Doctoral / PhD position on modelling the impact of blue-green infrastructures on pluvial urban floods

ETH Zürich
Zürich, Switzerland
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
University/Academia/Research/Think tank
Experience Level: 
Not Specified
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


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The chair for Urban Water Systems is seeking a dynamic and motivated doctoral student. The position is funded by the Future Cities Lab of ETH and NTU Singapore and is based at ETH Zürich and at Eawag, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology.

Project background

The overall goal of the project is to design and plan multi-functional blue and green infrastructures (BGI), which not only reduce flooding, but also support local food production, mitigate heat island effects, increase water pollution control, recreation, biodiversity, and ultimately provide jobs or and a higher life quality of citizens. In particular, the main objective of this PhD position opening will be to investigate the impact of different urban layout configurations, including blue and green infrastructure, on managing flood events. This is part of a larger trans-disciplinary project that has several doctoral students and researchers involved. The main case study area is in Madagascar, with Singapore and Nepal as additional potential application areas. The project benefits from various on-going BGI related activities at the Department of Urban Water management of Eawag as well as from a network of researchers involved in the project.

Job description

The specific tasks associated with this PhD position will involve 1) the development of new or retrofit existing flood models for flood assessment in data scarce contexts, 2) the selection of areas in Madagascar to test the developed methodologies, 3) the improvement of the computational efficiency of flood models to be able to explore a large range of urban landscape scenarios, and 4) the evaluation the impact of different urban landscape solutions and blue and green infrastructure on flood risk assessment and management.

The PhD position is fully funded by the Future Cities Lab and start is in Spring 2021. While this is a research-only position, a maximum of 10% time may be committed to teaching or supporting other activities within Eawag and ETH Zurich.

Your profile

Applicants for this PhD position are expected to have an excellent MSc degree (e.g. Civil or Environmental Engineering, Applied Mathematics, Physics or Computer Science) with strong interest in Hydroinformatics, Hydrology and Risk Assessment. Ideally candidates should demonstrate knowledge in programming as well as statistical analysis. Experience with flood modelling is also an asset. Fluency in English is required. We are looking for highly motivated, committed, and creative individuals, who are able to work in a team and have outstanding communication skills. Working in a top-level research environment with advanced infrastructure, the candidate will have a unique opportunity to develop their research abilities.

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:

  • C.V.
  • Concise statement describing your motivation to carry out a PhD project on this topic
  • Transcripts
  • Contact information of two references
  • If available: Any work confirmations relevant for the application

Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered. Short-listed candidates will be asked to provide at least two recommendation letters.

Questions regarding these positions should be directed to João P. Leitão by email (no applications).

The deadline for applications is 26 March 2021 or until the position is filled. On-line interviews are scheduled for April (subsequent interviews at ETHZ/Eawag with shortlisted candidates would be desirable but depend on the COVID situation).