Research Assistant in Fish Passage Science

Updated: 3 months ago
Job Type: PartTime
Deadline: 11 Nov 2022

Research Assistant in Fish Passage Science


The efficiency of fishways at hydropower plants in Switzerland

The Chair of Groundwater and Hydromechanics at the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering at ETH Zurich is seeking a dynamic and motivated research assistant to work on assessing the efficiency of fishways at Swiss hydropower plants. Therefore, we are looking for a Research Assistant at ETH Zurich – Fixed term: 12 months.


Project background

To increase the efficiency of upstream fish passage structures, the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) aims to assess the current state of these fishways across Switzerland. Upstream fish passage is essential to provide for fish migration continuity and restore river connectivity. A thorough assessment of the efficiency of upstream fishways across the country will help to rank the different types of structures in operation and thereby inform future installations and design changes at current facilities. Considering the large number of dams and barriers that will have to design and monitor fishways in the country, such quantitative assessments are paramount to providing data to achieve more efficient fish passage.

In collaboration with the FOEN, our Ecohydraulics team at the Stocker Lab will quantify fish attraction, entrance and passage efficiency at different fish passage structures using a large monitoring dataset of PIT-tagged fish. The outcome of this project will provide the FOEN with a set of recommendations to improve fish passage efficiency at the hydropower plants that will be investigated, as well as knowledge of hydropower plants in general.


Job description
  • Integrate, organise, and manage a large database containing information about fish movements through different fishways.
  • Generate datasets of fish passage metrics to assess attraction, entrance and passage efficiency.
  • Perform statistical tests to determine passage efficiency about hydraulic flow field characteristics at fishways, quantify cumulative passage, and quantify fishway selectiveness for different fish species.
  • Work closely with other team members to perform data analysis and database integration.
  • Organise data and results for meetings and presentations.
  • Participate in project meetings with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Contribute to writing reports for the FOEN and manuscripts for peer-reviewed scientific journals.

We offer

ETH Zurich is a family-friendly employer with excellent working conditions. You can look forward to an exciting working environment, cultural diversity and attractive offers and benefits.


Your profile
  • MSc or PhD in Environmental Science, Engineering, Ecology, Ecohydraulics or a related discipline.
  • Demonstrated skills in data management, visualisation and analysis.
  • Demonstrated skills in statistical analysis using R/Python/Matlab. Knowledge or proficiency in R is desirable but not a must.
  • Excellent presentation, communication and writing skills.
  • Proficiency in German is desirable but not a must.
  • Demonstrated interest in interdisciplinary work and skills to work in a fast-paced research environment.

You will be directly supervised by Dr Luiz G. M. Silva, who will manage this project.


About ETH Zürich

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.


Curious? So are we.

We look forward to receiving your online application including:

  • CV
  • brief (1-2 page) motivation letter
  • 1-2 reference letters are desirable, but not a must.

Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through the ETH online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered. For questions regarding the position, please contact Luiz Silva by email at lumartins@ethz.ch (do not send applications please).

The review of applications will begin on September 12, 2022. We aim for the successful candidate to start on October 1, 2022, or as soon as possible thereafter.


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