Research Vacancy // PostDoc in Integrated Water-Energy-Food Nexus Modeling

At the Institute of Environmental Engineering at ETH Zurich. The team is searching for a candidate that will carry out research to develop an integrated model of the water-energy-food nexus starting from an existing physically based distributed hydrological model, by interfacing it with models of agricultural productivity and ecosystem response. Research will be devoted to improvements of the distributed model components.

The Project

The EU funded project “Use of a Decision-Analytic Framework to explore the water-energy-food NExus in complex and trans-boundary water resources systems of fast growing developing countries (DAFNE)” focuses on the exploration of the water-energy-food NExus in complex and transboundary water resources systems of fast growing developing countries. DAFNE aims to develop an integrated and adaptive water resources planning and management approach that explicitly addresses the water-energy-food (WEF) nexus from a novel participatory and multidisciplinary perspective. A decision-analytic- framework (DAF) will be developed to quantitatively assess the social, economic, and environmental impact of expanding energy and food production in complex physical and political contexts, where natural and social processes are strongly interconnected and the institutional setting involves multiple stakeholders and decision-makers. For two cross-boundary case studies, the Zambezi and the Omo river basins, the WEF nexus will be quantified and analyzed as the trade-off between conflicting objectives such as hydropower production vs. irrigation, land exploitation vs. conservation, etc. The nexus will be translated into economic values and impact on growth, ecosystems and ecosystem services. DAFNE will generate and explore alternative planning and management solutions based on the cooperation of public and private stakeholders, which foster the profitable but equitable use of resources without transgressing environmental limits or creating societal and/or stakeholder conflicts. This requires, among others, the development of hydrological models that can simulate the complex response of river basins to natural changes and anthropogenic pressure.

The Candidate

The candidate will use the integrated WEF model to design and implement novel virtual experiments, the analysis of which will contribute to advance the knowledge of the complex response of catchments experiencing forcing due to climate change and anthropogenic pressure. The candidate should have a PhD degree in Hydrology or related fields that includes specific knowledge of river basin hydrological process understanding and modeling. Theoretical work as well as model conceptualization and experiment design are expected to be a main focus of the position. Programming skills and interest in development and use of numerical tools are an asset. The successful candidate will also coordinate the work that is carried out by other project partners and that contributes to the overall development of the WEF assessment framework. Moreover, the candidate will provide support to the overall project coordination activities. The successful applicant will have excellent organizational 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.

For further information

Please contact Prof. Paolo Burlando by e-mail (no applications) and/or visit our website at

Please submit your application online, (Apply now) which includes a cover letter, comprehensive CV, publication list, diplomas, work certificates (if any) and name of at least 2 to 5 reference persons. The position remains open until a suitable candidate is found. The expected appointment date is the earliest possible.

Source: Neue Züricher Zeitung website, Refline website

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