PhD Opportunity: Mechanical modelling of rock slope in-stabilities in permafrost, WSL

PhD Opportunity in “Mechanical modelling of rock slope in-stabilities in permafrost” under the supervision of Prof. Johan Gaume and Dr Marcia Phillips at WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, Davos Dorf, Switzerland

Project description:

The WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF is part of the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL and thus of the ETH Domain. WSL focuses on the sustainable use and protection of the environment and on the handling of natural hazards. WSL employs approximately 600 people, of whom 140 work at SLF in Davos.

For the new “Climate Change, Extremes, and Natural Hazards in Alpine Regions Research Center – CERC”, which is established as part of the SLF in Davos, they are looking for a PhD student in “mechanical modelling of rock slope in-stabilities in permafrost” 80-100% (f/m/d).

For this PhD position, you will design a rock mechanical model which includes the driving factors behind deep-seated rock slope instabilities in high Alpine regions, and their failure mechanisms. You will investigate the processes occurring from the weakening of the rock structure, via the initialisation of the destabilisation until catastrophic rock slope failure. Using thermomechanical models, you will investigate the complex effects of currently changing hydrogeological and thermomechanical rock mass characteristics on slope stability. You will have access to detailed field data from interesting case studies in the Swiss Alps and you will carry out laboratory experiments. Additionally, you will publish your results in high-ranking scientific journals, present them at international conferences and contribute to teaching at ETH Zurich, where you will obtain your diploma.

You have an MSc degree in the field of geosciences/geotechnical engineering, in structural-/engineering geology or a similar discipline. You have an excellent background in numerical modelling. Strong analytical and numerical skills and solid background in statistics are important. Processes occurring in high mountain environments are of great interest to you. You are fluent in English and knowledge of a Swiss national language is preferable, to interact with practitioners. Furthermore, you enjoy working in a team that operates at the interface between science and practice.

Please send your complete application to Clemens Güdel (Human Resources WSL/SLF) by uploading the requested documents through our webpage. Applications via email will not be considered.

Supervisors: Prof. Johan Gaume, ETH Zurich/Alpine Mass Movements group leader (081 417 03 82) and Dr Marcia Phillips, Permafrost group leader (081 417 02 18).

Location: Davos Dorf, Switzerland

Deadline: Unspecified

The WSL strives to increase the proportion of women in its employment, which is why qualified women are particularly called upon to apply for this position.