2 Ph.D. positions in science and technology studies / anthropology / sociology

Updated: about 12 hours ago
Job Type: Permanent

The Transdisciplinarity-Lab (TdLab) at the Department of Environmental Systems Science (D-USYS) offers a rich and lively learning environment. Our research and teaching cross disciplinary boundaries and are organized in close collaboration with colleagues from different disciplinary backgrounds and stakeholders. Our work focuses on advancing theories and methods for inter- and transdisciplinary research. 


We seek two doctoral researchers to join our team for the project «Investigating interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity: intersections of practices, culture(s) and policy in collaborative knowledge production» (INTERSECTIONS), funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF-PRIMA). The new research group is part of a dynamic, interdisciplinary, and intellectually vibrant academic community working in science and technology studies (STS) and cultural studies of science. 

This project studies interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research as means of achieving transformative change for solving societal challenges. Many factors act as obstacles to high-impact collaborative research, resulting in gaps and disconnections in practices and policy. We will explore the intersections among practices (researchers), cultures (knowledge) and policy (institutions) in order to improve the responsiveness of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research to address scientific and societal challenges. Our main aim is advancing the theoretical and methodological foundations for investigating and promoting interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity in research in Switzerland. It also focuses on the current policy debates around the impacts of and funding of collaborative research.

The research questions inquire: (i) what are the implications that methods have on how inter- and transdisciplinarity are understood, experienced, and supported; (ii) how inter- and transdisciplinary research help to address societal challenges in Switzerland and contribute to policy goals; and (iii) how disconnections between inter- and transdisciplinarity and the policy sector are overcome in Switzerland.

For this, we will apply different qualitative methods (ethnography, interviews and situational analysis) to study three National Centres of Competence (NCCR) in Switzerland; accounting for language evolution, migration, and materials design.


Your tasks as a PhD candidate include to:

  • Develop your own PhD research questions and ideas related to the project’s main aims together with your supervisors and peers;
  • Conduct qualitative research, including a systematic literature review and long-term data collection and data analysis in Switzerland;
  • Perform ethnographic field research in one National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR);
  • Collaborate with international partners by means of an academic visit to an interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary research centre (three weeks); 
  • Co-publish and support the publication of academic papers and reports in English;
  • Present results at national and international conferences, and participate in the STS community;
  • Assist in building the new research group, including consolidating databases, and contributing to the project’s website.

This is a fixed term position (4 years). Start date: February 2022.


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.


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