Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

PhD Position - Roles of chemical communication in forming plant-insect networks in a changing world (RESPONSE DP, ESR 25)

This job offer has expired

    ETH Zurich
    Biological sciences
    Environmental science
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    01/07/2021 23:00 - Europe/Brussels
    Switzerland › Zurich
    H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions COFUND


Within the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 847585, ETH Zurich is offering a 48-month PhD position for an early-stage researcher (ESR) in the area of sustainable land-use change.

Job Description

We are looking for a highly motivated PhD candidate working on the innovative project aims to integrate functional traits (plant volatile organic compounds, VOCs) and network ecology to develop novel methods to explore the mechanisms on the formation of plant-insect interactions in ecological communities. The two main components of the project are: (1) Empirical studies where we will conduct fieldwork to build plant-insect interaction networks, and collect and analyse plant scent; and (2) theoretical work where we will build a conceptual framework and test it with field data.

A planned secondment of 10 months at Office for Nature and Environment Grisons (Amt für Natur und Umwelt Graubünden) in Canton Grisons (Switzerland) is part of this project. During this secondment, the ESR will involve in transferring scientific knowledge to policy making and to the public. To achieve this, the ESR will be working closely with Office for Nature and Environment Grisons to generate a factsheet on concrete strategies for habitat and ecosystem conservation with newly gained scientific knowledge from the project, and to attend policy-related governmental meetings and public outreach.

The anticipated results/outcomes of this project are (1) deliver mechanistic insights into the assembly of ecological networks in ecosystems; (2) generate new methodologies and approaches of quantitative tools to tackle the big challenge of predictability in ecological research; (3) open up new directions of effective strategies for sustaining ecosystem services. They will be communicated in /shared with scientific communities, governmental offices and the public.

More Information


We are offering an interesting position at the interface of science and policy. While working in an international, interdisciplinary and innovative research environment at ETH Zurich, the ESR will be jointly co-supervised by the Biocommunication group at ETH Zurich and the Office for Nature and Environment Grisons.

The complete 48 months will be under 100% working contracts.

The PhD salary follows the regulations of ETH Zurich and will be according to EU regulations for Marie Skłodowska-Curie Early Stage Researchers. The monthly gross salary will not be lower than CHF 3920.

The successful candidate will be matriculated and will have a working contract at ETH Zurich. He/she will work in Switzerland. The secondment will take place in Switzerland.

Expected starting date of the working contract: 01.10.2021

For questions and further information on the position, please contact (Dr. Pengjuan ZU, ETH Zurich, Pengjuan.Zu@gmail.comno applications.

For questions and further information on RESPONSE DP and the recruitment, please contact (Dr. Luisa Last, lpsc_phdprogram@ethz.ch), no applications.

Eligibility criteria

Early stage researcher in the first 4 years (full-time equivalent) of their research careers, including the period of research training, starting at the date of obtaining the degree which would formally entitle them to embark on a doctorate either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the initial training activities are provided.

At the time of recruitment (for call 4 = July 1, 2021) by the host organisation, researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Switzerland for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the reference date. Compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays are not taken into account.

Selection process

For submitting your online application: https://join.lszgs.uzh.ch/ (select PhD Program Science and Policy). The online application should contain all information as indicated by the application portal. Moreover, the following documents have to be uploaded under “further documents”: 1) a letter of motivation to join a) the RESPONSE doctoral programme and b) to apply for this specific position (ESR 25), 2) a comprehensive tabular CV, and 3) transcripts of records. If you apply for more than one RESPONSE position, please refer to them in your letter of motivation. Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered. The final deadline is July 1, 2021. If you consider applying, we also strongly encourage you to contact us early-on, please do not wait until shortly before the deadline.


Additional comments

RESPONSE Doctoral Programme (DP): «RESPONSE - to society and policy needs through plant, food and energy sciences» is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Grant Agreement No 847585. RESPONSE DP builds on the academic expertise of three world-leading institutions - ETH Zurich, University of Zurich and University of Basel. The successful candidate will be integrated in the research network and infrastructure of the internationally renowned competence center Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center.

All RESPONSE ESRs will follow the PSC PhD Program Science and Policy that is unique in its kind. Through the curriculum of this program, ESR will be trained in the communication of scientific evidence to policy-makers and the public; the involvement of different stakeholder groups as well as in policy development and endorsement in Europe and at global scale.

For project, programme and application details: https://www.plantsciences.uzh.ch/en/research/fellowships/response.html

Offer Requirements

    Environmental science: Master Degree or equivalent
    Other: Master Degree or equivalent
    Biological sciences: Master Degree or equivalent
    ENGLISH: Excellent


Main Research Field: Chemical ecology, network ecology

Sub Research Field: Plant-insect interactions, information theory

RESPONSE is open to applicants of any nationality.


Specific Requirements

To perform successfully, potential candidates should enjoy working on a cutting-edge and interdisciplinary project and be interested in communicating scientific knowledge to the public and policy making. Candidates should have a Master's degree (or equivalent) in ecology, evolutionary biology, chemical ecology, mathematics or a related field, and enjoy working both in field sites to collect empirical data and on computers to build mathematical models. Chemical collection and analytical skills and/or programming skills (in R/Python/Julia) are a plus. Good writing and communication skills are also essential.

Work location(s)
1 position(s) available at
ETH Zurich

EURAXESS offer ID: 608557


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