The Molecular Plant Breeding group of ETH Zurich is hosted in the Department of Environmental Systems Science and is closely collaborating with Agroscope, the Swiss centre of excellence for agricultural research. The group aims at developing molecular methods and techniques to understand the genetic composition of complex traits and applying this knowledge to plant breeding, supporting the development of new cultivars with novel traits that can contribute to sustainable agriculture.

Project background

Successful plant breeding has always relied on state-of-the-art technologies to generate, screen and select plants with desired traits. New plant breeding techniques (NPBTs) encompass a set of different approaches with the potential to further advance plant breeding but also raise, as all new technologies do, certain concerns.

The project Engage within a joint initiative of the ETH domain aims at strengthening evidence-based dialogue on wicked societal problems, with one particular focus on NPBTs. Through experimental examples, Engage will explore and illustrate the feasibility of novel pathways for the potential application of NPBTs and link these examples to the social dialogue platform within Engage.

Such examples will be established in collaboration between ETH Zurich (Molecular Plant Breeding) and Agroscope (Breeding Research) using state-of-the-art methods, technologies and infrastructure. The working place is mainly at the Agroscope Research Station in 8820 Wädenswil (move to the Research Station in 8046 Zurich-Affoltern planned for 2025), whereas the position will have a dual affiliation to Eawag and regular work in the Engage co-working space at Eawag, Dübendorf (Zurich) is expected.

Job description: The overall task will be to explore and illustrate options to realize the potential of NPBTs with practical examples in crops that are highly relevant to Swiss agriculture. Through these concrete experimental examples, potential benefits, risks and technological challenges together with political, ecological, and societal trade-offs derived from the application of these techniques are depicted and discussed.

Specific tasks include project management, identification of genes for trait improvement, expansion of the plant tissue culture platform for crops relevant to Swiss agriculture, construction of binary vectors for plant transformation, production and purification of recombinant proteins, the establishment of plant regeneration assays and supervision of a technical assistant involved in the same project. Evidence-based interpretation, critical evaluation, discussion and communication of results within the Engage project, as well as collaboration and interaction with environmental, political and social scientists are central aspects of this position.

Your profile

  • You have a PhD in molecular biology or agricultural sciences, with strong expertise in plant biotechnology, genetics/genomics and plant breeding
  • Essential are excellent project management and communication skills, as well as the ability to work in an inter- and transdisciplinary work environment
  • A solution-oriented attitude and out-of-the-box thinking are advantageous
  • Knowledge of one official Swiss language (D, F, I) and excellent written and spoken English is a requirement

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.

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:

  • your CV
  • a motivation letter including the contact details of 2-3 referees

Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered. For further information, please contact Dr. Giovanni Broggini, Tel. +41 58 460 63 08 or email (no application documents).

Apply online now

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.

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