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Funded PhD position; in Sustainable Circular Economy; within Ecological Systems Design Group; at Institute of Environmental Engineering; ETH Zurich; in Switzerland

The Ecological Systems Design Group at the Institute of Environmental Engineering, ETH Zurich 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 and professional working environment, and are inviting applications for the Ph.D. position further described below.

Ph.D. Position on Sustainable Circular Economy

This Ph.D. position is part of the new research project “Towards A sustainable CircuLar Economy – Combining a material flow with a business and policy perspective (TACLE)” within the National Research Programme on Sustainable Economy (NRP 73), funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. The main goal of the project is to identify hidden potentials for improving resource management in Switzerland and their contributions to paving the way towards a Sustainable Circular Economy (SCE). In your Ph.D. thesis you will model the national status-quo material flows, based on previous work, and enhance the detail of these flows with a particular focus on industrial wastes and by-products. This work will allow you to map all residual material flows and symbiotic exchanges on different geographical scales. On this basis, you will complete an in-depth analysis of the potential for increased utilization of secondary resources combined with life cycle assessments of case studies within the selected value chains to identify environmental “hotspots”. Your activities will further include an exploration of waste prevention opportunities, with particular attention to the expected environmental consequences. You will also evaluate the influence of residual material quality on existing material loops and other potential applications for each of the in-depth case studies. Finally, you will optimize material flows in industrial networks with a systematic implementation of resource quality constraints and other limitations imposed by market or regulatory aspects.

An integral part of your work is publishing your results in peer-reviewed journals and presenting them at international conferences. The work will be carried out in an interdisciplinary team together with the Chair of Sustainability and Technology at ETH (Department of Management, Technology, and Economics). The team will consist of at least one additional Ph.D. student and two postdoctoral researchers. The team will work closely with an industrial advisory board, and it will conduct in-depth industrial case studies in several sectors, including the construction and chemical industry.

Your qualifications should include a master level university degree in environmental engineering, environmental sciences or similar studies with excellent grades. Experience with modeling, programming, and environmental assessment tools is highly appreciated. German skills would be highly beneficial to facilitate the interaction with local industry. Your employment will be contracted according to standard regulations at ETH (funding secured for 3 years). The project will start in January 2018 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.

We look forward to receiving your online application including a letter of motivation, CV, diplomas and contact details of 2 referees. We will start interviewing candidates at the end of October. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

For further information about the Ecological Systems Design Group please visit our website Questions regarding the position should be directed to Prof. Stefanie Hellweg, or Melanie Haupt, (no applications).

Deadline: Unspecified

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