PhD position in Soil Environmental Chemistry - ETH Zurich

  • Phd
  • Fully Funded
  • As soon as possible

Freedom and individual responsibility, entrepreneurial spirit and open-mindedness: ETH Zurich stands on a bedrock of true Swiss values. Our university for science and technology dates back to the year 1855, when the founders of modern-day Switzerland created it as a centre of innovation and knowledge.

The research will focus on soil biogeochemical processes controlling the speciation, solubility, and plant uptake of cadmium (Cd) and arsenic (As) in contaminated rice paddy soils in southern China (collaboration with Prof. Fangjie Zhao, Nanjing Agricultural University). Rapid industrialization and urbanization in China over the last three decades, coupled with a lack of stringent environmental protection, has resulted in widespread soil contamination in China’s farmland.

Cd and As rank the first and the third, respectively, in the percentage of soil samples in the survey exceeding the China’s soil quality standard. Chronic intake of elevated levels of Cd and As poses considerable health risks to humans. The results of this project will ultimately help developing innovative paddy management strategies to minimize Cd and As uptake, and make an important contribution to securing safe food for a growing population in Asia and worldwide.


The ideal candidates are highly motivated for scientific research in environmental and soil geochemistry and the fate of inorganic contaminants. Applicants must hold an MSc degree (or equivalent) in environmental sciences, soil sciences, geoecology, geology, mineralogy, crystallography, chemistry, or a related natural science discipline. Good knowledge of spoken and written English and excellent communication and team skills are expected. Knowledge of Chinese would be an advantage, but not required. Employment will be according to standard regulations of ETH Zurich. The project will start upon mutual agreement, preferably in Summer 2017 or earlier (funding is secured 4 years).


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