Postdoctoral position – Modelling of biogeochemical nitrogen cycling in Swiss land ecosystems

ETH Zurich
June 11, 2023
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Offerd Salary:Negotiation
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Postdoctoral position – Modelling of biogeochemical nitrogen cycling in

Swiss land ecosystems

100%, Zurich, fixed-term

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The Sustainable Agroecosystem group at ETH Zurich and the Inorganic Environmental Geochemistry group at ETH Zurich/Eawag are jointly looking for a highly motivated Postdoc for a project on Nitrogen (N) cycling in the biosphere (soil, water, atmosphere) at the scale of Switzerland. The Sustainable Agroecosystem group focuses on the feedbacks between agroecosystem management options, biogeochemical cycling, food system functioning and global change, and the Inorganic Environmental Geochemistry group investigates biogeochemical cycling of elements across environmental compartments, including soils, aqueous systems and the atmosphere, with focus on health- relevant trace elements.

Project background

The inevitable decarbonization of energy production will increase atmospheric concentrations of reactive N species like NOx and ammonia (NH3) due to the transition from fossil fuels to the production and combustion of biofuels and biomass. This increase will lead to major issues for climate, air quality, ecosystems and human health. So far, the impact of the energy transition on the complex N cycle in the connected atmospheric, terrestrial and aquatic environments is not fully understood and very poorly quantified. The project ReCLEAN, a joint initiative of the ETH domain, aims to achieve a holistic understanding and quantification of N fluxes across and within these environmental compartments at the scale of Switzerland and to predict the impacts of the energy transition on these fluxes.

The project is specifically aimed at mechanistically modeling processes of N cycling and N fluxes between groundwater, soils, plants and atmosphere in different ecosystems in Switzerland.

Job description
  • You will develop a comprehensive N cycle modelling framework for grassland, agricultural and forest systems in Switzerland;
  • You will collect and process observational data sets from various sources for model evaluation;
  • You will develop and test scenarios for conventional and alternative land management practices for project synthesis and decision support;
  • You will predict N fluxes to the atmosphere and nitrate losses to groundwater under future scenarios of energy policy, climate change and agricultural strategies;
  • You will write scientific publications and reports.
  • Your profile
  • PhD in environmental sciences, soil science, geosciences or similar;
  • Excellent academic track record. You have a strong background in mechanistic modelling of environmental systems and high-level programming skills (e.g., Fortran, R, Python). Experience with biogeochemical models like “DayCent”, “DNDC”, or “ecosys” are a plus;
  • Highly motivated and self-organized;
  • You will be expected to help us maintain a positive team dynamic and a welcoming work environment;
  • You should be able to combine strong individual research with teamwork within the project. You should be open-minded towards research across disciplines, including field work;
  • Excellent communication skills in English, both verbally and written. Knowledge of German and/or French is welcome.
  • Your workplace Your workplace We offer

    You will work in a highly stimulating environment with state-of-the-art computational infrastructure and measurement facilities. The position provides the opportunity to work within an interdisciplinary team from several institutions, allowing for a broadening of perspectives and networks. We offer salaries according to Postdoctoral levels at ETH Zurich as well as other attractive working conditions. The envisaged starting date is 1 Sep 2023. The position is limited to 24 months, with the possibility of a 12-month extension.

    chevronright Working, teaching and research at ETH Zurich

    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 Equal Opportunities and Diversity website 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 with the following documents:

  • CV including your educational history and a full list of publications;
  • Letter of motivation of max. 2 pages covering your past research experiences and future research interests, goals and how they would relate to and fit in with the project;
  • Contact information of at least two references, mentioning for each the professional relationship you have with them.
  • Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

    Further information about the involved research groups can be found on their websites: Sustainable Agroecosystems & Inorganic Environmental Geochemistry. Questions regarding the position should be directed to Dr. Andrea Stenke via email [email protected] (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.

    Curious? So are we.

    We look forward to receiving your online application with the following documents:

  • CV including your educational history and a full list of publications;
  • Letter of motivation of max. 2 pages covering your past research experiences and future research interests, goals and how they would relate to and fit in with the project;
  • Contact information of at least two references, mentioning for each the professional relationship you have with them.
  • Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

    Further information about the involved research groups can be found on their websites: Sustainable Agroecosystems & Inorganic Environmental Geochemistry. Questions regarding the position should be directed to Dr. Andrea Stenke via email [email protected] (no applications).

    Apply online now

    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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