Ledig stilling på Universitetet i Oslo

Blindern og Urbygningen (Foto: Wikimedia og Colourbox)
Blindern og Urbygningen (Foto: Wikimedia og Colourbox)

PhD - ‘Sustainability and household consumption in Norway’

Deadline: 02.11.2020

Universitetet i Oslo

The University of Oslo is Norway’s oldest and highest ranked educational and research institution, with 28 000 students and 7000 employees. With its broad range of academic disciplines and internationally recognised research communities, UiO is an important contributor to society.

Job description

Include and Centre for Development and the Environment (SUM), University of Oslo (UiO), are inviting applications for a 3-year PhD research fellowship. Include is a research center for socially inclusive energy transitions, consisting of six research partners in Norway and Durham University in the UK. Include works closely with practitioners and has more than 20 user partners in the public, private and voluntary sectors in Norway as well as a few affiliated partners in the UK. Include is hosted by UiO and headed by SUM.

SUM is an international research institution with a well-established track record of undertaking critical, independent and high quality interdisciplinary and policy-related research on the challenges and dilemmas posed by sustainable development.

The PhD candidate will be part of the Include/SUM’s team on sustainable consumption. We invite applications from candidates with a background in the social sciences, and interdisciplinary experience is an advantage. The candidate must have a keen interest in critically understanding, theorising and explaining the factors that shape consumption patterns among households, using Norway as a case, as well as in seeking potential pathways for sustainable change. Specific areas of interest include, but are not limited to, food, electronics, energy and mobility. We welcome both general proposals and proposals focusing on one or several empirical areas.

More about the position

In this call, we invite proposals addressing sustainable consumption, with a particular focus on the role of households and the Norwegian context. Overconsumption is at the core of global sustainability challenges, yet often neglected in sustainability policy. Households play a crucial role, as a high share of total emissions and resource use is linked to household consumption patterns. In Norway, with high material living standards and strong purchasing power, consumption makes up a large part of the national carbon footprint. Consumption is also a central question with respect balancing social inequalities: First, consumption is unevenly distributed within countries. Second, affluent countries like Norway produce very little of what is consumed within their own borders, hence within the current production-based models of emission counting, Norway ‘export’ much of their consumption-related emissions.

A large body of literature has disclosed consumption as a complex social phenomenon that is strongly affected by a wide range of political and material factors. Still, in policy-making, sustainable consumption tends to be treated as an individual responsibility, where rational consumers will make sustainable choices if given adequate information. This project goes beyond individual choice and focuses on understanding consumption in the geographies and practices of everyday life, including how production and ‘systems of provision’ co-shape consumption patterns. Consuming sustainably is both a confusing and highly challenging endeavor. We are interested in better understanding the struggles and negotiations households engage in, as well as the social, political, material and institutional aspects working as barriers and enablers of sustainable and equitable consumption.

We invite proposals that acknowledge the complexity and fundamentally social nature of consumption. Beyond this, candidates are relatively free in suggesting their approach and focus. We are also open for proposals that deal directly with the relationship between systems of provision, spaces of consumption and everyday practices.

Qualification requirements

Candidates must have an academically relevant background typically corresponding to a five-year Norwegian degree programme, where 120 credits are obtained at master’s level. In exceptional cases we allow admission based on a one-year master’s degree. Relevant academic fields include – but are not limited to – human geography, development studies, social anthropology, sociology, gender studies, and political science. Research experience and/or practical work experience with regards to consumption and/or sustainability will be seen as a positive asset.

Further requirements:

  • Average grades of A or B in your master’s degree
  • Insights into the fields of consumption and sustainability
  • Proficiency in both written and oral English
  • Experience with qualitative research methods

It is an advantage, but not a requirement that candidates have:

  • Insights into the Norwegian empirical context
  • Knowledge of a Scandinavian language
  • Experience with quantitative methods

Personal skills

  • Ability and motivation to work in interdisciplinary teams, also involving practitioners
  • Collaboration and communication skills
  • Ability to work independently
  • Enthusiasm about contributing positively to the work environment at SUM and the research centre Include

We offer

  • A professionally stimulating and friendly working environment.
  • Salary NOK 479 600 - NOK 523 200, per annum depending on qualifications in a position as PhD Research Fellow.
  • Funds for research, travel, conference participation and dissemination, books and equipment.
  • Attractive welfare benefits and membership in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund, in addition to Oslo’s family friendly environment with its rich opportunities for culture and outdoor activities.
  • Workout during working hours, 1,5 h pr week

How to apply

  • Application letter (max 1,5 pages)
  • Research proposal (max 10 pages including references, see below)
  • CV (summarising previous education, positions and academic work as well as language skills)
  • Copies of educational certificates and two letters of recommendation
  • A list of academic work that the applicant wishes to be considered by the evaluation committee
  • The research proposal should specify clearly defined research questions, aims and objectives, a brief description of a relevant conceptual or theoretical framework to answer the research question, a methods section that demonstrates how methods relate to research questions and objectives, a budget, a progress plan, and a list of references/literature sources.

Short-listed applicants may be invited for an interview at the University of Oslo.

Formal regulations

The candidate must be eligible for uptake in a PhD-programme at the social science faculty at University of Oslo, and will follow this programme as part of the PhD project. Please see the guidelines and regulations for appointments to Research Fellowships at the University of Oslo.

No one can be appointed for more than one PhD Research Fellowship period at the University of Oslo.

According to the Norwegian Freedom of Information Act (Offentleglova) information about the applicant may be included in the public applicant list, also in cases where the applicant has requested non-disclosure.

The appointment may be shortened/given a more limited scope within the framework of the applicable guidelines on account of any previous employment in academic positions.

The University of Oslo has an agreement for all employees, aiming to secure rights to research results etc.

Contact information

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