PostDoc or Scientist on a carbon-binding society within planetary boundaries

Materials science and technology are our passion. With our cutting-edge research, Empa's around 1,100 employees make essential contributions to the well-being of society for a future worth living. Empa is a research institution of the ETH Domain.
Stabilizing our climate requires to phase out fossil fuels and clean up the atmosphere from excess CO2. While many research projects, policies and economic initiatives are focusing on achieving net zero, we also need to pay attention on how to clean up our atmosphere after the energy transition is completed. Acknowledging this fact, Empa has launched the initiative "Mining the Atmosphere" with the goal to explore options for removing atmospheric CO2 and converting it into useful and valuable materials.

In this context, our Technology and Society Laboratory (TSL) is looking for a highly motivated PostDoc or Scientist to address the systemic aspects of a carbon binding society on a planetary scale. TSL is dedicated to creating knowledge supporting the transformation to a sustainable society within planetary boundaries by analyzing end evaluating novel materials and technologies from a circularity, life cycle impacts and safety perspective, and to provide guidance for designing more sustainable materials, technologies and systems.

Your tasks

  • Compare possible scales and environmental impacts on planetary boundaries of different "Mining the Atmosphere" as well as other C-sequestration options
  • Explore systemic effects of introducing materials from atmospheric carbon in the existing socio-economic metabolism, in particular on replacing other primary materials and changing the demand for energy
  • Couple carbon material flows with energy systems as well as societal dynamics in collaboration with energy system modelers and computational engineers to explore the complex interplay between human, energy and material systems considering spatiotemporal heterogeneity

Your profile

  • PhD in environmental engineering, industrial ecology, or similar 
  • Experience in modelling and evaluating the socio-economic metabolism, for example with material flow analysis or life cycle assessment 
  • Deep understanding of engineering principles for evaluating novel technologies and provide guidance for their ecological design 
  • Interest in and comprehension of Earth system processes and environmental impacts 
  • Excellent communication and collaboration skills

Our offer

We offer a PostDoc or Scientist position in a dynamic and stimulating academic environment. The position will initially be limited to 2 years, with the possibility for prolongation. Expected start date is July 1, 2024 or as soon as possible thereafter.
We live a culture of inclusion and respect. We welcome all people who are interested in innovative, sustainable and meaningful activities - that's what counts.
We look forward to receiving your complete online application including a letter of motivation, CV, certificates, diplomas and contact details of two reference persons. Please submit these exclusively via our job portal. Applications by e-mail and by post will not be considered.
Sarah Stüdli, Bereichspersonalleiterin / HR Partner


  Dr. Harald Desing
Technology and Society

Your future place of work

Lerchenfeldstrasse 5
9014 St. Gallen

Empa as an employer

Innovative, sustainable, meaningful activities
Creating added value for society
International, multicultural working environment
Freedom to create and develop
Culture of inclusion and respect
Excellent balance between different areas of life
Multiple award-winning and certified employer
Benefits for rail, mobile, childcare, catering, etc.