Scientist or PostDoc for prospective and systemic sustainability assessment of wood and wood-based components

Updated: about 19 hours ago

Empa - the place where innovation starts

Empa is the research institute for materials science and technology of the ETH Domain and conducts cutting-edge research for the benefit of industry and the well-being of society.


This interdisciplinary position is shared between two Empa labs:

The Cellulose and Wood Materials Laboratory aims to understand naturally existing structures in wood based resources and tailor interactions between renewable polymers, nanoparticles and colloids. The major goal of this work is to find energy efficient routes to build high performance materials contributing to a sustainable future.

The Technology and Society Laboratory (TSL) creates and transfers knowledge to support the transition to a more sustainability society. In particular, TSL analyses novel materials and emerging technology applications with a focus on associated material and energy stocks and flows, and evaluates them with regard to both natural environment and societal constraints.

We are looking for a


Scientist or PostDoc for prospective and systemic sustainability assessment of wood and wood-based components


This research is part of a large interdisciplinary project within the ETH domain with the main goal to analyze the potential of Swiss woody biomass to contribute to reaching Net-Zero by comparing the effect of different wood use and substitution scenarios.

Your responsibilities

  • Elaborate dynamic Material Flow Analysis (MFA) of wood/wood components and identify and perform Techno-Economic Analysis (TEA) of relevant technical use cases for substitution scenarios
  • Assess the environmental performance of wooden materials in the substitution use cases and make comparisons with other bio-based materials (Life Cycle Assessments, LCA)
  • Assess the cascading or multigeneration use of wood or wood-based materials in the context of circular economy and optimal end-of-life options
  • Establish a material library for sustainable and functional/advanced wood- based materials and products linking the material resource to the optimal application area
  • Provide decision support and guidance for the optimal use of wood biomass towards reaching Net-Zero
  • Collaborate and communicate with different project partners and stakeholders

Your profile

  • MSc degree or PhD in environmental sciences, environmental engineering or a related discipline, experience and interest in materials science is a benefit but not a prerequisite
  • Previous experience in carbon footprinting and/or LCA and/or MFA methods
  • Additional experience in Net-zero carbon emissions, bio-based materials or circular economy
  • Very good oral and written communication skills in English

We offer a highly interdisciplinary research environment and flexible working conditions to perform relevant research for science and industry. Our young team consists of experienced scientists, postdocs as well as PhD and master's students.Empa supports equal opportunities such as the compatibility of work and other life areas and lives a culture of inclusion and respect. We are committed to increase the diversity of our team and encourage qualified people from all backgrounds and genders to apply for this position.

The workplace is St. Gallen and the starting date is January 2023 or upon mutual agreement. The position is initially limited to 3 years with the possibility of an extension.


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