PhD Position (100%) on ›The Political Geology of Nuclear Waste Governance in Germany‹

Deadline: November 25th, 2023

The Human Geography Unit at the Department of Geosciences of the University of Fribourg (Switzerland) is inviting applications for a

PhD Position (100%) on ›The Political Geology of Nuclear Waste Governance in Germany‹

Starting date is preferably February 1st, 2024. The position is limited to four years.

The position is part of the SNF Project ›Nuclear Strata: The Political Geology of Nuclear Waste Governance‹ (2024 – 2027) led by Dr. Rony Emmenegger. This social science project focuses on the interplay between politics and geology in nuclear waste disposal programs, scrutinizing the politics around geology and the geological stratum in which nuclear waste ought to be disposed. It examines ethnographically how subterranean strata manifest and consolidate in discursive and material form at various science-society interfaces at the surface. Based on a comparative research design, the project engages three case studies, each representative for a long history of site exploration in a specific host rock formation (clay in Switzerland, granite in Sweden and salt, among others, in Germany). On that basis, the project examines the co-constitution of the Earth›s stratified composition and the formation of (post-)nuclear nation-states.  


  • Scientific university degree (M.A., M.Sc. or equivalent) in Geography, Sociology, Anthropology, Science Studies or related fields.
  • Interest in questions related to political geology and environmental governance more broadly.
  • Solid training in social science theory and qualitative (preferably ethnographic) research methods.
  • Outstanding analytical skills and ability to engage with (geo)science research and debates.
  • Ability to work independently as well as in collaboration and team.
  • Proficiency in German language.


  • Planning and realization of a PhD project on the political geology of nuclear waste governance, including desk research and 10 months fieldwork in Germany. 
  • Participation in comparative case study analysis in collaboration with SNF Project partners (incl. University of Mainz, Frankfurt a. M. and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology).
  • Organizational and administrative tasks in the frame of the SNF Project.
  • Collaboration in academic analysis and publishing.

We offer

  • The possibility to write a PhD thesis in a young and innovative research team, and in a vibrant scientific environment.
  • The opportunity to collaborate in international research networks, including short-term visits at partner Universities in Germany.
  • An academic home in an inter- and transdisciplinary collaborative research community at the Department of Geosciences.

Employment conditions: PhD-position at the University of Fribourg for four years. The salary is according to the SNF regulations for PhD-students between CHF 48‹680 and CHF 51’790 per year (seeür-alle-Doktorierenden-ab-dem-01.-Januar-2023.html).

Applications should be submitted electronically in a single PDF-file by November 25, 2023 (Extended deadline) to rony.emmenegger(at) – including a motivation letter; CV; degree certificates of university studies; contact details of two references; and a chapter of the M.A., M.Sc. thesis or an equivalent sample text. Interviews with selected candidates will be held in person or online between December 6 and 7, 2023.

For more information about the Human Geography Unit and its research focus, see here:

For further information and questions regarding the research project and positions, please contact Dr. Rony Emmenegger (rony.emmenegger(at)