Assistant Professor in Environmental Adaptation: Switzerland

The Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering (ENAC) invites applications for a tenure track Assistant Professor of Environmental Adaptation, with an emphasis on cryospheric biosystems, located within the Institute of Environmental Engineering (Institut d’ingénierie de l’environnement, IIE).

The professor will be a member of EPFL’s Alpine and Polar Environment Research Center (ALPOLE), based at Sion in the Swiss Canton of Valais. Sion, in the heart of the Swiss Alps, is in close proximity to mountainous zones where effects of climate change on natural and urbanized environments are unmistakable.

Physical changes (e.g., loss of permafrost) in alpine and polar environments affect adaptive strategies and resilience of cryospheric biological systems. Adaptations can occur across multiple scales, include ecological and evolutionary processes, and influence cryospheric ecosystem functioning. These changes are mediated by biota including microbial communities, fungi and plants, with associated alterations to nutrient and carbon cycling. The appointee will build on state-of-the-art life-science tools to relate climate-induced trends and variability (e.g., temperature and hydrological regime changes) to changes in terrestrial ecosystem biodiversity, productivity and functioning.

Candidate qualities

We welcome applications from experimentalists (laboratory or field) whose research interests extend across scales, and who employ a range of investigative tools. Rapidly developing laboratory tools ranging from genomics to phenomics will enable new insights into adaptive strategies, and open up research perspectives on metabolism, bioprospection and biotechnology, as well as biosensor development. Of interest also are field studies that utilize traditional and modern approaches (e.g., autonomous sensor networks, data fusion/model integration) to understand ecosystem functioning and services. As part of ALPOLE, the appointee will have excellent opportunities for interdisciplinary collaborations that target mountainous and polar environments.

We seek an outstanding individual who will lead an internationally recognized research program that leverages the opportunities offered by EPFL. The professor will be committed to excellence in undergraduate and graduate level teaching, and will contribute to the Environmental Engineering program, which emphasizes basic and translational research as the foundation for environmental adaption and engineering design.

EPFL is a growing and well-funded institution fostering excellence and diversity. It is well equipped with experimental and computational infrastructure, and offers a fertile environment for interdisciplinary research collaboration. The EPFL environment is multilingual and multicultural, with English serving as a common interface. EPFL offers internationally competitive start-up resources, salaries and benefits. Besides its main Lausanne campus, EPFL operates antenna sites across Western Switzerland, in Fribourg, Geneva, Neuchâtel and Sion.


The following documents are requested in PDF format: cover letter including a statement of motivation, curriculum vitae, publication list, concise statements of research and teaching interests (up to 5 pages for each statement) as well as the names and addresses, including emails, of at least three references (contacted for shortlisted candidates).

Applications should be uploaded to the EPFL recruitment web site

Formal evaluation of the applications will begin on March 1, 2021. The search will continue until the position is filled.

Further enquiries should be made to the Chair of the Search Committee:

Prof. D. Andrew Barry
Director of the Environmental Engineering Institute

EPFL is an equal opportunity employer and a family friendly university. It is committed to increasing the diversity of its faculty, and strongly encourages women to apply

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