Postdoctoral Researcher Position in Environmental Chemistry

Zurich, Zurich, ch
Company: ETH Zurich
Category: Life, Physical, and Social Science Occupations
Published on 2021-06-21 16:10:23

Postdoctoral Researcher Position in Environmental Chemistry

As the global population expands, the demand for food rises steadily. Meeting these needs in a sustainable manner remains one of the greatest challenges of our time. It is becoming clear that recycling human wastes can provide effective fertilizers for enhancing soil fertility and crop production, soil amendments for increasing carbon sequestration, and a means for improving public sanitation and health. However, the potential health risks connected to these practices are still debated, especially since very little is known regarding how antibiotics potentially contained in these fertilizers impact the soil-microbial-plant nexus.

Job description

This two-year postdoctoral position will be a key component of the SNF Prima project “Understanding the impacts of antibiotics from human excreta derived fertilizers on the soil-microbial-plant nexus” awarded to Dr. Gina Garland. The main goals of the project will be to determine what types and quantities of antibiotics are contained in currently utilized human waste-based fertilizers across Africa, how soil physicochemical properties influence sorption and degradation of these antibiotics once applied, and how this in turn affects microbial functioning and uptake of antibiotics by crops. Within this project framework, the postdoctoral researcher will optimize a multi-residue extraction method to characterize and quantify antibiotics and metabolites in soils, plants, and fertilizers by using pressurized liquid extraction (PLE) and liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Additionally, he or she will lead a sorption study assessing the capacity of different antibiotics to sorb to soils with contrasting physicochemical properties, and also participate in a large scale greenhouse trial, assessing the fate and degradation of antibiotics contained in the recycled fertilizers during the growth of two model crops. It is expected that the results from these activities will be disseminated as scientific publications and presentations at conferences. The postdoctoral researcher will be supervised by Dr. Gina Garland, who is based in the Soil Resources group of Dr. Sebastian Doetterl (). The experimental work will be conducted within the Soil Resources group at ETH and the analytical work will be conducted in the laboratory of Dr. Thomas Bucheli of the Environmental Analytics Group at Agroscope in collaboration with Dr. Christa McArdell of the Department of Environmental Chemistry at Eawag.

We are an innovative, interdisciplinary research team with well equipped working places and offer the opportunity to supervise master students in support of the research program. We are committed to promoting equal opportunities for women and men and to support the compatibility of family and work.

Your profile

We are looking for a highly motivated and team-oriented post-doctoral researcher with a doctoral degree in environmental or analytical chemistry or similar. A solid background in environmental organic trace analysis using LC-MS/MS is needed, and preferably knowledge on the analysis of solid environmental matrices and soil chemistry. In addition, a general interest in interdisciplinary research, sustainable agroecosystems and alternative management practices is preferred. We are looking for a creative individual with strong communication skills and excellent time management abilities. Candidates are expected to have excellent academic records and be fluent in written and spoken English.

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.


We look forward to receiving your online application including

  • Motivation letter
  • CV
  • publication list
  • contact details of three referees
  • The deadline to submit an application is Friday, 30th April . The anticipated start date is 1st September, 2021 for a period of two years. Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

    Questions regarding the position should be directed to Dr. Gina Garland by email at (no applications).

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