Nine PhD Fellowships at ARISTO Project

Our collaborating partner, University of Thessaly, coordinates a new Horizon 2020 project, called ARISTO. Find out more about the available PhD Fellowships all over Europe.



ARISTO: The European Industry - Academia Network for RevIsing and Advancing the Assessment of the Soil Microbial TOxicity of Pesticides


ARISTO is an International Training Network (ITN) funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement. Pesticides are major environmental pollutants. For this reason, the European Commission has imposed a stringent pesticide regulatory scheme for pesticides authorisation, where risk assessment for aquatic organisms and terrestrial macro-organisms is well defined. In contrast the assessment of the toxicity of pesticides on soil microorganisms is lagging behind, still relying on an outdated protocol which fails to identify effects on key microbial functions and on microbial diversity, which can now be accurately determined through advanced and standardized methods introduced in soil microbiology in the last 10 years. EFSA identified soil microorganisms as an attribute to monitor during pesticides environmental risk assessment and stressed the need for novel tests to assess the toxicity of pesticides on soil microorganisms. The ARISTO project will fulfil this scientific and regulatory gap through a unique doctoral program, based on the strong interaction of academia and industry, aiming to train the next generation of Microbial Ecotoxicologists. These will produce benchmarking knowledge supporting the development of advanced tools and procedures, based on the response of key microbial indicator groups, for the comprehensive assessment of the toxicity of pesticides on soil microorganisms. ARISTO offers doctorate fellows a challenging training program build along 5 research objectives: (1) to develop pioneering in vitro tests, as a first conservative step, to assess the toxicity of pesticides on distinct ammonia-oxidizing microorganisms and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (2) to develop advanced lab and field tests to assess the toxicity of pesticides on natural soil assemblages of AOM and AMF, as a more realistic toxicity assessment step; (3) to develop an ecosystem-level toxicity assessment looking at pesticide effects at microbial networks and across different trophic levels along the soil food web (predator - prey); (4) to develop novel tools to determine the soil microbial toxicity of pesticide mixtures, and bio-pesticides; (5) to develop and validate advanced in silico tools for prioritizing pesticide transformation products with potential toxicity to soil microbes.


Check the available PhD positions below.


PhD scholarship in Environmental Microbiology & Ecology

Project title: In vitro assessment of the toxicity of pesticides on ammonia oxidising microorganisms


Learn more here.


PhD scholarship in agricultural science and bioengineering

Project title: ESR2: In vitro assessment of the toxicity of pesticides on AMF


Learn more here.


PhD position in soil microbial ecology

Project title: ESR3: Assessment of the ecotoxicity of pesticides on nitrifiers in soil


Learn more here.


PhD scholarship in arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) ecology

Project title: ESR4: Assessing the toxicity of pesticides on natural soil and plant assemblages of AMF


Learn more here.


PhD scholarship in soil microbial ecology

Project title: ESR5: Studying the toxicity of pesticides on soil microbial networks


Learn more here.


PhD scholarship in microbial ecology

Project title: ESR6: Assessment of pesticides impact on microbial function in a soil food-web context


Learn more here.


PhD scholarship in soil microbial ecology

Project title: ESR7: Assessment of the toxicity of pesticide mixtures on soil microorganisms.


Learn more here.


PhD scholarship in soil microbial ecology

Project title: ESR8: Assessing the toxicity of bio-pesticides on soil microorganisms


Learn more here.


PhD scholarship in environmental chemistry & cheminformatics

Project title: ESR9: Development of tools for in silico prioritization of pesticide TPs for soil microbial ecotoxicity testing


Learn more here.

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We acknowledge support of this work by the project “Synthetic Biology: From omics technologies to genomic engineering (OMIC-ENGINE)” (MIS 5002636) which is implemented under the Action “Reinforcement of the Research and Innovation Infrastructure”, funded by the Operational Programme "Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship and Innovation" (NSRF 2014-2020) and co-financed by Greece and the European Union (European Regional Development Fund).