University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland - SUPSI

Ph.D. student in Data-driven design and optimisation of building skins and lightweight structures

2023-06-25 (Europe/Zurich)
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The University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI) has opened a full time (100%) position for a Ph.D. Student in Data-driven design and optimisation of building skins and lightweight structures, at the Department of Innovative Technologies (DTI), located in the USI-SUPSI Campus in Lugano-Viganello, within the Institute of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Technologies (MEMTi). Contract start date is September 1st, 2023, or a date to be agreed upon.

The open position is for an Early Stage Researcher (ESR) within the European H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (MSCA ITN) “LIGHTEN- Ultralight membrane structures towards a sustainable environment”.


Building construction industry is the largest anthropogenic source of pollution with massive energy consumption and vast CO2 emission. Novel fully recyclable and low-carbon structural membranes offer a green alternative to glass and other transparent cladding materials used in lightweight buildings, resulting in significant weight savings in the structures and drastically reducing the environmental impact. The remarkably incomplete scientific and technological understanding of the thermomechanical behaviour of such innovative structural skins requires the development of engineering models capable of predicting their performances and allowing their rational use in ultralightweight buildings with enhanced energy efficiency and resilience. The EU-funded LIGHTEN project aims to educate and train a new generation of highly qualified scientists and engineers to become experts in advanced design methods for sustainable construction. Experimental characterisation, modeling, computer simulation and structural design will constitute the education of the researchers within an integrated doctoral program supervised by industrial and academic partners.

For further information about the Project, please visit


  • Undertake postgraduate research in support of the agreed doctoral research project.
  • Work closely with the academic and industrial supervisors to ensure the compatibility of the individual project with the overall goals of LIGHTEN.
  • Disseminate the research outputs through publications in international journals.
  • Present the research at major international conferences to both academic and non-academic audiences.
  • Communicate the results of the project through outreach activities.
  • Attend and participate in academic and non-academic conferences, events and seminars.
  • Attend and participate in all training events and supervisory meetings.
  • Be seconded to other network partners as necessary to fulfil the grant obligations.
  • Prepare progress reports and similar documents on research for funding bodies, as required.
  • Contribute to the delivery and management of the wider programme, including attending and participating in programme committee meetings.

As job descriptions cannot be exhaustive, the ESR may be required to undertake other duties broadly in line with the above duties.


  • A university Master of Science/Engineering degree giving access to PhD and in Mechanical/Aerospace/Civil Engineering, Material science, Physics or a related area.
  • Experience with the finite element method, machine learning or topology optimisation would be a plus.
  • Excellent verbal, written and presentation skills in English.
  • Proficient in programming.
  • A team player who excels in a multidisciplinary setting.
  • Self-starter with initiative and ability to set up, organise and execute the research.
  • At the time of recruitment by SUPSI, the candidate must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work or studies) in Switzerland for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to their recruitment.
  • At the time of recruitment, the candidate must not have carried out research for more than 4 years.
  • Not be already in possession of a doctoral degree.

We offer

  • 3 years fixed-term employment contract.
  • You will be enrolled on the Ph.D. programme at the Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering of the University of Trento, Italy.
  • You will be supervised by Prof. F. Bosi (SUPSI), Prof. M.A. Bessa (Brown University, USA), Prof. F. Dal Corso (University of Trento, Italy) and Dr. M. Penasa (CAEmate Srl, Italy)
  • An international working environment.
  • Participation in high-profile conferences, workshop and schools.
  • Attractive salary, in line with EU H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks regulations.
  • Being part of a network of leading scholars working on innovative technologies for lightweight tension building constructions.
  • 9-month secondments to one of the partners in the LIGHTEN consortium (CAEmate Srl, Italy).
  • Establishing a professional network in academia and industry.

About CAEmate Srl

CAEmate Srl is a rapidly growing hi-tech company active in the development of innovative software solutions and cloud applications targeted to engineering workflow automation. The company employs the most advanced technologies in object-oriented programming, cloud-computing and numerical simulation (FEA, CFD, DEM) to improve efficiency and safety in the engineering design procedures.

Additional information

The requirements for this function are published as part of SUPSI’s internal regulations (Direttive interne SUPSI - and as part of the SUPSI employee regulations (Regolamento del personale SUPSI) on the website (follow the links to SUPSI, “Documenti ufficiali”).

For further information, please contact:

Prof. Federico Bosi

Applicants should submit the following documents, written in English:

  • A motivation letter (1-2 pages).
  • Curriculum vitae with publications list (if any).
  • Electronic copy of your master’s certificate (or equivalent) or certificate of graduation
  • List of courses and grades of bachelor’s and master’s degrees (transcript of records).
  • List of (at least) two references (with e-mail addresses).

Applications will be considered only if submitted electronically by June 25th, 2023, through the appropriate form.

Applications that are incomplete, submitted to other addresses, or submitted beyond the deadline will not be accepted.


Ph.D. student in Data-driven design and optimisation of building skins and lightweight structures
Via Cantonale 2C Lugano, Schweiz
2023-06-25 23:59 (Europe/Zurich)
2023-06-25 23:59 (CET)
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The University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI) is one of the nine professional universities recognised by the Swiss Co...

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