Postdoc: “Robust River Basin Planning under Climate and Socio-Economic Changes”

ETH Zürich
Zürich, Switzerland
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
University/Academia/Research/Think tank
Experience Level: 
Not Specified
Degree Required: 


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The Institute of Environmental Engineering (IfU) focuses on approaches to solving global environmental problems. Its results are recognized worldwide. The seven IfU chairs research and teach in the fields of hydrology, urban water management, groundwater, ecological systems, earth exploration, air quality and particle technology.

Job description

The project REBECCA “Robust rivEr Basin planning under Extreme Climate events and fast socio-economic ChAnges” focuses on the development of robust planning solutions to address the impacts of climate change and socio-economic growth, which are projected to severely challenge river basin development worldwide. This is particularly relevant in monsoonal Southeast Asia, where large water storage systems play a key role for securing water, energy, and food to a rapidly growing and changing society. These systems require robust and adaptive operations capable of coping with high intra-annual and inter-annual hydroclimatic variability and to increasing frequency of extreme events. They also have to face multi-sector changing demands across multiple time scales, from daily operation to strategic river basin development. In this context, REBECCA aims to develop a decision analytic framework for supporting the robust, strategic planning of river basins in monsoonal areas with respect to future changes in water availability (climate change) and demands (socio-economic and technological changes). The framework will integrate future climate scenarios, including a catalogue of extreme climate events, future water demand scenarios, and a high-resolution infrastructure-accounting hydrological model to build accurate projections of water availability that also include water management policies optimized by means of a strategic model, against which to assess sustainability and robustness of future river basin development plans. The focus will be on the Red River Basin, China-Vietnam, a large transboundary river basin, where conflicts among different water uses, including hydropower production, flood control and water supply.

Your profile

We are searching for a candidate that will carry out research to integrate the different models into a framework that will combine future modelling of downscaled climate scenarios, with specific focus on extreme events, with a two-component river basin model, consisting of a high-resolution infrastructure-accounting hydrological model to build accurate projections of water availability that also include water management policies, and a strategic optimisation model to develop and investigate different river basin planning and management options. The candidate should have a PhD de­gree in Hydrology and/or Water Resources Sciences (or related fields) that includes specific knowledge of river basin hydrological pro­cess understanding and modelling, and background of control and optimisation. Theoretical work related to model integration and ex­periment design are expected to be a main focus of the position. Programming skills and interest in development and use of numerical tools is a prerequisite. The successful candidate will also assist the co-ordination work that is needed for the project execution and completion. The successful applicant will have a suitable technical and scientific background as well as excellent organisational and oral/written communication skills. In this respect, experience gained through previous partici­pation in multidisciplinary projects is an important asset. We encourage applications from enthusi­astic, dedicated individuals interested in both scientific developments and challenging interdiscipli­nary team work.

The successful candidate will be offered a postdoc position for the duration of the project at stand­ard ETH Zurich conditions.

ETH Zurich

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.


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

  • Detailed CV
  • Publication list
  • Motivation letter
  • Names of 2-5 reference persons

Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

Further information about D-BAUG/Institute of Environmental Engineering can be found on our website. Questions regarding the position should be directed to Prof. Paolo Burlando, email  (no applications).