Doc­toral Stu­dent 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 behavior in urban context.

The Ecosystems and Environment Research Programme invites applications for a

2- year DOCTORAL STUDENT 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 environmental equality i.e. studying the possible co-locations and relocation patterns of urban population groups, urban amenities, and air quality in urban neighborhoods. Exposure to air pollutants is known to have links with socioeconomic and built environment structures. 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 further aim to understand how the socioeconomic characteristics of current and future populations are linked with air quality in different areas. In this field of research, studies from Europe, especially those using detailed spatial data are small in number, and their results perhaps even more mixed. Thus, further understanding on the co-locations is needed, and above all, we will produce information on how urban planning decisions contribute, or could contribute, to environmental justice.

We are looking for a highly motivated candidate with a master’s degree in geography, social or environmental sciences, engineering or other relevant field. We expect the candidate to be able to plan and conduct research independently, after initial training, and to have excellent written and verbal communication skills. Any experience in research and publishing is considered an advantage. The candidate should work well in a team. The background and interests of the successful candidates will determine their specific lines of research.

PhD degree consists of the student’s research project and studies specific to the research field, as well as transferable skills training. The appointee is expected to work full time on the PhD thesis and to complete their thesis and the associated studies in four years. The appointee will become a member of the Doctoral Programme in interdisciplinary environmental sciences, which will provide training, guidance and a community of PhD students ( The appointee should either already have the right to pursue a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki by the start of the appointment, or apply for the right and obtain it within the probationary period of six months of their appointment. If the candidate does not already have the right to pursue a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki, it must be applied for separately, please see:

The starting date is 1.12.2020 but can be negotiated. The starting salary will be ca. 2200 - 2300 euros/month, depending on the appointee’s qualifications and experience. The position is funded initially for two years with a possibility for extension. PhD applicants will be expected to apply for further funding through the University of Helsinki’s Doctoral Programmes. 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 2 pages, including possible publications). Include also contact information for two persons who can provide a reference letter 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