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PhD position in Earthquake Engineering

100%, Zurich, fixed-term

The Institute for Structural Engineering (IBK) at ETH Zürich is a worldwide leading educational and research institute in the area of Structural Engineering. The IBK consists of 8 research groups with a wide spectrum of experimental and computational competences. To strengthen our Seismic Design and Analysis group, we are offering the following position for young scientists.

Project background

Numerical models often fail to predict the results of shake table tests of structures. One main source of error is the global level assumptions they make to pass from component to system-level behavior. Therefore, it is important to perform more system-level shake table tests so that numerical models are better calibrated.

In this project we will manufacture small scale models (1:40) of RC structures and test them on a shake table in the new ETH geotechnical centrifuge. At such a small scale, the reinforcement will be manufactured with a 3D printer in cooperation with the the laboratory of Alloy Design for Advanced Processing Technologies of Empa. The aim of these physical models is to validate the system-level assumptions of the numerical models, for given and experimentally determined component-level behavior.

Job description

You will design and manufacture the specimens, perform the centrifuge tests, and create and validate numerical models to predict the tests results. Therefore, you will perform both experimental and numerical work.

Your profile

You meet the requirements for a doctoral programme at ETH Zürich, hold an MSc in Civil Engineering (or equivalent) and have a strong background in Mechanics and Structural/Earthquake Engineering. Outstanding applicants from Geotechnical Engineering will also be considered. You are highly motivated and eager to learn and you like to combine theoretical considerations and models with experimental tasks. Proficiency in written and oral English is required – German speaking skills are not necessary. Most importantly, you should enjoy research and be self-motivated.

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.
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We look forward to receiving your online application with the following documents:

  • letter of motivation (please be to the point)
  • CV
  • transcripts
  • diplomas
  • contact details of referees

Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

The position is open until filled. We will start reviewing the applications on July 15th. You are expected to start in Fall 2021.

Further information about the Institute of Structural Engineering and the Chair of Seismic Design and Analysis can be found on and Questions regarding the position should be directed to Prof. Dr. Michalis Vassiliou ( (no applications).

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