Monday, April 19, 2021

Postdoctoral Researcher: Agri-food systems for 'Agropolitan Territories' in Zurich and Singapore


This Zurich- and Singapore-based role is within the ‘Agropolitan Territories’ research module of the Future Cities Laboratory (FCL). The role is planned for two years in Zurich and a further year in Singapore.

The role focuses on agroecosystems and environmental systems research on the core module themes, specifically on the specified case study sites in Vietnam, India and Indonesia, supporting data acquisition, management and analysis within the team’s data platform, ur-scape ( It involves transdisciplinary research on agriculture across the rural-urban nexus in selected sites in Vietnam, India and Indonesia, and coordination of module personnel, reporting and budgets.

Duration: 2 Years, Extendable

Project background

The Future Cities Lab (FCL) is a research unit of the Singapore-ETH Centre (SEC) and ETH Zurich established in partnership with Singapore’s National Research Foundation (NRF), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), National University of Singapore (NUS), and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). FCL is home to 120 multidisciplinary researchers across hubs in Singapore and Zurich, organised in eight research modules.

The ‘Agropolitan Territories’ module focusses on the possible threats that urbanisation and agriculture pose to sustainable development. We focus on Monsoon Asia, a region that supplies most of the world’s staple crops (90% of the world’s rice, 45% wheat, and 25% maize), supports over half the world’s population, and is undergoing urbanisation with unprecedented speed. Effects of those threats will be especially disastrous for both cities (increased poverty, ill-health, pollution) and countryside (increased depopulation, greenhouse gas emissions, soil degradation, deforestation, biodiversity loss) in Monsoon Asia and beyond if not properly managed.

Our approach to these threats is guided by a vision for agropolitan territories which hybridise urban and rural settlement patterns for sustainable regional development. The module will draw on expertise in data analytics, coupled human-natural systems, agroecosystem science and urban design. We will produce innovative planning concepts, architectural designs, and building prototypes for sustainable agropolitan territories, anchored in specified sites in Vietnam, India and Indonesia. We aim to construct a 16-hectare demonstration agropolitan town for the site in Indonesia (

The module team is composed of two Principal Investigators (based in Singapore and Zurich respectively), two Co-Investigators (based in Singapore), two Module Co-ordinators (based in Singapore and Zurich respectively), and six research associates responsible for different aspects of the overall research mission.

Job description

The scope of work shall comprise of but is not limited to:

1) Research

  • Conduct agroecosystems research on the core module themes and support the planning, design and prototype development for sustainable study sites (Vietnam, India and Indonesia)
  • Contribute data to the team’s open-source software ur-scape ( and support development of innovative analytical tools
  • Disseminate research work by initiating, coordinating and leading on relevant publications
  • Lead funding applications as relevant to research themes of the module

2) Research Co-ordination

  • Coordinate comparative research across the three case study sites
  • Lead seminars, workshops and studios
  • Mentor research team members
  • Support module events such as exhibitions, workshops and conferences

3) Administration

  • Manage reporting requirements (KPIs, weekly meetings)
  • Supervise data collection and storage
  • Co-ordinate internal budgets and administrative tasks within the team
  • Manage human resource matters (interns and researchers)

Your profile

  • PhD or postgraduate degree in agroecosystems science, soil science, agronomy, environmental science, or related fields
  • Motivated for in depth and broad research within a multidisciplinary team
  • Creative thinker
  • Outstanding quantitative skill set
  • Experience with qualitative methods
  • Attention to detail and good problem-solving skills
  • Excellent written, verbal and visual communication
  • Good interpersonal and interdisciplinary skills


We look forward to receiving your online application with the following documents:

  • A cover letter with a specific statement of your motivation for applying for the position
  • Your CV including the name and contact information of 2 references
  • A copy of your university transcripts as PDFs

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

Further information about Future Cities Lab (FCL) Global can be found on our website Questions regarding the position should be directed to Prof. Johan Six, email (no applications).

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