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PhD scholarship in Sustainable Energy Systems

Deadline: 02.06.2020

Norwegian University of Life Sciences

NMBU has a special responsibility for research and education that ensures the basis of life for future generations.

Sustainability is rooted in everything we do and we provide knowledge for life.

NMBU has 1700 employees and 5200 students and is organized in seven faculties. NMBU has a campus in Ås and in Oslo. In 2021 we are co-located on Ås.

Further information on NMBU is available at www.nmbu.no.

About The Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Natural Resource Management

The Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Natural Resource Management (MINA) works with nature and the environment, sustainable use of natural resources, biological and geological processes.

MINA’s employees undertake teaching, research and dissemination within the fields of geology, hydrology and limnology, soil science, environmental chemistry, forestry, ecology, natural resource management, renewable energy, and nature-based tourism.

Our vision is to be a key actor in knowledge production and dissemination, and our goal is to deliver research of high, international quality, and varied and excellent teaching. The faculty’s employees are significant participants within their respective fields of expertise, both nationally and internationally. The faculty is dominated by a vital research culture and high levels of scientific

The faculty has about 200 employees, 90 PhD students and 650 students.

Read more about MINA here

Are you interested in sustainable energy systems and transition?

About the position

Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Natural Resource Management (MINA) at Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) has a vacant 3-year PhD position in Sustainable Energy Systems: Local sustainable energy systems and transition strategies.

The global energy system is presently unsustainable and, on an unsustainable-energy trajectory. This understanding has prompted the UN to launch seventeen sustainable development goals (SDGs), where one of these (SDG#7) focuses particularly on energy.

The overall objective of the PhD project is to impart new knowledge of a local sustainable energy system and the particular role of local actors in achieving it.

The project has four parts. The first part aims at developing a generic model of a sustainable energy system, including the statistical interactions (synergies and trade-offs) between different sustainability themes. The second part aims at translating the generic model to a feasible sustainable energy system for local public and private actors in the energy sector. The third part aims at finding local sustainable energy transition strategies. The fourth part aims at assessing the role of a local sustainable energy system in achieving the SDGs.

The PhD position will build on an ongoing project on defining and operationalizing sustainable development in different sectors and on different scales and, moreover, on assessing synergies and tradeoffs between sustainable development themes and goals.

The core project team consists of an interdisciplinary research team in Norway and the UK. The PhD candidate will be included in a strong scientific working environment within renewable energy and sustainable development at MINA.

Main tasks

The PhD student’s tasks will include:

  • Gaining insights in theories and models of sustainable development, including basic needs, social equity, and planetary boundaries
  • Gaining insights in sustainable transition theories
  • Modelling sustainable energy systems
  • Collecting data from national and international data sources and performing statistical analyses
  • Writing scientific papers
  • Collaborating with private and public actors in the energy sector

The PhD student will be involved in study design and development of specific research questions.

The successful candidate is expected to submit a plan for the progress of the work towards a PhD degree during the first months of the appointment, with ambition to complete a doctorate within the PhD scholarship period.

Qualification requirements, desired experiences, knowledge and personal qualities

The successful applicant must meet the conditions defined for admission to a PhD programme at NMBU. The applicant must have an academically relevant education corresponding to a five-year Norwegian degree programme, where 120 credits are at master's degree level. The applicant must have a documented strong academic background from previous studies and be able to document proficiency in both written and oral English. For more detailed information on the admission criteria please see the PhD Regulations and the relevant PhD programme description. The applicant must document expertise and interest in the research subject.

Required academic qualifications:

  • A background (MSc) in engineering, economy, geography, political science, economics, or interdisciplinary energy studies
  • Documented knowledge of energy and the energy system
  • Documented knowledge in statistical theory and ability to perform statistical analyses

The following experiences and skills will be considered advantageous:

  • Experience with sustainable development
  • Experience with energy models
  • Experience with environmental impact assessments
  • Ability to communicate with local people in a Scandinavian language

In addition, the applicant should have the following:

  • Strong scientific capacity and analytical skills
  • Technical and computer skills
  • Good social and collaboration skills
  • Flexibility with respect to work tasks
  • Good capabilities in English, both orally and in writing
  • Creativity and ability to find solutions to practical problems

Remuneration and further information

The position is placed in government pay scale position code 1017 PhD Fellow. PhD Fellows are normally placed in pay grade 54 (NOK 479.600,-) on the Norwegian Government salary scale upon employment and follow ordinary meriting regulations.

Employment is conducted according to national guidelines for University and Technical College PhD scholars.

For further information, please contact:

Information for PhD applicants and general Information to applicants


To apply online for this vacancy, please click on the 'Apply for this job' button above. This will route you to the University's Web Recruitment System, where you will need to register an account (if you have not already) and log in before completing the online application form.

Application deadline: 02.06.2020

Applications should include (electronically) a letter of intent, curriculum vitae, full publication list, copies of degree certificates and transcripts of academic records (all certified), and a list of two persons who may act as references (with phone numbers and e-mail addresses). Publications should be included electronically within the application deadline. The relevant NMBU Faculty may require further documentation, e.g. proof of English proficiency.

Printed material which cannot be sent electronically should be sent by surface mail to the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Natural Resource Management (MINA), P.O. Box 5003, NO-1432 Ås, Norway, within 02.06.2020. Please quote reference number 20/01782.

If it is difficult to judge the applicant’s contribution for publications with multiple authors, a short description of the applicant’s contribution must be included.

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