Open Positions

URPP Global Change Biodiversity Open Positions

The University of Zurich (UZH) Research Priority Programme (URPP) on Global Change and Biodiversity (GCB) is an established interdisciplinary research program ( Biodiversity is both a response variable affected by global change drivers (land use change, climate change, invasions, exploitation, and pollution)  and a factor modifying ecosystem processes and services that are essential to human well-being. An improved capability to predict the consequences of changes in drivers will aid improved prediction of the state of the environment. The URPP GCB implements innovative avenues in this research domain by using a latitudinal gradient approach based on interactions, feedback and scale, to provide a more reliable and robust knowledge of global change processes.

We are looking for highly motivated, enthusiastic and independent applicants with a passion for science to join our research program. A high standard of written and spoken English is required. We offer outstanding working conditions, a high quality of life in Zurich, and an excellent support environment. The position start is as soon as a suitable candidate is found. Salaries correspond to the UZH regulations of PhD salaries. We invite applications for the following PhD positions:

Ref URPP-GCB-MES-17-02: Remote sensing of genetically relevant forest traits

We are looking for a motivated candidate, capable of doing research at the disciplinary boundaries of geoecology, genetics and remote sensing. We therefore invite applications for a PhD position in remote sensing of genetically relevant forest traits.

This project will link remotely sensed trait information of forests across a range of forested test sites (ranging from boreal over temperate to tropical) to phylogenies and genetic structure to infer partial taxonomies of regional communities. Remote sensing technologies to be used include imaging spectroscopy and laser scanning across a range of scales.

The successful applicant will be based in Zurich and embedded in a supervisory team including Michael Schaepman (, and Felix Morsdorf ( You will work in the Department of Geography, which hosts several research groups working on a variety of topics assessing the key drivers of global change and biodiversity.

To apply, all applicants must have a completed master’s degree in environmental science, geoecology, remote sensing or a closely related science field. Applicants must be able to work with statistical tools and scripting languages (i.e. Python, Matlab, R). Experience in doing lab work (e.g. HPLC, microsatellites) is an asset.

Please send your application (including position reference URPP-GCB-MES-17-02) as one single PDF file (motivation letter, complete CV, and names of 2 references) to Selection of candidates will begin 1 April 2017 and the position will remain open until a suitable candidate is found. For further questions, please contact or