The Paul Scherrer Institute PSI is the largest research institute for natural and engineering sciences within Switzerland. We perform cutting-edge research in the fields of matter and materials, energy and environment and human health. By performing fundamental and applied research, we work on sustainable solutions for major challenges facing society, science and economy. PSI is committed to the training of future generations. Therefore, about one quarter of our staff are post-docs, post-graduates or apprentices. Altogether, PSI employs 2100 people.

For the Technology Assessment Group in the Laboratory for Energy Systems Analysis (LEA) we are looking for a
PhD Student
on Integrated Material Flows in Life Cycle Assessment
Your tasks
PhD thesis at ETH Zurich, Switzerland
You would build on the open source Brightway life cycle assessment (LCA) framework and Premise prospective LCA tool to improve the linkages between LCA and integrated assessment models (IAMs). Existing LCA data will be supplemented with details on flows of bulk and critical materials and metals, and these material flows will be integrated into IAMs. You will further develop approaches for regionalized LCA and use these to perform site-dependent LCA, for example to quantify the land and water use of IAM scenarios. Key research questions include how to interface with multiple IAMs in a consistent and efficient fashion; how to systematically add material properties and material flows to LCA databases; and how to match the spatial scale of IAMs and LCA databases, including automatic geographic disaggregation. All tools and workflows used in the project should be open and FAIR. Your work will be part of a Horizon Europe project and you will closely interact with several IAM teams in Europe.

You will be enrolled in the doctoral school of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETHZ).
Your profile
  • Master degree in natural science, computer science or engineering
  • Good knowledge of English
  • Interest in open software development
  • Basic knowledge of Python
  • Basic knowledge of LCA, IAMs and/or material flow assessment
  • Intrinsic motivation to improve state of open sustainability assessment
  • Communication skills to work well in a team
We offer
Our institution is based on an interdisciplinary, innovative and dynamic collaboration. You will profit from a systematic training on the job, in addition to personal development possibilities and our pronounced vocational training culture. If you wish to optimally combine work and family life or other personal interests, we are able to support you with our modern employment conditions and the on-site infrastructure.

For further information, please contact Christian Bauer, E-Mail christian.bauer@psi.ch or phone +41 56 310 23 91.

Please submit your application online by 18 August 2022 (including addresses of referees) for the position as a PhD Student (index no. 4501-02).


Paul Scherrer Institut, Human Resources Management, Luca Simen, 5232 Villigen PSI, Switzerland