PhD Position

PhD position on Circularity Assessment of cities and regions

We are offering a 100% PhD researcher position on assessing the circularity of cities and regions in the Swiss context for the duration of 4 years at the Laboratory for Human-Environment Relations in Urban Systems (HERUS), School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering (ENAC), at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Lausanne, Switzerland. The research focus of HERUS is on transitions of urban systems towards sustainability. One of the key areas of our research is urban metabolism and the transition towards a circular economy. HERUS is an interdisciplinary team, consisting of social and natural scientists. The PhD student will work on developing novel accounting techniques for measuring circularity of territories at different spatial scales. It will focus on evaluating material and element flows entering and exiting cities and cantons as well as their current and potential circularity status. (S)he will develop an indicator framework and synthetic metric to compare circularity of cities and regions. The student is expected to develop an explicit geographical approach of flows, stocks and their associated infrastructure/actors in order to spatialize and contextualise as much as possible the circularity assessment.

Your job:
▪ Responsibility for your own research under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Claudia R. Binder and Dr. Aristide Athanassiadis.
▪ Strong collaboration with urban and cantonal partners (municipalities, grid operators, statistical offices, etc.).
▪ Research in collaboration with the HERUS research team.
▪ Teaching (20%).

We expect
▪ MSc degree, preferably in Industrial Ecology, Environmental Sciences, Geography, Urban Planning or other related fields.
▪ Very good and proven command of environmental accounting methods such as (in order of priority) material flow/stock analysis, input-output analysis, life cycle assessment, …
▪ Good knowledge of urban metabolism and circular economy principles/concepts (especially applied to urban systems)
▪ Basic or good experience in Python/Django programming language.
▪ A basic or good experience in GIS software is a considered a plus.
▪ Project management and communication skills.
▪ Very good command of English and ideally French and/or German.
▪ Strong team spirit, social skills, independent work and a high level of motivation for academic research.

We offer
▪ Excellent working conditions within an outstanding and innovative atmosphere, modern equipped working areas and an environment promoting access to the world's best scientists.
▪ Working environment within an interdisciplinary highly motivated team of researchers.
▪ Full financial support for 4 years including conference visits.

The position starts as soon as possible and no later than September 1st.

Please send your application including motivation letter, curriculum vitae, grades, list of publications and two references as soon as possible but latest until 30th May 2021 in one single PDF file to:

For questions please contact:
For reference of past research please visit:

Read more / apply
Application deadline: May 30, 2021
  • Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL)
  • Laboratory for Human-Environment Relations in Urban Systems (HERUS), School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering (ENAC)
  • Laussane, Switzerland
  • PhD and Postdoc Positions
Read more / apply Back to list
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