Internship in Dübendorf, Switzerland

  • Eawag
  • Dübendorf, ZH, Switzerland
  • 24/05/2021
Full time Data Science Data Analytics Big Data Data Management Statistics

Job Description

Reasonable estimates for quantities and qualities (Q&Q) of faecal sludge that are accumulating in onsite containments are essential for designing management solutions. However, Q&Q are difficult to determine, as faecal sludge is stored underground, records frequently do not exist, and is highly variable due to many contributing factors. Previously, estimations of Q&Q were based on literature values from other locations that are often not locally appropriate. Therefore, the Management of Excreta, Wastewater and Sludge (MEWS) group in Sandec, has developed a methodology to improve estimations of Q&Qs of faecal sludge. To address the need for affordable, accurate and easy to obtain measurements of volumes of in situ faecal sludge, the Volaser measuring device was developed by Eawag and partners. The Volaser consists of a tripod, a distance-laser module that is operated with a smartphone application, and a probe. Over the past three years, several rounds of development, field-testing, and feedback have taken place, and we are now launching the final device with a global collaboration.

In summer 2021, in collaboration with 8 international partners, we will implement the Volaser and Q&Q methodology in 10+ cities worldwide. During the data collection period, partners will take samples from on-site sanitation systems, analyze them in the laboratory for faecal sludge characteristics, and measure in site volumes of sludge with the Volaser. Data collection in these different locations will run in parallel.

We are looking for an intern who will support the MEWS project manager with managing this project. Tasks will include constructing and shipping Volasers, helping with writing an assembly manual, making a video tutorial, communicating and coordinating with all of the project partners in the different countries during the data collection, and helping with data analysis of Q&Q data.


  • Construct Volasers (i.e. ordering and assembling parts, testing functionality, coordinating shipment)
  • Work together with the MEWS project manager to coordinate the work with all the different partner countries
  • Writing an assembly and operation manual for the device
  • Assist training partners on the use of the device and the implementation of the study and provide troubleshooting when needed
  • Help with development of sampling plans
  • Coordinate quality control with partners
  • Data cleaning and analysis

Candidates for this position should have the following qualifications:

  • Enrolled in a master’s program at a Swiss university during the entire course of the internship (this is a prerequisite, other applications will not be considered)
  • Background in engineering (e.g. environmental, civil, mechanical), computer science, natural sciences, or similar field
  • Fundamental knowledge on wastewater/faecal sludge management
  • Excellent organization and communication skills
  • Capability to collaborate with research partners and stakeholders
  • Fluency in English (spoken and written). Knowledge of French and/or Spanish is strongly preferred

Eawag is a modern employer and offers an excellent working environment where staff can contribute their strengths, experience and ways of thinking. We promote gender equality and are committed to staff diversity and inclusion. The compatibility of career and family is of central importance to us. For more information about Eawag and our work conditions please consult and

Internship duration and reimbursement
Duration: six months, the position will start as soon as possible. Eawag will provide an intern salary.

Place of work
The intern will be located at Eawag in Dübendorf, Switzerland.

Ms. Nienke Andriessen (project manager) and Dr Linda Strande (group leader MEWS).

Applications must be submitted by 27 May 2021.

For further information about the internship, please contact Nienke Andriessen. More information about Sandec is available at The recently published ‘Methods for Faecal Sludge Analysis’ book provides further information about the Q&Q methodology (chapter 5) and the Volaser (chapter 3):

We look forward to receiving your application (a cover letter and CV) through the Eawag webpage, any other way of applying will not be considered. Please click on the button below, this will take you directly to the application form.