Project Manager: MainWood Joint Initiative

60%-80%, Zurich, fixed-term

Mainstreaming Wood Construction (MainWood), a new 3-year Joint Initiative project, will be launched in March 2023 to address the challenge of scaling up and mainstreaming wood-based construction systems as a strategy to reduce carbon emissions and enhance the quality of the built environment. The project involves 16 researchers from nine research groups across ETH Zurich, WSL, Empa, and EPF Lausanne, as well as several external industries and practice partners. The project is highly interdisciplinary and will explore the environmental, material, design, behavioural, and design and policy aspects of a transition to wood-based building construction. Funding has been secured for 3 years, to establish a long-term research centre on this theme.

We seek a Project Manager to support the coordination, communication, and further development of the MainWood Joint Initiative.

Project background

The MainWood Joint Initiative is an interdisciplinary research project that aims to provide the scientific basis to leverage the transition to a construction bioeconomy across the wood supply chain in Switzerland, and beyond. Drawing on the expertise of four ETH Domain institutions, the research will encompass forest dynamics and production under climate change, scenarios of material use and flows, new construction materials, development of new design and AI approaches to maximise resource use efficiencies, life cycle assessment evaluating impacts on carbon emissions and biodiversity, and costing models. The project will identify key leverage points in the value chain to scale wood construction and deliver environmentally optimal Swiss wood use scenarios. Environmental, economic, technical, societal, and policy research will be undertaken to construct a systems understanding that is required for transformative change towards a bioeconomy. The diverse array of expertise across the four research institutions will be further informed by private sector and NGO partners.

Job description

The duties and responsibilities of the position are diverse, and include:

  1. Foster good communication and a collegial atmosphere among all project members
  2. Coordinate the scheduling and management of regular project meetings concerning both research and project management and governance.
  3. Manage communication pathways and information flows to across project partners, and to other related JI projects as appropriate.
  4. Manage the dissemination of research products and activities, including a website, blogs, videos, and seminar series.
  5. Coordinate consortium meetings, and compile minutes from such meetings.
  6. Liaise with the ETH Joint Initiative Coordination Programme on administrative and contractual matters, and ensure the timely delivery of project reports (including annual reports).
  7. Oversee project accounts and ensure appropriate financial reporting.
  8. Organise workshops and symposia that engage with research, industry, and policy interests.
  9. Engage with external research and practice partners to develop a broader research, knowledge, and practice network.
  10. Coordinate and implement a project outreach strategy, including engagement with private and public sector bodies to promote project activities and facilitate uptake of, and feedback on, research and product outputs.
  11. Identify new opportunities for, and support the development of, new proposal concepts to secure additional funding for the creation of a long-term research centre.
  12. Prepare the agenda for the meetings of the Executive Committee together with the Lead PI, and record the minutes of the meetings

Your profile

You will be responsible for the day-to-day management of the MainWood project to ensure the project is implemented efficiently and across all its elements. The job will be diverse, requiring skills for project planning and coordination, fostering the emergence and development of new ideas, meeting facilitation, overseeing budgets, ensuring good communication across project partners, disseminating information, and engaging with a variety of external partners, among other duties.

You will need to be highly organised, and an excellent communicator, with exemplary interpersonal skills. You will need to be aware of how different aspects of the project are progressing and to identify and resolve delays or problems as they arise. Engagement, communication, and adaptability will be essential in this regard. While not directly responsible for the budget expenditure, you will be expected to ensure that funds are appropriately distributed to all partners, and that project financial accounts are compiled and submitted. You will additionally foster good partnerships with external partners from the research, private, and public sectors, and keep them informed of project progress while engaging them where relevant with project activities and outreach processes. The project seeks to secure additional funding to establish a long-term research centre, and you will be responsible for working with all project partners (internal and external) to promote the development of this centre and secure the requisite funding.

Your workplace

Your workplace




We offer

The MainWood project offers excellent opportunities to engage across a wide range of research topics that respond to global challenges of mitigating climate change, delivering a circular bioeconomy, and supporting biodiversity and ecosystem services in productive forested landscape systems. The position offers opportunities to work with four major research institutes, and a number of external partners and networks in Switzerland and Europe. This will support career development through the acquisition of new knowledge, skills, and networks. Project management and related training courses offered by ETH Zurich can be undertaken to further develop skills.

You will be based with the Professorship of Ecosystem Management in the Department of Environmental Systems Science at ETH Zurich, where you will work closely with the lead PI. The working environment is informal and collegial. A flexible working arrangement is possible on the agreement.

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 with the following documents:

  • Letter of motivation, describing your professional background and relevant skills, and the reasons for applying for the position
  • Full CV, including details of previous project management experience and training
  • Contact details for at least two independent referees

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

Further information about the Department of Environmental Systems Science can be found on our website. Questions regarding the position should be directed to Jaboury Ghazoul (jaboury.ghazoul@env.ethz.ch) (no applications).

For recruitment services the GTC of ETH Zurich apply.

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 with the following documents:

  • Letter of motivation, describing your professional background and relevant skills, and the reasons for applying for the position
  • Full CV, including details of previous project management experience and training
  • Contact details for at least two independent referees

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

Further information about the Department of Environmental Systems Science can be found on our website. Questions regarding the position should be directed to Jaboury Ghazoul (jaboury.ghazoul@env.ethz.ch) (no applications).

For recruitment services the GTC of ETH Zurich apply.

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.