Research assistant_R4D_Suggs

The Institute for Public Communication (ICP), Faculty of Communication Sciences, at the Università della Svizzera italiana (USI) in Lugano, Switzerland, announces a call for a Doctoral Student and Research Assistant position in Social Marketing.

The candidate will join the research team of Professor L. Suzanne Suggs, the BeCHANGE Research Group, in the ICP. During the 3-year doctorate, the candidate will assist Prof. Suggs in her research, teaching, and service activities, and develop and carry out a doctoral research project in social marketing and communication, resulting in a cumulative dissertation and other academic output.

The research assistant will conduct research on effective communication in the areas of end of life care, vaccination, nutrition, physical activity, participatory methods, and health systems strengthening, aimed at policy, community and/or individual levels. The position is partially funded by R4D: Public Health grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and Swiss Development Cooperation called “Addressing the double burden of disease: improving health systems for Noncommunicable and Neglected Tropical Diseases,” which is being conducted in four countries (Switzerland, Mozambique, Nepal, and Peru). All communication research, practice and media activities for this project are developed, managed and monitored at USI, by the selected candidate and Prof. Suggs. The project requires excellent organisational skills, digital and written communication, forward thinking, ability to work well and efficiently with intercultural and interdisciplinary teams and across time zones.


  • Master’s degree in social marketing, health behaviour, consumer/health behaviour, health or public communication, marketing, public health, public management and policy, health education and promotion, or public relations;
  • Understanding of NCD and or NTD determinants, treatment(s), and effects on health systems;
  • Training in communicating about human behaviour;
  • Strong quantitative and qualitative skills;
  • Good organisational skills;
  • High achievement orientation, rigour, initiative, and capacity;
  • A team player and independent;
  • Forward thinking, critical and careful, flexible and curious;
  • Interest in scientific research related to social marketing and public health communication;
  • Fluency in written and spoken academic English. Italian and other languages (including French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, or Nepali) are considered an asset

What we offer:

  • A fully funded research assistant and doctoral student position as specified by the general regulations at the Università della Svizzera italiana and SNF.
  • The position is for 3 years, renewable annually upon satisfactory performance review, but may be extended to a maximum of 6 years.
  • A challenging and diversified field of activities with close contact to international research partners.
  • A healthy work environment with an international team of cooperative and friendly colleagues.
  • Possibility of conference travel and research visits at leading conferences and institutions.
  • The work will be conducted at USI, but travel may be required within Switzerland, to research partner countries, and to attend courses and conferences abroad.
  • The successful candidate is expected to reside in Ticino during the duration of their doctoral studies and work contract.

Please send your application (in 1 PDF file with a well communicated file name), including a letter of motivation, research interests, detailed CV, contact information for 3 referees, university transcripts, and a writing sample (such as an academic paper or an excerpt from a thesis or graduate level course paper), to Prof. L. Suzanne Suggs at suzanne.suggs at

The appointment starts March 1, 2016. Review of candidates will begin on December 20, 2015 and the call is open until the position is filled.

Read more