Institute of Earth Surface Dynamics, University of Lausanne, Switzerland.

The AlpWise Group opens a PhD position and teaching assistantship in the geomorphology and/or ecology of glacier-fed mountain streams.

Application deadline 1 July 2021.


UNIL is a leading international teaching and research institution, with over 5,000 employees and 17,000 students split between its Dorigny campus, CHUV and Epalinges. As an employer, UNIL encourages excellence, individual recognition and responsibility.

The Faculty of Geosciences and the Environment (FGSE) ( was established in 2003 to bring together the University's research excellence in geology, geography and environmental science. It comprises three research institutes and an umbrella institute responsible for the Faculty's teaching. The Faculty runs Masters programmes in these fields of research excellence and a Bachelors programme in Geosciences and the Environment.


The AlpWise Group opens a PhD position and teaching assistantship in the geomorphology and/or ecology of glacier-fed mountain streams.
The goup AlpWise and this position are based in the Institute of Earth Surface Dynamics ( whose research focuses upon climate, biodiversity, and the degradation of soil and water ecosystems, including both the fundamental processes that underlie these major challenges ; and their translation into quantitative and predictive methods and solutions for addressing human impacts on the environment, both direct and indirect. This institute comprises 18 professors and Senior Lecturers, about 20 senior and junior (post-doctoral) researchers, 40 PhD students and technical and support staff. The institute supports diverse research and social activities for its members.

Job information

Expected start date: 01.09.2021 / to be agreed
Contract length: 1 year, renewable 2 x 2 years, maximum 5 years
Activity rate: 80%
Workplace: Lausanne-Mouline (Géopolis)

Your responsibilities

50% of the engagement (minimum) will be dedicated to research leading to a PhD thesis in one of the two areas identified.
50% of the engagement (maximum) will be dedicated

  • to provide teaching assistance in relation to undergraduate and Masters courses in the fields of fluvial processes and sediment transport (Bachelors, French); aquatic ecosystems (Masters, English); and UAV based remote sensing (Masters, English); training will be provided; and
  • to support the group AlpWISE notably in relation to vulgarization of its scientific activities.

Your qualifications

We are looking for someone with the following skills : 

  • Master's degree in environmental sciences, ecology, physical geography or a specialist field such as geochemistry, river and catchment management, Alpine/Polar environments, glacial environments, or biodiversity and conservation.
  • A commitment to completing a thesis in one of the two following areas
    1. Sediment flux in partially glaciated catchments including on, through and under glaciers and between recently-deglaciated hillslopes and the valley floodplain, potentially supported by novel methodologies such as seismics, active particle tracking, sediment provenance, etc.
    2. The relationships between glacier recession and the development of embryonic ecosystems, particularly in relation to macrozoobenthos, and including new ways of looking at functional connectivity in such environments and innovative new methods for data collection and analysis.
  • A strong background in the methods and/or techniques associated with either (1) or (2) above. In addition, the successful candidate should have excellent data analysis and quantitative skills including programming using languages such as Matlab, R or Python. They should have experience of data collection in field environments, ideally in isolated/mountainous settings.
  • An excellent command of written and spoken English. Working knowledge of French is not necessary at first, but the successful candidate must sufficient basic skills in French by the end of their first year to be able to assist with practical work (the University of Lausanne offers language training courses).
  • A driving license (or willingness to obtain one).


What the position offers you

We offer a nice working place in a multicultural, diverse and dynamic academic environment. Opportunities for professional training, a lot of activities and other benefits to discover.


Contact for further information

Prof. Stuart Lane
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Your application

Deadline: 01.07.2021

Please, send your full application in PDF format including :

  • Motivation letter;
  • Curriculum Vitae;
  • Copy of university degree certificates and transcripts of marks awarded;
  • Electronic version of a research output (e.g., Master's thesis, scientific publication or research report);
  • A proposed research proposal of no more than 2 pages, written in English, and relating to one of the two areas identified above;
  • Contact information for two professional references.

Only applications through the UNIL website will be taken into account.

Apply now

Cover image by Sven Lachmann.

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