Postdoctoral position - Environmental assessment of circular economy strategies in the Swiss building stock

The Ecological Systems Design Group at the Institute of Environmental Engineering is an internationally leading research group in the field of modelling, 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 Postdoc position further described below. 

Project background

The construction industry is a significant consumer of natural resources that generates billions tons of waste annually and contributes to nearly 40% of climate change impacts. In Switzerland, with 1.8 million residential buildings and 4.7 million dwellings, future demolitions represent an opportunity to utilize secondary resources and mitigate the environmental footprint of the construction sector. To harness this potential, there is a need to identify the most effective circular economy strategies. This research aims to address this gap by developing tools for comparing prospective scenarios in the evolution of the Swiss building stock, thereby informing policy decisions to promote more sustainable construction practices. It is part of an interdisciplinary and international research programme that seeks to address the worldwide circumstances of rapid urbanization. 

Job description

The candidate will be the project coordinator for a running project about circularity in the building sector with a team of 15 researchers.

The candidate will co-supervise two doctoral students of the Ecological Systems Design Group and collaborate with them on the development of frameworks for assessing circular economy strategies. This will entail utilizing methodologies such as life cycle assessment (LCA), material flow analysis (MFA), and statistical analysis. In particular, the following tasks will be performed in collaboration with the two doctoral students: 

  • modeling of the embodied and operational energy and emissions of the Swiss building stock using Python programming language;
  • conducting LCAs with the Brightway library, as well as MFAs while taking into account spatial and temporal characteristics of the building stock; 
  • defining and assessing various scenarios and circular economy strategies, such as increased wood use, increased reuse/recycling of building components and materials, etc;
  • developing metrics to assess circularity in the construction sector.

In addition, the candidate will further develop her/his research profile in the group, attend conferences and supervise Bachelor and Master thesis students.

Your profile

We are looking for suitable candidates with a doctoral degree in environmental science, environmental engineering, data science or related fields with excellent academic records. Interested candidates should have strong research backgrounds and solid independent research ability. Experiences with life cycle assessment, material flow analysis, data analysis and modeling in Python are desired. Familiarity with building stock modeling is beneficial. Good verbal and written communication skills in English are required, additional German language skills would be appreciated

Your workplace

We offer

ETH Zurich is a family-friendly employer with excellent working conditions. You can look forward to an exciting working environment, cultural diversity and attractive offers and benefits.

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 including:

  • a letter of motivation
  • CV
  • diplomas
  • and contact details of two referees

We will start interviewing candidates as soon as possible. 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.

Please contact Prof. Stefanie Hellweg ( for further information and visit our website for information about the Ecological Systems Design Group.

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  • ETH Zurich
  • Zurich, Switzerland
  • Postdoc Positions
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