Project: Development and Field Trials of Soil Amendment Technologies and Best Practices for Desert Rehabilitation and Food Production in Sandy Soils of the KSA

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology
March 14, 2024
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
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Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Negotigation
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King Abdullah University of Science and Technology: Postdoc Positions:

Biological and Environmental Science and Engineering Division (postdoc)


Thuwal, Saudi Arabia

Open Date

Feb 12, 2024


We solicit applications for multiple positions ( PhD, MS, MS–PhD, Agronomist, Field Engineer, Field Technician, and Postdoctoral Scholar ) in Professor Himanshu Mishra's research Group (Interfacial Lab) in King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia (https: // These positions are intended to investigate the effects of the soil amendment technologies developed in the group – Superhydrophobic Sand (USPTO #11,497,177 B2), Engineered Biochar (patent-pending), and slow-release fertilizers (patent pending) – on food crops and native plants. These technologies have been recognized with top prizes in international competitions, viz., the World Economic Forum's Uplink Challenge (China), ITAS Arab Youth Competition (Qatar), InFlavors Expo (KSA), and Taqadam (KSA). The goal of this translational research is to sustainably realize KSA's giga-scale projects in organic landfill diversion, desert rehabilitation for agriculture, landscaping, and nature conservation; success of these projects will contribute significantly to global food–water–climate security. These positions offer tremendous room for learning and growth across scientific and engineering disciplines as well as entrepreneurship.


Our goal is to sustainably grow plants in Saudi Arabia under the constraints of freshwater scarcity, intense heat, and high yield. To this end, we are investigating fundamental interactions at the water–soil–plant interfaces of food crops and native trees in alkaline sandy soils. We invite agronomists, soil specialists, irrigation specialists, and experts in drylands agriculture to apply to broaden and deepen our investigation into the effects of our soil amendment technologies for boosting water-use and nutrient-uptake efficiencies in deserts. We welcome recent graduates with BS or MS or PhD with concentration in biochar research, agricultural engineering, soil chemistry, soil physics, plant science, or a related field; we also value practical experience in growing trees/bushes/shrubs in deserts. Successful candidates will propel our translational research along one or more of the following avenues:

  • Biochar as soil amendment for alkaline sandy soils.
  • Soil physico-chemical characterization: elemental analysis, CEC, pH, particle size, surface area, moisture release curves, hydraulic conductivity, etc.
  • Phenotype plant traits to pinpoint the effects of various factors/treatments: chlorophyll content, gas exchange, biomass accumulation, metabolomics, etc.
  • Collaborate with microbiologists to understand and harness plant–soil–microbe synergies.
  • Field trials to identify the limiting factor(s) for the growth and survivability of native plants under the harsh environmental conditions of the KSA.
  • Experimental design for combinatorial treatments of soil-amendments, e.g., biochar, SHS, moisture absorbing polymers, etc.) and varying fertilizer and irrigation regimes. Experience in statistical methods is a huge plus.
  • Ability to quickly test hypotheses via pot-scale studies (greenhouse and/or laboratory) and implement in the field.
  • Understanding of irrigation systems suitable for afforestation in arid lands.
  • Smart irrigation monitoring and control – precision agriculture.
  • We seek brilliant individuals who are critical thinkers, independent, creative, dedicated, enjoy field research, and believe in execution. Our translational research requires travel within Saudi Arabia (e.g., NEOM) to establish greening sites or fields, and building and managing relationships with stakeholders at multiple levels (e.g., field workers, scholars, government and non-government entities, and industry). An exceptional and multicultural team of engineers, plant scientists, technicians, and field workers will complement your skills in our joint quest for global food- water–climate security.

    Please email your CVto [email protected]

    About KAUST:

    KAUST is an international graduate-level, merit-based research university dedicated to advancing scientific and technological education and research, acting as a catalyst for innovation, economic development and social prosperity in the region and the world. Our research strives to enhance the welfare of society with a special focus on four areas of global significance – food, water, energy and the environment. Based near Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, KAUST has attracted top-notch faculty and staff from all over the world, with more than 80 nations represented on campus.

    In addition to an unparalleled research infrastructure, KAUST also offers terrific opportunities to pursue innovation and economic development via startups. For further information about KAUST, postdoctoral life/benefits, Prof. Mishra's lab, etc., please visit:

    https: // www.

    https: // www.

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    At KAUST, we attract people from all around the world who want to create impact beyond their own achievements. Irrespective of their national origins, the people of KAUST are “people of the world” who uphold our values of achievement, passion, inspiration, citizenship, diversity, integrity, and openness. Located on the beautiful Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia, KAUST sets exceptional standards in residences, recreational facilities and boasts a truly multicultural community environment which can be enjoyed by all, along with ample opportunities and time to keep work and life in harmony. Expats are very well looked after, with packages including tax-free salary, relocation, accommodation and various additional incentives.

    Join us for an adventure!

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