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PhD Position in Risk Perception and Communication

ETH Zurich. Zürich, 28.04.2017


The Consumer Behavior Group belongs to the Department of Health Sciences and Technology (D-HEST) of ETH Zurich. We are affiliated with the Institute for Environmental Decisions (IED) and we are associated with the Institute of Food, Nutrition, and Health (IFNH).

Our research ranges from examining the decisions of individuals to decisions at the societal level.

PhD Position in Risk Perception and Communication

Topic ?Consumers? Risk and Benefit Perceptions of Technological Innovations?

Project: Research shows that experts and lay-people’s judgments of the risks and benefits of technological innovations differ significantly. This divergence in judgments and its causes have been investigated intensively, especially related to food innovations (e.g., genetically modified foods, irradiation, food additives), but also in other areas (e.g., chemical substances, nanotechnology, EMF). For instance, consumers underestimate the riskiness of prescription drugs, while the potential hazardousness of food additives (e.g., Aspartame) is overvalued. Furthermore, consumers apply simple “rules of thumb” (i.e., heuristics, biases) for their risk judgments. Successful risk communication requires an understanding of the perceptions and judgments of all people involved and thus, the relevance of social science research increases within this field. This research project should deliver insights into consumers’ risk and benefit perceptions, as well as the perceptions of other stakeholder groups for a variety of technological innovations.

Your main tasks will comprise the guided conception, organisation, implementation, analysis and publication of empirical studies. The start date is in July 2017 or at the candidate’s earliest convenience; the PhD position is limited to 3 years.

Your profile:
• Completed (or nearly completed) MSc in Psychology or related field within the Social Sciences
• Completed (or nearly completed) MSc in Food, Nutritional or Environmental Sciences with explicit interest in Social Science research
• Explicit interest in the topic of Risk Perception and Communication
• Good knowledge of research methods of the social sciences
• Good knowledge of multivariate statistical analyses
• Scientific writing skills and interested in publishing scientifically
• Good English skills (good German skills are optional, but advantageous)
• Strong ability to work autonomous and in a team

For further information on the position please send an e-mail to Maria Rey. Please hand in your application containing the usual documents digitally (PDF) or via mail until the 26th of May 2017 to the following address:

ETH Zurich
Consumer Behavior Professorship
Maria Rey
Universitätstrasse 22, CHN J76.2
8092 Zürich


Bewerbungsschluss: 26.05.2017