In der aktuellen Covid-19 Situation laufen die Rekrutierungen weiter. Es kann dabei allerdings zu Verzögerungen kommen. Vielen Dank für Ihr Verständnis.

Doctorate in laboratory study of subglacial drainage

100%, Zurich, temporary

Subglacial water flow plays a pivotal role in glacier dynamics via impacting sliding speeds, erosion rates, and glacier lake drainages. However, the decade-old theories of subglacial drainage remain only weakly tested as direct observations are difficult. The avenue of testing these theories in laboratory experiments remains largely unexplored.

Our institute, the Laboratory of Hydraulics, Hydrology and Glaciology (VAW), has both a long-standing expertise in subglacial drainage studies as well as a world renown hydraulics laboratory. This project aims to combine those two fields of expertise to investigate subglacial drainage in a laboratory setting. A novel flume experiment will be constructed and used to simulate the subglacial conditions.

Job description

The project aims at simulating the hydraulics, sediment transport, and till dynamics in a setting designed to mimic the subglacial environment of a till-bedded glacier. With the experiments you will test existing theories of so-called canal drainage. A particular focus will be on canal inception, steady states, till dynamics, and whether a canal drainage system is distributed or channelised.

To achieve these measurements you will design and construct a novel type of flume allowing for pressurised water flow and till compression.

The starting date is negotiable, the latest start being envisioned for 1 September 2020.

The planned project duration is 3.5 years.

Your profile

  • A Master degree in science or engineering
  • Fluency in English
  • Curiosity about and intuition of fluid dynamical processes
  • Eagerness and skill to design and construct a large and novel experimental setup
  • Effective at communication with our workshop & construction team as well as the ability to do hands-on work
  • Experience in writing code and a willingness to produce an excellent software pipeline to evaluate model measurements

ETH Zurich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.
Working, teaching and research at ETH Zurich Link icon


We look forward to receiving your online application including a letter of motivation, CV, diplomas and contact details of at least two references. Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

For further information please visit our website Questions regarding the position should be directed to Dr. Mauro Werder (; no applications).

Your workplace