Doctoral theses (dissertations) and PhD projects or Postdoc

1 PhD Candidate

The Clinic for Zoo Animals, Exotic Pets and Wildlife of the Vetsuisse Faculty at the University of Zurich (UZHH) seeks to fill the position of 1 PhD candidate (4 years) for a study on the long term effects of weaning calves on a specific diet. Whereas short-term effects of different diets on calf development have been documented in the past, the long-term effects (‘nutritional programming’) of a specific diet on digestive physiology and susceptibility to health problems have not been studied much in ruminants so far. The project is led by Prof. Marcus Clauss (UZH) in cooperation with Prof. Paweł Gorka (University of Agriculture in Krakow), and consists of at least one full year of experimental animal work (severity grade 1 on a scale from 0 to 3) with calves growing into cattle at the AgroVet Strickhof Facilities of the UZH and the ETH Zurich. There will be intensive interaction with the ETH Zurich’s Prof. of Animal Nutrition, Mutian Niu. The project is funded by the National Science Centre (Poland) and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), and has the potential to change feeding recommendations for newborn ruminants.

Your responsibilities

  • Acquiring the preconditions in Switzerland to perform an animal experiment with cattle (EGA or LTK module 20; costs covered).
  • Preparing the logistics for an already designed animal experiment.
  • Performing the experiment (with various levels of support) including the repeated  (3 batches) caring for calves, feed and faecal collection, and participation in sampling of body tissues after slaughter.
  • Data analysis of this and a parallel experiment performed with sheep in Poland, with a focus on the behavioural data.
  • Project management incl. efficient communication with project partners.
  • Preparation of scientific publications and conference contributions.
  • Supervision of undergraduate level students (BSc, MSc).
  • Participation in continuing education activities (journal clubs etc.) at the Clinic or Prof. Niu’s animal nutrition group.

Your profile

  • A degree in either (i) veterinary medicine, (ii) biology or (iii) agricultural or animal sciences; eligible for a PhD at either (i) the Vetsuisse Graduate School (, the (ii) PhD Program in Evolutionary Biology (, or (ii-iii) an ETH Zurich Doctorate (
  • High sense of responsibility for animals in our care.
  • Ease and comfort in the handling of large animals, and practice-based confidence to be able to care for animals in a way that benefits them, is an advantage.
  • Absence of social hierarchical thinking: you will have to collect faeces and clean animal stables, you will see your supervisor do the same, and animal keepers do the same. You do not have issues with, at times, doing menial work, and following orders from people of any education or gender.
  • Team-oriented approach and good communication skills.
  • Interest in large mammal biology, digestive physiology, behaviour and husbandry.
  • Experience with data processing and statistical analyses is an advantage.
  • You rather thrive when asked to multi-task than when focussing on a single task.
  • Reading scientific literature is a pleasure, not a plight, for you.

What we offer
Excellent research infrastructure, a salary according to cantonal (Zurich) regulations, and the project itself that also includes short periods of work at Krakow. Additionally, the 4 years of employment open the possibility to pursue interests shared with the supervisor, in the realm of domestic or nondomestic animal management, nutrition and health.

Place of work
Office at the ‘Animal Hospital’ Campus of the Vetsuisse Faculty of Zurich; large parts of experimental work at the AgroVet Strickhof Facility in Lindau, Eschikon.

Start of employment
Earliest starting date is January 2023.

If this position caught your interest, please send your application documents (letter of motivation, CV, certificates, contact details of at least two reference persons as a single pdf document, and additionally any publications or qualification theses as separate pdfs) to

Please do not send any emails between July 20 and August 21, 2022.
Applications will be considered from September 30, 2022, until the position is filled.

For specific further inquiries about the position, please email

Dissertations, PhD or Postdoc

The Clinic of Zoo Animals, Exotic Pets and Wildlife encourages applications for PhD and postdoc projects. Potential candidates should send a CV, pdfs of any publications, together with a research question and proposed method, as well as ideas for a strategy to apply for funding, to Both veterinarians and biologists will be supported whose envisioned work fits the profile of our Clinic. We will engage in support of the conceptual design of a study and in writing grant applications (e.g., for a Marie Curie fellowship or special foreign exchange programs). Please contact us well ahead of deadlines.