Open Positions

Please visit this page regularly to check for open positions. If no positions are available in your field of interest, nevertheless feel free to contact the relevant group leave to inquire about future possibilities.

  • Assistenzstelle (Doktorat, 75 %) in Humangeographie

    Am Departement für Geowissenschaften der Universität Fribourg (CH) ist zum 1. April 2024 eine Assistenzstelle (Doktorat, 75 %) in Humangeographie zu besetzen.


    • A. oder äquivalenter Universitätsabschluss in Geographie, Soziologie, Ethnologie oder Politikwissenschaften
    • Interesse an sozialwissenschaftlicher Theorie und Methodologie
    • Deutsch- oder französischsprachig mit sehr guten Englischkenntnissen in Wort und Schrift.


    • Planung und Durchführung eines eigenen Forschungsprojekts (Dissertation unter der Leitung von Prof. Christine Bichsel) im Bereich der Politischen Geographie, der Umweltgeographie oder der Umweltgeschichte.
    • Mitwirkung in der Lehre, insbesondere zu Methoden der empirischen Sozialforschung; Betreuung von Studierenden auf Bachelor-Level
    • Organisatorische Aufgaben für die Gruppe Humangeographie


    • Vertragsdauer beträgt ein Jahr und ist bis auf 4 Jahre verlängerbar
    • 75% Stelle (Anteil Lehre ca. 30%)
    • Stellenantritt : 1. April 2024 oder nach Absprache

    Die Gruppe Humangeographie ( bietet ein disziplinäres und interdisziplinäres sowie ein multilinguales und international vernetztes Forschungsumfeld. Die Teilnahme an den Aktivitäten des Doktorandenprogramms der Westschweiz ermöglicht, die wissenschaftliche Qualifikation zu ergänzen.

    Bewerbungsunterlagen (Bewerbungsschreiben, Lebenslauf, Projektskizze von max. 3 Seiten, 2 Referenzpersonen) sind als PDF Dokument bis zum 1. Dezember 2023 zu schicken an Frau Nicole Equey  . Die Anstellungsgespräche finden am 16. Januar 2024 statt. Für weitere Auskünfte wenden Sie sich bitte an Prof. Christine Bichsel .

  • Assistant.e en Géographie humaine (75 %)

    Mise au concours d’un poste d’ Assistant.e en Géographie humaine (75 %) au Département de Géosciences, Faculté des sciences et de médecine, Université de Fribourg (CH)

    Profil :

    • Titulaire d’un Master en sciences humaines et sociales (géographie, sociologie, anthropologie ou sciences politiques)
    • Intérêt pour la réflexion théorique et méthodologique en sciences sociales
    • Germanophone ou francophone avec un très bon niveau d’anglais à l’oral et à l’écrit.

    Cahier des charges :

    • Planification et réalisation d’un projet de recherche personnel (thèse de doctorat sous la direction de la Prof. Christine Bichsel) en géographie politique, géographie de l’environnement ou historie de l’environnement.
    • Encadrement de travaux pratiques de géographie humaine et enseignements de méthodes de recherches empiriques au niveau bachelor.
    • Participation aux activités scientifiques et à l’administration du groupe de géographie humaine.

    Conditions d'engagement :

    • Durée du contrat : une année renouvelable jusqu’à 4 ans
    • Poste à 75 % (dont enseignement environ 30 %)

    Le groupe de géographie humaine ( offre un environnement scientifique disciplinaire et interdisciplinaire au sein d’une équipe de recherche dynamique. La participation aux activités du Programme doctoral de Géographie de Suisse romande donne la possibilité de compléter la formation de jeune chercheur.e.

    Entrée en fonction : 1er avril 2024 ou à convenir

    Veuillez adresser votre candidature (comportant un CV avec deux personnes de références, un projet de recherche de 3 pages maximum et une lettre de motivation en un seul fichier PDF) jusqu’au 1er décembre 2023 à  Madame Nicole Equey  , Chemin du Musée 4, CH-1700 Fribourg, Tél. +41 26 300 90 17, Pour tout renseignement, veuillez contacter la Prof. Christine Bichsel .

  • Vacancy for a PhD student in Coupled hydro-thermal and geophysical modelling of impact of heat waves on permafrost

    Starting date: November or as soon as possible

    We have an open PhD position (4 years) at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, Department of Geosciences, Cryosphere & Geophysics Research Group( within the recently funded Swiss National Science Foundation project:

    Tipping points and resilience of mountain permafrost under increasing frequency of heat waves (TREAT) 


    Mountain permafrost in the European Alps is undergoing major changes under contemporary climate change with a clearly detectable increase in borehole temperatures, active layer thickness (i.e. maximum thaw depth) and ground ice loss. Besides drilling, ground ice is only detectable by indirect geophysical techniques, with quantitative estimations of ice content through the combined application of several techniques, such as Electrical Resistivity Tomography and Refraction Seismic Tomography. Further methodological improvements regarding geophysical measurements and joint inversion allowing for better ice quantification have recently been suggested (e.g. Wagner et al. 2019, Mollaret et al. 2020, Maierhofer et al. 2022), which can subsequently be applied to quantify explicit ground ice loss in mountain permafrost over longer time periods.

    Recent observations and future projection of increased frequency of extreme temperature events such as heat waves raise questions regarding the impact of heat waves on permafrost thaw, the rate of ground ice loss and the potential existence of tipping points. In particular, it is unknown, (a) under which conditions mountain permafrost will become wetter (due to additional water input from melting ground ice) or drier (due to direct drainage of the melt water and enhanced evaporation under climate warming), (b) whether substrate-specific tipping points exist leading to irreversible permafrost thaw and (c) which landforms are most resilient to climate warming and why.

    In our newly funded Swiss National Science Foundation project TREAT we attempt to provide answers to the above questions. This will be achieved by linking direct observational evidence (air and borehole temperature, soil moisture) and indirect geophysical evidence (electrical, seismic and electromagnetic techniques) with state-of-the art hydro-thermal modelling and newly developed coupled inversion schemes.

    Job description

    The successful PhD candidate will use data from our permafrost observatories (meteorological data, borehole temperatures, geophysical data, etc.) in the Swiss Alps to analyse the existence of tipping points and identify factors that increase the resilience of permafrost occurrences to future heat waves. Together with a second PhD student based at TU Wien and two further PostDocs within the project you will (i) analyse geophysical data over time and relate them to temperature and ice content changes in the ground, (ii) set-up the permafrost model CryoGrid (Westermann et al. 2023) for permafrost simulations at several observatories for different substrates, (iii) develop coupled inversion procedures to link geophysical data with thermo-hydraulic model simulations from CryoGrid and (iv) analyse the results with a focus on the specific impacts of heat waves on different substrates, the existence of tipping points and the future evolution of permafrost in high mountain areas.

    Besides the modelling activities, it is further expected that the successful candidate will participate in the operational geophysical field monitoring activities of the TREAT project partners as well as in the set-up of a new project-specific test site in the Berner Oberland, Swiss Alps.

    More about the position

    The optimal starting date for the position is November 2023, at the start of the project. This will allow having sufficient time for familiarising with the CryoGrid model and the various geophysical techniques before the start of the field summer. Workplace will be Fribourg/Switzerland, a small and lively University town situated at the language boundary between the German and French speaking part of Switzerland.

    The position is associated with the Cryosphere & Geophysics Research Group within the Department of Geosciences of Fribourg University Research Group WebsiteThe Cryosphere group has currently a staff of 24 scientists (including 10 PhD students) with strong expertise in surface processes of glaciers and ice sheets, snow, permafrost and geophysics.

    The position is further associated with the project partner Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo/Norway (Prof. Sebastian Westermann), where the permafrost model CryoGrid is developed and applied to a large variety of permafrost occurrences all around the world. Research stays of the successful PhD candidate with members of this group are planned within the project. Further project partners with a strong background in geophysical techniques are Prof. Adrián Flores Orozco, TU Wien/Austria, and Prof. Florian Wagner, RWTH Aachen University/Germany. Regular project meetings (online and in person) with all project participants will take place during the course of the 4-year project duration.

    Qualification requirements

    We seek motivated, independent and creative individuals with technical understanding and strong interests in subsurface modelling, geophysics and permafrost.

    The following requirements for the position apply:

    • The applicant must hold an MSc within geosciences, geophysics, atmospheric sciences, hydrology or in a closely related field.
    • Computer programming skills are mandatory, preferably using Matlab, Python, Julia, C++, R, or similar languages. Please provide specific examples in the application letter.
    • The applicant must have very good verbal and written communication skills in English. Besides English, communication within the Department is in German or French (University of Fribourg is a bi-lingual University German/French), therefore, the capability or willingness to acquire language skills in one or the other language is beneficial.

    The following points represent assets for the candidates:

    • A solid background in the application of thermal, geophysical and/or hydrological models
    • Demonstrated competences in the applications of geophysical measurements (such as geoelectrics or seismics)
    • Scientific background regarding the analysis of extreme atmospheric or hydrologic events (such as heat waves) or permafrost
    • Experience in mountain fieldwork or the willingness to participate in high mountain field campaigns. Mountaineering skills are considered an asset for the application, but as the focus of the position is on permafrost modelling, these skills are not mandatory

    We offer

    • Salary according to the standards for PhD students of the Swiss National Science Foundation
    • A professionally stimulating working environment and the ability to participate in a multi-national research project
    • The possibility to participate in teaching and other research activities of the Department
    • The opportunity to gain experience in supervision of BSc and MSc students
    • Rich opportunities for culture and outdoor activities in the city and surroundings of Fribourg.

    The Department of Geosciences offers an interdisciplinary, international work environment within the bilingual (German/French) University of Fribourg, Switzerland, situated close to the Fribourg Prealps and the nearby lakes of the Dreiseenland. Our group has a strong, internationally recognised expertise in the monitoring and modelling of physical processes of the cryosphere with a focus on climate change related impacts.

    How to apply

    The application must include:

    • Application letter (briefly summarizing your motivation to apply for the position and how you see your expertise fit with job description and required qualifications)
    • CV
    • Copies and transcripts of educational certificates
    • Contact details of 2-3 references (name, affiliation, relation to applicant, e-mail & telephone number)

    Please send your application merged into one pdf-file by e-mail to Prof. Christian Hauck  . Evaluation of applications will start 21st of September and continue until the position is filled.


  • Two funded PhD positions in Sedimentology : Sedimentary Basin Dynamics and Biogeosphere Interactions

    The section of Earth Sciences at the Department of Geosciences of the University of Fribourg in Switzerland invites applications for two PhD-positions in the fields of Sedimentology, resp. Basin Dynamics and Geobiosphere interactions.

    We seek 2 PhD-candidates interested in interdisciplinary research at the interface of Sedimentology, Basin Dynamics and Geobiosphere interactions. The PhD-positions frame within the SNF-funded research project ‘CONNECT: Paleo-Connectivity and Paleo-Hydrological change in an initial rift basin’. The overall aim of the CONNECT project is to understand the intermittent connectivity, connection pathways and complex hydrological exchange in an initial rift basin (northern Afar, Ethiopia – Eritrea) tuned by eustatism, climate change and volcano-tectonic processes.  On particular the CONNECT project aims to (1) constrain and localize the gateways connecting the Danakil Depression with the Red Sea during Pleistocene times and (2) constrain the paleohydrological and paleoenvironmental evolution of the northern Afar. This research project targets cross-boundary research with partners in Ethiopia, Eritrea, South-Africa, Germany, France, Austria and Spain.

    The first PhD-project (PhD-position in sedimentary basin dynamics) will be mainly focusing on the spatial and temporal distribution/mapping, as well as dating of Pleistocene to Holocene sedimentary units based on outcrops, cores and seismic datasets. The second PhD-student (PhD-position in biogeosphere interactions) will be mainly focusing on the reconstruction of the paleohydrological and paleoenvironmental evolution of the northern Afar using sedimentary facies in core sections and outcrops (coral skeletons, evaporites, aragonite crusts and microbialites) as paleo-archives.

    Applicants for both positions must have a MSc degree in Earth sciences or Geosciences. The candidate is expected to do fieldwork in extreme environments. Lab and/or field experience are welcome. The candidate should be proficient in English.

    The desired start of the 2 PhD positions is between 01.06.23 and 01.10.23. The deadline for applications is 31.04.23.

    Applications must include:

    • motivation letter,
    • one-page statement of research expertise,
    • detailed CV and publication list and/or copy of the MSc-work,
    • contact information of 3 reference persons,

    Applications should be made via email in one single PDF file to Anneleen Foubert.

  • PostDoc position in Rock glacier dynamics (70%)


    Rock glacier dynamics in the Swiss Alps:
    evolution and drivers at multiple spatio-temporal scales

    With the support of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), the Universities of Fribourg (UniFr), Lausanne (UNIL) and Zurich (UZH), and the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research (SLF) in Davos are launching the RoDynAlpS project, the first comprehensive and consistent study of past, present and regional evolution of rock glaciers in Switzerland. Through the combination of local and region-wide remote sensing analyses, integrative field-based studies and detailed numerical modelling, the project will provide a complete framework for understanding the dynamics of rock glaciers in the context of climate change. RoDynAlpS is a 4-years project, starting in spring 2023.

    Read more about the project : RoDynAlpS – Open positions

    Job description (PostDoc)

    You will act as the corner stone of the project, support the activities of the project and facilitate national and international collaborations. On the basis of already existing and newly collected data, the Postdoc will develop numerical and conceptual models to advance our understanding of rock glacier dynamics in the Swiss Alps in close collaboration with the project members. The research direction can be negotiated in the framework of the project goals, depending on your expertise and preferences. Participation in fieldwork campaigns is possible and encouraged.

    The expected start date in position is May 1st 2023 at the earliest. The contract length is 1 year, renewable up to 4 years (until the completion of the RoDynAlpS project). The activity rate is 70%.

    Qualification requirements

    You hold a PhD degree in Geography/Geoscience and have experience in the field of permafrost creep and rock glacier dynamics. You are an independent researcher, with a strong research vision and you are capable of coordinating a team with different interests. Additionally, you are an expert in either data analysis, numerical modelling, or remote sensing. We encourage applications from motivated and creative individuals. You have very good oral and written communication skills in English, knowledge of one of the Swiss national languages is an asset. Previous work experience in high-mountain terrain is beneficial.

    Working place

    The successful applicant will join the Alpine Geomorphology research group within the Department of Geosciences at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland.

    How to apply

    Application, in the form of a single pdf-file including a motivation letter, a curriculum vitae (summarizing education, positions, academic work and two/three major research achievements), a list of publications, copies of educational certificates, contact information for at least 2-3 professional references (name, affiliation, relation to applicant, e-mail) to Nicole Equey . Please note that all documents should be in English.

    The review of the applications will start on January 10th 2023 and will continue until the position is filled.

    For any question relative to the position and the application process, please contact Prof. Reynald Delaloye  and Alessandro Cicoira .

    Prof. Reynald Delaloye (UniFr) / Dr Alessandro Cicoira (UZH) / Dr Cécile Pellet (UniFr) / 01.12.2022