PhD Position in Ground Motion Modelling for Improved Earthquake Magnitude Determination

100%, Zurich, fixed-term

ETH Zürich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. It is renowned for its excellent education, its cutting-edge fundamental research and its efforts to put new knowledge and innovations directly into practice. The Swiss Seismological Service (SED) is the federal agency responsible for monitoring earthquakes in Switzerland and its neighbouring countries and for assessing Switzerland's seismic hazard. The activities of the SED are integrated in the federal program for earthquake risk reduction.

Job description

The PhD position is at the core of the project “Swiss 3D magnitude and ground-shaking from dense instrumental observations and numerical modelling at regional scale” funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). The project aims at the development of a comprehensive study in the broad domain of ground-motion modelling (GMM) in Switzerland with emphasis placed on characterising the scaling and attenuation of the ground-shaking intensity measures that are most relevant for earthquake magnitude determination. Among the expected project outputs are:

  • reference frameworks and datasets for empirical and numerical GMM in the greater Swiss region;
  • a new, comprehensive, physics-based and futureproof model for Swiss local magnitudes;
  • improved understanding of near-source and micro-earthquake magnitudes;
  • improved understanding of frequency-magnitude distributions over broader magnitude ranges;
  • contributions towards homogenisation of region-dependent magnitude calculations with application to the greater Alpine region and beyond.

The successful implementation of the research project relies on multidisciplinary competences in the domains of earthquake monitoring, engineering seismology and seismic hazard. The research will be carried out by the successful PhD candidate at the Department of Earth Sciences (ERDW) at ETH Zürich. The selected PhD candidate will be based at SED under the supervision of Prof. Stefan Wiemer and Dr. Carlo Cauzzi, and will be jointly advised by an international group of scientists and professors at SED (Earthquake Monitoring, Earthquake Analysis, Engineering Seismology groups), ERDW, at the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ, Seismic Hazard and Risk Dynamics group) and possibly other European research centers.

Your profile

We are looking for a highly motivated and curious candidate with a master degree in geophysics, engineering seismology or related fields, with existing background on waveform data analyses and ground motion modelling. The applicant should have strong quantitative skills, interests in and existing knowledge of modern scientific programming, seismological data analysis, numerical modelling, and enthusiasm for multidisciplinary research. The candidate is expected to actively interact with international research groups and be willing to travel abroad for short research visits. Excellent communication skills are required, as is fluency in English.

Your workplace

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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.

Working, teaching and research at ETH Zurich

We value diversity

In line with our values, ETH Zurich encourages an inclusive culture. We promote equality of opportunity, value diversity and nurture a working and learning environment in which the rights and dignity of all our staff and students are respected. Visit our Equal Opportunities and Diversity website to find out how we ensure a fair and open environment that allows everyone to grow and flourish.

Curious? So are we.

We look forward to receiving your online application by 30 December 2022 including the following documents:

  • curriculum vitae;
  • degree certificates;
  • publication list (if any);
  • academic transcripts with grades;
  • motivation letter of max 2 pages;
  • contact details of two referees.

Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our ETH job portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

The first round of online interviews will take place in January 2023.

For further information about the Swiss Seismological Service at ETH Zürich, please visit our website. Questions regarding the position should be directed to Dr. Carlo Cauzzi by email: carlo.cauzzi@sed.ethz.ch (no applications).

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 by 30 December 2022 including the following documents:

  • curriculum vitae;
  • degree certificates;
  • publication list (if any);
  • academic transcripts with grades;
  • motivation letter of max 2 pages;
  • contact details of two referees.

Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our ETH job portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

The first round of online interviews will take place in January 2023.

For further information about the Swiss Seismological Service at ETH Zürich, please visit our website. Questions regarding the position should be directed to Dr. Carlo Cauzzi by email: carlo.cauzzi@sed.ethz.ch (no applications).

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.