Two PhD Positions in Earthquake Engineering

100%, Zurich, fixed-term

The Chair for Seismic Design and Analysis of ETH Zurich has two openings for PhD students in seismic design of rocking bridges with flexible restrainers. These PhDs are part of a Swiss NSF funded project.

Project background

Rocking structures have survived in earthquake-prone regions for more than 2500 years. This suggests that rocking structural systems can be used for the seismic design of bridges. Even though unrestrained rocking systems (i.e. dry construction without any tendons) have been proven resilient, the concept of redundancy demanded by engineering practice requires some sort of connection between the dry elements. In this project, we will connect the structural parts with tendons in series with springs. Here you can see a video. The springs reduce the overall stiffness of the system and serve as a form of seismic isolation. We will perform large-scale structural tests, both static (in the ETH) and on a shake table (in NTU Athens) and also numerically explore different aspects of the seismic behaviour of such structures. The aim is to bring rocking systems with flexible restraining systems closer to practice. 

Job description

The tasks that will be split between the two students involve a) Design and execution of the static and dynamic tests; b) Numerical work with Matlab; c) Numerical work with Abaqus. 

Your profile

You should hold an MSc in Civil Engineering (or equivalent), have a strong background in Mechanics and Structural Engineering, and have the willingness to work both in the lab and numerically. Proficiency in written and oral English is required – German speaking skills are not necessary. Most importantly, candidates should enjoy research and be self-motivated.

Your workplace

Your workplace




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 including:

  • a letter of motivation
  • CV (apart from your GPA, please indicate your class rank)
  • transcripts 
  • diplomas
  • contact details of referees known in the international research community

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

The project needs to start as soon as possible. So the positions are open until filled.

Further information about the Chair of Seismic Design and Analysis can be found on our website. Questions regarding the position should be directed to Prof. Dr Michalis Vassiliou, vassiliou@ibk.baug.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 including:

  • a letter of motivation
  • CV (apart from your GPA, please indicate your class rank)
  • transcripts 
  • diplomas
  • contact details of referees known in the international research community

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

The project needs to start as soon as possible. So the positions are open until filled.

Further information about the Chair of Seismic Design and Analysis can be found on our website. Questions regarding the position should be directed to Prof. Dr Michalis Vassiliou, vassiliou@ibk.baug.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.