PhD Candidate Modelling Human Impacts on Marine Ecosystem Services

Trondheim, Norway
May 07, 2021
End of advertisement period
May 31, 2021
Contract Type
Full Time

About the position

We have a vacancy for a PhD candidate within life cycle impact assessment in the Industrial Ecology Programme.

The appointment has a duration of 4 years. This includes three years of research and one year of duty-work. The appointment is financed by the European Research Council and the Department of Energy and Process Engineering.

The position is part of the ERC starting grant project ATLANTIS, which is about quantifying human impacts on marine ecosystems within the framework of life cycle assessment (LCA). For more information, check: 

The topic of this PhD project is the development of models to quantify the impact of marine invasive species and marine plastic debris on marine ecosystem services. The aim is to develop a global, spatially-differentiated life cycle impact assessment model for quantifying the loss of ecosystem services due to these stressors. There will be a strong interaction with two ongoing PhD projects about modelling the impacts of marine invasive species and marine plastic debris on species diversity.

This is pioneering work, as currently no global approach for quantifying impacts on marine ecosystem services within LCIA exists. The development of a framework for including marine ecosystem services and modelling impacts of specific ecosystem service losses is therefore cutting-edge research. 
Interdisciplinary collaboration with oceanographers, and ecologists are envisaged.

The Industrial Ecology Programme (IndEcol) is a well-established interdisciplinary group in the field of environmental sustainability analysis. Researchers at IndEcol participate in international expert groups, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the International Resource Panel (IRP), the Life Cycle Imitative hosted by UN Environment, as well as international collaborative projects.

The Head of Department is Professor Terese Løvås. The position’s supervisor is Professor Francesca Verones, the co-supervisors are Associate Professor Johan Berg Pettersen and Dr. Martin Dorber. 

Duties of the position

  • Contributing to designing a framework for covering marine ecosystem services within LCIA
  • Designing and setting up models for quantifying the fate and effect of impacts on marine ecosystem services (focusing on plastic debris and invasive species)
  • Deriving characterization factors for use in life cycle assessment
  • Application of the model in case studies
  • Dissemination of results in scholarly journals and at international conferences
  • Duty-work: Contributing to setting-up a cross-cutting exercise for the industrial ecology programme and exercises in Brightway (Python-based LCA tool)

Required selection criteria

The PhD-position's main objective is to qualify for work in research positions. The qualification requirement is that you have completed a master’s degree or second degree (equivalent to 120 credits) with a strong academic background in marine biology, ecology, industrial ecology, environmental sciences or environmental engineering, or equivalent education with a grade of B or better in terms of NTNU’s grading scale. If you do not have letter grades from previous studies, you must have an equally good academic foundation. If you are unable to meet these criteria you may be considered only if you can document that you are particularly suitable for education leading to a PhD degree.

The appointment is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants and national guidelines for appointment as PhD, post doctor and research assistant.

  • Proven analytical and computational capabilities, in courses and or/thesis deliverables 
  • Proven written and oral English communication skills
  • Experience in geographical information systems (e.g., ArcGIS, QGIS)
  • Experience in use of programming for environmental data (Python)

Preferred selection criteria

  • Completed courses in life cycle assessments
  • Study background or courses in marine ecology/biology/ecosystem services
  • Experience in use of another programming for environmental data (e.g. R, Matlab)
  • Experience in performing LCA with Brightway

Personal characteristics

  • Self-motivated, enthusiastic and dedicated
  • Motivated to solve environmental problems and advance sustainability
  • Ambitious and goal-oriented
  • Team player
  • Excellent communication skills

We offer

Salary and conditions

PhD candidates are remunerated in code 1017, and are normally remunerated at gross from NOK 482 200 per annum before tax, depending on qualifications and seniority. From the salary, 2% is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

The period of employment is 4 years.

Appointment to a PhD position requires that you are admitted to the PhD programme in Engineering within three months of employment, and that you participate in an organized PhD programme during the employment period.

The engagement is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants, and the acts relating to Control of the Export of Strategic Goods, Services and Technology. Candidates who by assessment of the application and attachment are seen to conflict with the criteria in the latter law will be prohibited from recruitment to NTNU. After the appointment you must assume that there may be changes in the area of work.

The position is subject to external funding.

It is a prerequisite you can be present at and accessible to the institution on a daily basis.

About the application

The application and supporting documentation to be used as the basis for the assessment must be in English.

Publications and other scientific work must accompany the application. Please note that applications are only evaluated based on the information available by the application deadline. You should ensure that your application shows clearly how your skills and experience meet the criteria which are set out above. 

The application must include:

  • CV, certificates and diplomas
  • Motivation letter describing your motivation for the advertised position and an evaluation of how you answer the listed required and preferred  criteria
  • Academic works - published or unpublished - that you would like to be considered in the assessment (up to 3 works). Joint works will be considered. If it is difficult to identify your contribution to joint works, you must attach a brief description of your participation
  • Name and address of three referees

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal suitability

NTNU is committed to following evaluation criteria for research quality according to The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment - DORA.

General information

Working at NTNU

A good work environment is characterized by diversity. We encourage qualified candidates to apply, regardless of their gender, functional capacity or cultural background. 

The city of Trondheim is a modern European city with a rich cultural scene. Trondheim is the innovation capital of Norway with a population of 200,000. The Norwegian welfare state, including healthcare, schools, kindergartens and overall equality, is probably the best of its kind in the world. Professional subsidized day-care for children is easily available. Furthermore, Trondheim offers great opportunities for education (including international schools) and possibilities to enjoy nature, culture and family life and has low crime rates and clean air quality.

As an employee at NTNU, you must at all times adhere to the changes that the development in the subject entails and the organizational changes that are adopted.

In accordance with The Public Information Act (Offentleglova), your name, age, position and municipality may be made public even if you have requested not to have your name entered on the list of applicants.

If you have any questions about the position, please contact contact Francesca Verones, If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact Megan Norris,

Please submit your application electronically via Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered. Applicants with European Master`s qualifications from outside Norway are required to include a Diploma Supplement. Applicants with Master`s qualifications from China are required to include confirmation of Master`s Diplomas from China Credentials Verification (CHSI):

If you are invited for interview you must include certified copies of transcripts and reference letters. Please refer to the application number IV-146/21 when applying.

Application deadline: 31.05.2021

Further information

This position is funded by an ERC Starting Grant. European Union Horizon 2020, ATLANTIS project. Grant agreement 850717.

NTNU - knowledge for a better world

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) creates knowledge for a better world and solutions that can change everyday life.

Department of Energy and Process Engineering

We conduct research and teaching covering the entire energy chain, from resources to the end-user. We look at how energy is produced and used by humans and machines in a sustainable way with regard to health, climate change and the resource base. The Department of Energy and Process Engineering is one of eight departments in the Faculty of Engineering.

Deadline 31st May 2021
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service

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