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PhD position on Environmental Assessment of Circular Future Cities in Zürich

Studierende finden an der ETH Zürich ein Umfeld, das eigenständiges Denken fördert, Forschende ein Klima, das zu Spitzenleistungen inspiriert.


100%, Zurich, temporary

The Ecological Systems Design Group at the Institute of Environmental Engineering is an internationally leading research group in the field of modeling, analyzing and improving the resource efficiency and environmental performance of products and processes, new technologies, and consumption patterns from a systems perspective. We offer a friendly, inspiring and professional working environment, and are inviting applications for the PhD position further described below.

Project background

This PhD position is part of the "Circular Future Cities"-project in the scope of the Future Cities Laboratory (FCL) programme (a joint initiative between ETH Zurich and Singapore's National Research Foundation). The "Circular Future Cities"-project aims to develop integrated frameworks and tools based on advanced digital technology for informing the design of circular buildings and deploying more effective resource solutions. Driving questions are: How can circular cities contribute to the abatement of environmental impacts? How can tailored site-specific system solutions for circular housing be derived? To address these questions, a close collaboration and exchange among civil and environmental engineers, material scientists, architects, urban designers and computer scientists based in both Singapore and Switzerland is envisaged. A special focus will be laid on developing a systems approach for the design of sustainable housing with circular material flows in urban areas by considering building materials, construction and circular design (keyword circular economy).

Job description

The work will be carried out in an interdisciplinary team at the Ecological Systems Design Group in close collaboration with other groups in the "Circular Future Cities"-project. An important goal of your work will be to develop new approaches for the combination of dynamic material flow analysis and life cycle assessment in order to assess environmental impacts of material flows and stocks in urban systems. Thereby, different highly resolved bottom-up models shall be advanced and combined; particularly, 3D-building stock models and building energy and construction-material models. Hotspot materials shall be identified, resources in the building stock spatially and temporally mapped and supply chains explicitly modelled to capture environmental effects in the hinterlands of settlements. Finally, the PhD work will comprise the environmental assessment of future circularity scenarios. An integral part of your work is publishing your results in peer-reviewed journals and presenting them at international conferences.

Your profile

Your qualifications should include a university degree in environmental engineering, environmental sciences, civil engineering, computer sciences, geoinformation, urban design, architecture or similar studies with excellent grades. Interest and experience in modeling and programming is a must. A background in life cycle assessment and building stock/building energy modeling would be highly desirable. In-depth knowledge and experience in spatial analysis, geoinformation, big data, and/or data science would be beneficial. Your employment will be contracted according to at ETH (funding secured for 4 years). The project will start as soon as possible or upon mutual agreement. You are expected to contribute to the teaching and research activity of the chair up to a maximum of 20% of your working time.

ETH Zurich
ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.

We look forward to receiving your online application including a letter of motivation, CV, diplomas, and contact details of two referees. We will start interviewing candidates as soon as possible. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via e-mail or postal services will not be considered.

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