Hoffmann Fellow & Postdoc: Future-ready Sustainable Manufacturing Networks in Zürich

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


100%, Zurich, fixed-term

The André Hoffmann Fellowship for the Fourth Industrial Revolution offers early-career academics the opportunity to work at the intersection of society, science and technology through a joint appointment between the World Economic Forum and leading academic institutions – for this position, ETH Zurich.

We are looking for a postdoctoral researcher with a background in industrial engineering, operations management, supply chain management, sustainability, or other relevant disciplines, who would like to contribute to improving the state of the world with the World Economic Forum and the Chair of Production and Operations Management (POM) at ETH Zurich. This two-year Hoffmann Fellowship term is co-hosted evenly between the World Economic Forum and ETH Zurich. You are expected to commit full-time to the role.There is flexibility concerning the starting date to accommodate your availability. 

Project background

The World Economic Forum, committed to improving the state of the world, is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation. The Forum engages the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. The Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution is a hub for global, multistakeholder cooperation to develop policy frameworks and advance collaborations that accelerate the benefits of science and technology. The Platform Shaping the Future of Advanced Manufacturing and Value Chains examines manufacturing topics from research and development to design, consumer behavior and end-of-use cycles. We engage multiple industries as diverse as automotive, chemicals, electronics, healthcare and textiles. While manufacturing has been the foremost source of growth, jobs and innovation globally, its sectors also contribute heavily to CO2 emissions and climate change. Emerging technologies, however, are transforming manufacturing and value chains, enabling more efficient processes, and creating new value for industry, society and the environment.

ETH Zurich, established in 1855, is a leading university of science and technology located in Zürich, Switzerland. ETH Zurich regularly features in international rankings as one of the best universities in the world. With a commendable record for scientific excellence, ETH Zurich has been home to 21 Nobel laureates, including Albert Einstein. Situated in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections around the world, ETH Zurich pioneers effective solutions to the global challenges facing humanity. The Department of Management, Technology and Economics (D-MTEC) is one of the 16 departments of ETH Zurich. Its mission is to understand and help shape the interactions between technology, organisations and society, particularly with respect to their impact on the sustainable use of natural and human resources. The Chair of Production and Operations Management (POM) at D-MTEC conducts empirical and innovative POM research with high relevance. The Chair of POM is headed by Prof. Dr. Torbjørn Netland – a recognized thought-leader in his field. Prof. Netland is a Member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Advanced Manufacturing and Value Chains and a Fellow of the European Academy for Industrial Management. His research on manufacturing excellence appears in leading scientific journals such as Management Science, Journal of Operations Management, Production and Operations Management, and MIT Sloan Management Review. Prof. Netland is the recipient of two Shingo Research Awards and several teaching and leadership awards. He is the co-author of the 800-page textbook “Introduction to Manufacturing: An Industrial Engineering and Management Perspective” (Routledge, 2022).

Job description

The World Economic Forum and ETH Zurich are looking for a Hoffmann Fellow to contribute to this initiative while jointly reporting to the Head of Advanced Manufacturing and Value Chains at the World Economic Forum and to the Head of Production and Operations Management at ETH Zurich. The role will be based in Zurich while jointly working with the World Economic Forum in Geneva and the ETH Zurich, Switzerland.

Key research activities include:

  • Capturing case studies in different industries to build typologies and pathways toward sustainable supply networks.
  • Creating and testing frameworks to help manufacturing and supply chain leaders harness different technological approaches to move towards their sustainability goals.
  • Within these activities, further the candidate’s own sustainability and supply chains-focussed research agenda.

The final scope of the project will be tailored together with you. The main activities of the position are project management, empirical research, and outreach. You will be supported and encouraged to publish in top academic and transfer journals in addition to Forum whitepapers. In addition, you can expect limited teaching and service duties beyond the Fellowship. The position will help you to advance his/hers career in academia, industry, or elsewhere. 

Your profile


  • Come from a diverse of disciplinary and social background. In general, you are at the earliest stages of your academic career and have a Ph.D. degree from a recognized university or are close to completion. We look for excellence, while at the same time, the programme aims to open opportunities for candidates from underrepresented groups and institutions.
  • Have an academic background in working on manufacturing-related topics. Industrial experience is beneficial but not a prerequisite.
  • Must have a demonstrated interest and/or experience in working on the nexus of technology and policy issues. You will also have excellent interpersonal skills and you are a self-starter with the ability to work both independently and as a member of a team.
  • Should have a demonstrated ability to work across different cultures, as the Forum shares its work with a global audience.
  • Must have an excellent command of spoken and written English. Proficiency in other languages is an advantage. The working language is English.
  • Are willing to work in a highly demanding environment and ready to juggle multiple priorities. 
  • Have a passion for improving sustainability issues in manufacturing or global value chains. 
  • Have experience with empirical research.
Your workplace
Your workplace

We offer

We offer a full-time position with a limited contract for 2 years. You will be working in collaboration with the Forum and ETH Zurich. Depending on the locations, you will split up your time accordingly. The Forum offers a supportive community of other Fellows. Continuation as a Postdoc at ETH Zurich beyond the 2-years project period is possible upon joint agreement.  apply unless stated otherwise in the joint project agreement between the Forum and ETH.

We value diversity
In line with our values, ETH Zurich encourages an inclusive culture. We promote equality of opportunity, value diversity and nurture a working and learning environment in which the rights and dignity of all our staff and students are respected. Visit our to find out how we ensure a fair and open environment that allows everyone to grow and flourish.
Curious? So are we.

We look forward to receiving your online application by January 31, 2023 with the following documents:

  •  CV
  • Statement of motivation and research interests (1-2 pages)
  • Transcripts of all obtained degrees (in English or German)
  • Names and contact information of three references
  • Two selected publications should be submitted through the online portal

Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.
Further information about Hoffmann fellowships and the Forum can be found on . For more information about ETH and the Chair of  contact Prof. Dr. Torbjørn Netland at  (no applications).

About ETH Zürich
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.

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