliably recorded and processed.

The latest technology not only enables our scientists but also our technicians to have the opportunity to become familiar with the latest methods and processes and to apply these in their work. In this way they are always kept up to date in their respective fields.

Both scientists as well as technicians work together closely in their respective departments. We place great emphasis on teamwork. In addition to daily consultations, we also have regular staff meetings where everyone has the opportunity to make a contribution. Our last staff survey showed that our employees are very satisfied with their work and their atmosphere at work.

Our wide range of training courses especially for scientists include scientific writing, good scientific practice, science careers, successful publishing, media training, proposals for external funding, project management, communication and discussion in meetings, management of interdisciplinary research associations as well as different management training courses.

Furthermore, it is also possible to participate in one of the training programs of the Helmholtz Community e.g.  The Helmholtz Mentoring Program for Women or The Helmholtz Management Academy.

We are currently working on a training program that is specifically for technical employees, so that we can provide more targeted training opportunities for them in the future.

Outstanding scientists are given an open and fair opportunity for full-time employment at the UFZ.

The management of scientific projects is an alternative to classical scientific research work. The assignments of our scientific project managers are extremely diverse, ranging from the coordination of graduate schools, interdisciplinary research programs and major projects.

Junior research groups offer outstanding young scientists the opportunity of conducting independent research early on in their careers. Heads of junior research groups do not report directly to a professor and are free to run their group independently. These groups are well funded, enable a high degree of freedom and therefore provide optimal conditions for conducting research. They also offer former junior scientist heads good chances of being assigned to a chair. Further information is available here:

For a while now, the UFZ has successfully implemented a system with joint appointments for professors, who assume a great deal of responsibility for research and management assignments at the UFZ. They act as a link between universities and the UFZ, promoting scientific projects and networking.

Is it important for you to gain some teaching experience? Many of our scientists are involved in teaching and therefore able to pass on the knowledge they have gained in extramural research to universities. There is no obligation for you to teach however. If you would rather completely focus on your research, that is also possible.