Postdoctoral Researcher in Architectural Cognition in Practice

ETH Zürich Future Cities Laboratory


Post-Doctoral Researcher in Architectural Cognition in Practice

100%, Singapore, fixed-term

ETH Zurich is one of the leading universities of the world with a strong focus on science and engineering. In 2010 it established the Singapore-ETH Centre (SEC) in collaboration with the National Research Foundation (NRF) to do interdisciplinary research on pressing problems.

The centre currently runs several research programmes with the Future Cities Laboratory Global (FCL) as one of the programmes. It is home to a community of over 100 PhD, postdoctoral and Professorial researchers working on diverse themes related to sustainable cities and resilient infrastructure systems. In the course of their work, researchers actively collaborate with universities, research institutes, industry, and government agencies with the aim of offering practical solutions.

Project background

The Architectural Cognition in Practice (ACP) research group, within Future Cities Lab Global, Singapore-ETH Centre, aims to improve how architects conceptualise the end-users in the architectural and urban design process, by providing empirical knowledge and evaluation methods from the multidisciplinary field of Architectural Cognition. The project integrates a range of research techniques and methods from cognitive and behavioural science, implementation science, computer science, as well as from architectural research; these include, among others, behavioural mapping, eye-tracking, space syntax and others.

Through this approach the project aims to:

  • increase our understanding of person-environment interactions, including the cognition, decision-making in and experience of complex spaces by diverse user groups;
  • study movement through buildings and neighbourhoods, i.e. pedestrian activity, wayfinding, exploration and search for destinations;
  • understand the psychological influences of the built environment on individuals across diverse demographics and
  • equip design teams in the building industry (i.e., planners, designers, authorities, and stakeholders) with conceptual and computational tools to apply this knowledge and better anticipate user needs in the built environment.

Job description

The Post-Doctoral Researcher’s primary responsibility will be to carry out world-class research broadly within the group’s domain of interest and publishing in the top-tier international venues. As part of this responsibility, the postdoctoral researcher will co-supervise and work closely with PhD students, undergraduate and masters students within the group. Furthermore, due to the nature of the project, the postdoctoral researcher is expected to engage in external collaborations with both academic and industry partners at other institutions; promising collaborations with top external colleagues will be encouraged.

This position offers a unique opportunity for experienced post-doctoral researchers, with a background in cognitive / behavioural / environmental psychology to conduct research on the links between the design and qualities of the built environment, human cognition and broadly well-being, as well as how to translate research into policy making (architecture and urban planning). The postdoc will have a strong motivation to collaborate with researchers from architecture and planning to develop new ways to integrate findings and research into policy and practice; so prior knowledge of in these fields is desirable but not required.

Furthermore, a strong involvement is expected in the coordination and management of various other research aspects of the group's activities and projects, potentially including:

  • Helping to explore and define new research opportunities for the group
  • Writing grant proposals and technical reports for funded projects
  • Organisation of conferences and seminars within and beyond ETH
  • Assisting in the coordination of collaborative research projects
  • Participating in the evaluation and hiring of new group members
  • Participation in teaching and outreach activities is optional but possible if desired

Your profile

You should have:

  • PhD degree in Cognitive Science, Behavioural / Environmental Psychology, Public Health or a closely-related field, with a strong publication track record (in exceptional cases, PhD near to completion may be considered);
  • It is essential to have a strong research background in at least one and ideally several: spatial cognition, wayfinding, behavioural science, or user-experience research;
  • Track-record of experiment design and conducting spatial cognition research, and in particular wayfinding experiments in both real-world and virtual environments;
  • High motivation, ambition and enthusiasm about behavioural research, an analytical mindset, attention to detail, self-driven, and ability to work independently and as a research team member.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and a desire to develop advising skills and help foster the next generation of researchers
  • Outstanding communication skills in English, both oral and written.

Desirable skills include:

  • Good Knowledge of statistics, with emphasis in R, Python and open-science frameworks;
  • Experience in translational research / teaching between Cognitive Psychology and Architectural Design;
  • Using virtual-reality for research.

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: 

  • Curriculum Vitae (CV) including educational history, full list of publications, awards, etc
  • Research statement of approx. 2 pages covering your interests, goals, and how they would relate to and fit in with the ACP group’s research domain and activities
  • Copy of your more relevant publications (no more than 3 papers; contact us if the manuscript is still in progress)
  • Portfolio (if coming from a design-related discipline)
  • Names, e-mail addresses, and phone numbers of at three references, mentioning for each of them the professional relationship you have with them

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

Questions regarding the position should be directed to Asst Prof Panos Mavros.

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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