Eawag (Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology)

Dübendorf, Switzerland 🇨🇭

Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, is an internationally networked aquatic research institute within the ETH Domain (Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology). Eawag conducts research, education and expert consulting to achieve the dual goals of meeting direct human needs for water and maintaining the function and integrity of aquatic ecosystems.

Sandec, the Department of Sanitation, Water and Solid Waste for Development seeks a motivated and qualified person for an Internship (min. 4 months)

Contributing to the development of an interactive online capacity development tool that enables planning for locally appropriate and resource efficient sanitation system

Are you interested in sustainable development and wastewater management? Do you want to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all? Then help us to develop an interactive online capacity development tool that planners and engineers to more systematically consider novel technologies, local conditions, the preferences of the local people and circular economy when developing sanitation projects.

It is particularly challenging to reach SDG 6.2, sanitation for all, in rapidly expanding urban areas where most of the current population growth is taking place. Conventional solutions are often not viable as they rely on costly sewer networks, large quantities of water, stable institutions, and long planning horizons. As a result, novel sanitation technologies and new system configurations are being developed such as urine diversion toilets or container-based sanitation. These innovations are independent from sewer, water, energy and thus more appropriate for these areas. Flexibility and resource recovery are other features that make them potentially more sustainable. But while those innovation enhance sustainability; they also enhance planning complexity. Structured decision-making (SDM) procedures, such as Community-Led Urban Sanitation (CLUES), Sanitation21 or City Sanitation Planning (CSP) can assist in planning. But those procedures require a suitable set of options to choose from. Developing such a set is often left over to planners and engineers who lack the knowledge and data to systematically consider all currently available technologies and sustainability criteria. The complexity is further enhanced by the very large number of options which calls for a software assisted approach.

To help this problem, we are currently developing SaniChoice, an online decision support tool that enables the systematic and transparent identification of locally appropriate and resource efficient sanitation system options as an input into any SDM process. SaniChoice will be available online open-source to a broad public. Therefore, the user interaction needs to be designed as self-explaining and accommodating the use of the tool for different levels of complexity and prior knowledge. This has to be complemented with a short and clear How-to-Use section. To support the dissemination of SaniChoice and help our partners to integrate it into their working practice, we also aim at developing a SaniChoice training module that can be used as a module in a WASH training conducted by Sandec or partner institutions. The How-to-Use section and the training module are yet to be developed. The aim is to have a first version ready by November for field testing and validation.

SaniChoice is based on the Compendium of Sanitation Systems and Technologies and Santiago (SANitation sysTem Alternative GeneratOr), a software and technology database that has been developed in collaboration with the Chair for Urban Water Management at ETH (Prof. Max Maurer). Santiago application as part of an SDM process has been field validated in Nepal, Ethiopia, Peru, and South Africa. The Santiago development and validation have been finalised in 2020 and are extensively documented in various peer-reviewed articles. Since then, we have been working on a public version of Santiago (see link above). Additionally, we have been working on validating and expanding the Santiago technology library which now consists of data for more than 90 conventional and emerging technologies for building urban sanitation systems. Together with this a didactic step-by-step guide for practitioners to apply the methods as part of the planning process has been developed. Currently, we are working on translating these resources and data in the SaniChoice webtool and on finetuning the user guidance and interaction design of the future webpage. A first version of SaniChoice will be released and tested by practitioners in September 2021. Read more on the SaniChoice project page.


The student will be expected to (a) review existing literature on Santiago and SaniChoice, (b) to develop a concept for a SaniChoice training package including modular PowerPoint presentations, reading materials, educational video(s) and a case study exercise; (c) to compile a first version of this package for testing. The student will work closely with the SaniChoice and SESP team at Eawag as well as other groups at Sandec to make sure the developed products are integrated well in the ongoing capacity development activities of the department. The student has the possibility to seek advice and support from the digital learning team at Eawag to proof-read concepts and to develop training material. At the end of the internship the student will have gained experience in creating written and video training materials in the field of strategic planning for sustainable sanitation. The internship is planned to last for approximatively four months. Depending on how fast the task can be completed, there is also the possibility to contribute to the testing of the training material in collaboration with partners in Nepal or Ethiopia. The student will have the opportunity to learn more about sanitation in developing urban areas, how Sandec is contributing to these processes and how a tool for such a purpose is developed.

We are looking for a motivated environmental engineering or environmental science student (or similar) interested in inter- and transdisciplinary work and with a particular focus sustainable sanitation and development in rapidly growing urban areas of the global South. Candidates for this position should have or be willing to strengthen the following qualifications:
• Master student at a Swiss university in the field of environmental science and engineering, or related field (individuals not enrolled at a University cannot be employed as interns!)
• Background in environmental engineering and science, education, or similar field
• Basic knowledge on urban water management, strategic and participatory planning and decision analysis
• Experience with training material and module development (documentation, lectures, videos, exercises)
• Fluency in English and excellent writing skills
• Capability to translate complex scientific methods into products for the general public

Eawag is a modern employer and offers an excellent working environment where staff can contribute their strengths, experience and ways of thinking. We promote gender equality and are committed to staff diversity and inclusion. The compatibility of career and family is of central importance to us. For more information about Eawag and our work conditions please consult and

Internship duration, reimbursement and place

The internship starts on 1 November 2021 for minimal four months with possible extension up to six months. Eawag will provide an intern salary. The internship is supposed to be a 100% job, but a reduced workload can be discussed. The internship will be located at Eawag in Dübendorf, Switzerland.


Dr Dorothee Spuhler (project manager) and Dr Christoph Lüthi (group leader [email protected]). For further information, please contact Dorothee Spuhler

Applications must be submitted by 30 July 2021 and should include an application letter describing your interests and their relevance to this position as well as a CV.

We look forward to receiving your application. Please send it through the following button, any other way of applying will not be considered.