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Scientist or Postdoc position on alternative leather materials in Dübendorf

EMPA (European Master of Public Administration Consortium) is a network of European schools, that offer master programs in public administration.


Together with our team of experienced scientists and industry partners, you will synthetize polymers from biorefinery building blocks and prepare composites and fibers for the textile industry. This project brings together a new generation of green and sustainable fillers and polymers for the preparation of leather alternatives with higher durability and mechanical properties than the commercially available synthetic leathers. The project is financed by Innosuisse and brings together Empa, a start-up and a large Swiss Industrial textile company. Combining fundamental and applied science, the goal is to develop high functional and commercially relevant material solutions. We envisage that the generated knowledge will advance the use of sustainable resources for the production of leather alternatives. We also foresee that the developments will demonstrate the potential to reduce carbon emission and water consumption compared to "natural leather" production and contribute to substitute the fossil-based polymer composites with bio-based sustainable alternatives.

Your challenges
  • Synthetize novel polymers using natural building blocks from biorefinery industries.
  • Prepare composites and fibers using biomass resources.
  • Evaluate novel biopolymer cellulose-based composites.
  • Develop and optimize material processing methods (e.g. extrusion, thermoforming and coating) for alternative leather applications.
  • Characterize and validate developed formulations and materials in terms of physical, mechanical and thermal properties.
  • Publish results in the form of patents or scientific journal articles, present results at project meetings and at international conferences.
Your profile
  • You have a completed PhD degree in chemistry with a focus on organic synthesis/polymer synthesis or material science.
  • You have more than 3 years of academic and/or industrial experience in synthetic chemistry, preferably in R&D.
  • You have experience in experimental research, practical lab work (e.g. material development and processing,) and a talent for experimental design.
  • You have passion for the development of sustainable materials with a potential for industrial implementation.
  • You have excellent communication skills, are flexible, a team-player, and a strong motivator.
  • You are fluent in English (written and oral).

We are an international team dedicated to advance the development of a new generation of active, sustainable and highly functional biomaterials using cellulose and wood as material resources. We offer a challenging position (two years with possible extension) in a research institution in the Zürich area with outstanding infrastructure and within a broadly interdisciplinary setting. Applications are open immediately and the starting date is May 2023 or upon mutual agreement.
For further information about the position please contact Dr Gilberto Siqueira  or Dr Gustav Nyström and visit our websites and

We look forward to receiving your online application including a letter of motivation, CV, diplomas with transcripts and contact details of two referees. Please upload the requested documents through our webpage. Applications via email will not be considered.

Empa, Patricia Nitzsche, Human Resources, Ueberlandstrasse 129, 8600 Dübendorf, Switzerland.

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