Postdoc­toral Re­searcher in Urban Sustainability Science

Helsinki, Finland
Wednesday, 30 September 2020
End of advertisement period
Sunday, 1 November 2020
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

The University of Helsinki is an international scientific community of 40,000 students and researchers. It is one of the leading multidisciplinary research universities and ranks among the top 100 universities in the world.

The Sustainable Urban Systems research group ( led by Assistant Professor Sanna Ala-Mantila, is affiliated with the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences ( and Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science ( Recently established and growing research group focuses on the ecological and social sustainability of human behaviour in urban context.

The Ecosystems and Environment Research Programme invites applications for a

2- year POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCHER on the project ‘Sustainable urban development emerging from the merger of cutting-edge Climate, Social and Computer Sciences (CouSCOUS)’

Decreased air quality is one of the major environmental challenges cities worldwide face today. The challenge is accelerated by the ongoing urbanisation that also necessitates planning of city neighbourhoods in a manner that enables a healthy environment for all urban dwellers. Sustainable urban development emerging from the merger of cutting-edge Climate, Social and Computer Sciences
(CouSCOUS) combines the fields of artificial intelligence, atmospheric sciences and social sciences in order to provide urban planning solutions that optimise the local air quality by developing novel methods taking into consideration population structures and traffic flows. The project has a multidisciplinary approach and, in addition to its scientific novelty, it provides the decision makers and city planners novel information and tools for creating sustainable cities. The research is funded by the Academy of Finland and other partners in the consortium are Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research (INAR) and the department of Computer Science at the University of Helsinki. The appointee will work in collaboration with researchers from the above-mentioned organizations, as well as with the international collaborators of the project.

The work of the appointee will work is focused on modelling urban population development. This project aims at understanding the high-resolution spatial and temporal variability of air quality at street space, and in our part of the project, we aim to understand how the socioeconomic characteristics of current and future populations are linked with air quality in different areas. The postdoctoral researcher will focus on developing methods for urban population forecasting at detailed level, e.g. studying the applicability of machine learning techniques to predict the population and comparing those to more traditional statistical forecasting methods. Using and understanding the novel methods and their usefulness for population forecasting is beneficial not only for understanding the health effects, but also for service planning purposes. Ultimately, we will produce information on how urban planning decisions contribute, or could contribute, improving the quality of life of future residents.

We are looking for a highly motivated candidate with a doctoral degree in statistics, geography, engineering, computer sciences, social or environmental sciences or other relevant field. Experience in geographic information systems (GIS) and quantitative methods is considered an advantage. We seek a candidate who is able to conceive, execute, and complete research projects, think independently and creatively, and who has excellent written and verbal communication skills. The candidate should work well in a team. The background and interests of the successful candidates will determine their specific lines of research.

The starting date is 1.12.2020 but can be negotiated. The position is funded for two years with a possibility for extension. The starting salary will be ca. 3300 - 3600 euros/month, depending on the appointee’s qualifications and experience. There will be a trial period of six months in the beginning.

Applications should include the following documents as a single pdf file: motivation letter expressing your interest in and suitability for the project (max 1 page), CV (max 3 pages) and publication list. Include also contact information of two persons who can provide a reference letter based on request.

Please submit your application using the University of Helsinki Recruitment System via the link “Apply for the position”. Applicants who are employees of the University of Helsinki should submit their application via the SAP HR portal. Deadline for applications is 1st of November 2020.

For more information, please contact the principal investigator Assistant professor Sanna Ala-Mantila: sanna.ala-mantila(at)

Due date

01.11.2020 23:59 EET

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