University of Fribourg, Switzerland.

Starting date: June 1st or as soon as possible

We have an open position (4+1 year) for one PhD student at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, Department of Geosciences within the topic of: precipitation/snow accumulation in high-mountain cryospheric environments by means of climatological and meteorological data products, numerical models and field observations; and possibly with link to climate change impacts, risks and adaptation.

Understanding the atmospheric-driven spatio-temporal evolution of precipitation/snow regimes in Alpine regions is key to assess future changes in high-mountain cryospheric environments and thus to adapt to associated risks such as water shortage. The temporal and spatial scarcity of precipitation/snow data at high altitudes, however, limits related studies. Combining knowledge and methods from atmospheric and cryospheric sciences can significantly contribute to reduce this gap.

The successful candidate is supposed to advance in this challenging interface of atmosphere-cryosphere sciences, and to strengthen in particular the atmospheric part. The open PhD position will be well-embedded in ongoing and related research activities at our Department (mainly within the Groups Cryosphere and Global Environmental Change), while focusing on one or two of the following specific objectives:

  • Developing and testing approaches to link in-situ precipitation/snow measurements in high-mountain topography with gridded climatological and meteorological data products and numerical models (Alps, Central Asia, and/or Himalayas).
  • Analyzing the evolution of precipitation/snow regimes in high-mountain regions and their impacts on glacier and permafrost.
  • Assessing the related impacts and risks for the environment and the societies at the local and regional scale.

It is further expected that the successful candidate participates in teaching at BSc (French/German) and MSc (English) level and in other activities at the Department of Geosciences; and supports the maintenance of meteorological/cryospheric measurements in the Swiss Alps (mainly on Glacier de la Plaine Morte and Findelengletscher).

Applicants should have a Diploma or MSc degree in atmospheric, cryospheric or environmental sciences, or in a closely related field. Experience and skills in processing large (climatological and meteorological) datasets (e.g. NetCDF) is required, and in using (data) from remotes sensing platforms (incl. weather radar), numerical weather forecast models or (regional) climate models is a clear asset. Skills in fieldwork and mountaineering are an asset, too.

We encourage applications from scientifically highly motivated, independent and creative individuals with interests in interdisciplinary research, and which enjoy working in a team. Good oral and written communication skills in English are expected. Knowledge of German and/or French will be considered an advantage.

The Department of Geosciences offers an interdisciplinary, international working environment within the bilingual (German/French) University of Fribourg, Switzerland, situated close to the Fribourg Prealps and the nearby lakes of the Dreiseenland. Our research groups have a strong, internationally recognized expertise in measuring, monitoring and modelling physical processes of the Alpine cryosphere and with a focus on climate change impacts and adaptations, including the human dimension.

Please send your application including cover letter, statement of research interest, CV, relevant diploma(s), example of your own scientific writing (if available), and the names and contact details of 2-3 potential references (incl. your relation to her/him) in one pdf-file to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Please apply by 24 April 2019. Job interviews will be between 29 April and 10 May 2019, and may continue until the position is filled (after 10 May 2019, please check whether the position is still open here).

For questions please contact Dr. Nadine Salzmann: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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