PhD position “Snow avalanche dynamics” available at SLF Davos, Switzerland

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PhD position “Snow avalanche dynamics” available at SLF Davos, Switzerland


WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF

The WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF is part of the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL and thus of the ETH Domain. WSL focuses on the sustainable use and protection of landscapes and habitats, and a responsible approach to natural hazards. WSL employs approximately 500 people, of whom 140 work at SLF in Davos.


The Research Unit Snow Avalanches and Prevention investigates the formation and dynamics of avalanches, develops warning systems for Alpine natural hazards, and issues the Swiss avalanche bulletin. For the research programme „Climate Change Impacts on Alpine Mass Movements“, our research group Avalanche Dynamics and Risk Management is looking for a


PhD Student Snow avalanche dynamics


You will investigate the influence of climate change on the flow behaviour of snow avalanches. You will use numerical snow cover simulations to assess the snow cover distribution and layering for specific avalanche starting zones. Using climate scenarios, the models will be further applied to predict future changes in snowpack properties. You will use full-scale experimental data collected at the Vallée de la Sionne test site to provide a physical interpretation of the underlying processes governing the interaction between avalanches and snow cover. You will use discrete element modelling and continuum modelling to investigate the effects of changes in snow stratigraphy and temperature on avalanche flow. The models should then be applied to calculate future avalanche scenarios. You will publish your results in scientific journals and present them at international conferences.


You have a master degree in Physics, Solid / Fluid Mechanical Engineering or Natural Sciences and experience in handling large data sets  and numerical modelling. You have good oral and written communication skills in English. You are well organized, operate independently, and in a structured and efficient way. Furthermore, you like to work in a team as well as within an interdisciplinary and practice oriented research environment and are keen to transfer your research into practice.


Please send your complete application to Jasmine Zimmermann, Human Resources WSL/SLF. Betty Sovilla, phone +41 (0)81 417 02 63, will be happy to answer any questions or offer further information. The WSL strives to increase the proportion of women in its employment, which is why qualified women are particularly called upon to apply for this position.

Online application link:

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