PhD Position, Applying Regionalized Life Cycle Assessment for Transformative Change Analysis

Trondheim, Norway
05 Jul 2022
End of advertisement period
28 Aug 2022
Contract Type
Full Time

About the position

For a position as a PhD Candidate, the goal is a completed doctoral education up to an obtained doctoral degree.  

We have a vacancy for a PhD candidate in the Industrial Ecology Programme (IndEcol) at the Department of Energy and Process Engineering.

The aim of this position is to work across two upcoming Horizon Europe projects (BAMBOO and RAINFOREST) and one ERC starting grant project (ATLANTIS; ).

RAINFOREST (expected start in December 2022) is a project with partners in the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Peru, and Brazil. The project aims to contribute to halting and reversing biodiversity loss caused by our global good and biomass production systems. This requires upscaling and accelerating transformative change of these systems, including addressing the nexus of agricultural production, processing and transport, retailing, consumer preferences and diets, as well as investment, climate action and ecosystem conservation and restoration. 

BAMBOO (start in September 2022) is a project with partners in the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Peru and Tanzania. The project aims to improve the tools to assess the impacts of international trade of non-food biomass on biodiversity, to help policymakers, retailers and other stakeholders to assess and mitigate their impacts. Models to quantify biodiversity impacts using four indicators will be developed: species richness, mean species abundance, functional diversity and ecosystem services and we will use a combination of existing models and newly developed ones. To improve the representation of trade, we will create a new, hybrid multiregional input-output (MRIO) model based on the well-known EXIOBASE and the biomass-specific FABIO models.

ATLANTIS is an ERC starting grant project focusing on quantifying impacts on marine species richness and ecosystem services from impacts of plastic pollution and marine invasive species.
The focus of this crosscutting PhD is the refinement, completion and application of the LC-IMPACT  method across and beyond the three projects. Impact categories dealing with impacts on human health shall be updated and implemented and necessary adaptations and extensions to categories dealing with ecosystem quality and resources shall be carried out.

Together with the project team, the PhD will identify synergies between the projects and work on the integration of the LC-IMPACT methodology in open-source LCA (Brightway) and MRIO (Pymrio) analysis software.

Finally, the updated and coupled LC-IMPACT will be applied to cases studies of transformative change, such as the production of non-food biomass like cotton or the impact of plant-based or plastic –based packaging options. There the full benefit of the multiple perspectives provided LC-IMPACT (human health, ecosystem quality as well as resource impacts) shall be explored. The project includes potential collaboration with the project partners involved in the three projects.

IndEcol is a pioneer in the development and application of industrial ecology methods, as well as the use of large data sets and scientific computing in industrial ecology. We focus on understanding resource use and environmental pollution associated with human activities, assessing the environmental aspects of different technologies and modeling society’s use of materials. IndEcol combines world-class competence in Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), Input-Output analysis (I/O), and Material Flow Analysis (MFA) with scientists’ contribution to IPCC assessment reports, the International Resource Panel, active participation to the UNEP/SETAC Life-Cycle Initiative, and numerous publications featured in high-ranked journals. IndEcol hosts its own International MSc program and contributes to NTNU’s engineering education- The research team consisting of eight faculty members, the Industrial Ecology Digital Laboratory, and about 70 researchers, and PhDs.

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

The appointment has a duration of three years with an anticipated start date in December 2022. The appointment is financed through NTNU. 

Duties of the position

  • Update and extend LC-IMPACT with a focus on human health related and resource impact related impact categories based on current developments in the field
  • Contribute to implementing LC-IMPACT into the Brightway and Pymrio tools
  • Collect life cycle inventory data and carry out life cycle assessments for case studies relevant and contributing to ATLANTIS, BAMBOO and RAINFOREST
  • Contribute to an online calculator for showcasing the biodiversity footprint of kitchen recipes in RAINFOREST
  • Dissemination of results in scholarly journals, at international conferences and for the general public

Required selection criteria

  • You must have a professionally relevant background in industrial ecology, environmental science/engineering, environmental toxicology, agronomy, mathematics, or similar. Bachelor’s and master’s degrees in other disciplines will be considered on a case-by-case basis. In particular we are also open for applicants with a social or natural science master’s with strong computational or statistical competence.
  • Your education must correspond to a five-year Norwegian degree program, where 120 credits are obtained at master's level
  • You must have a strong academic background from your previous studies and an average grade from the master's degree program, or equivalent education, which is equal to B or better compared with NTNU's grading scale. If you do not have letter grades from previous studies, you must have an equally good academic basis. If you have a weaker grade background, you may be assessed if you can document that you are particularly suitable for a PhD education.
  • Master's students can apply, but the master's degree must be obtained and documented. 
  • You must meet the requirements for admission to the faculty's doctoral program.
  • You must describe your motivation and qualification for the research in your cover letter
  • Competence in programming/mathematical modelling in Python, R, MatLab or similar.
  • Interest in sustainability science and strong incentive to learn Industrial Ecology methods like LCA and input-output analysis.
  • Proven analytical and computational capabilities, in courses and or/thesis deliverables 
  • Proven written and oral English communication skills

The appointment is to be made in accordance with  Regulations concerning the degrees of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) and Philosodophiae Doctor (PhD) in artistic research national guidelines for appointment as PhD, post doctor and research assistant  

Preferred selection criteria

  • Completed courses in life cycle assessments is an advantage
  • Documented competence in using the Python scientific computing stack (Numpy, Pandas, Jupyter Notebooks) or of another programming language used for environmental data analysis is of advantage
  • Experience with data visualization
  • Excellent, proven skills in project management and/or communication and outreach
  • Knowledge of Brightway is an advantage

Personal characteristics

  • Completed courses in life cycle assessments is an advantage
  • Documented competence in using the Python scientific computing stack (Numpy, Pandas, Jupyter Notebooks) or of another programming language used for environmental data analysis is of advantage
  • Experience with data visualization
  • Excellent, proven skills in project management and/or communication and outreach
  • Knowledge of Brightway is an advantage

Emphasis will be placed on personal and interpersonal qualities.

We offer

Salary and conditions

As a PhD candidate (code 1017) you are normally paid from gross NOK 501 200 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 3 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.

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

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 your application will be considered based solely on information submitted by the application deadline. You must therefore ensure that your application clearly demonstrates how your skills and experience fulfil the criteria specified above.

The application must include:

  • CV, certificates and diplomas.
  • Transcripts and diplomas (original and English translations) for bachelor's and master's degrees. If you have not completed the master's degree, you must submit a confirmation that the master's thesis has been submitted.
  • A copy of the master's thesis. If you recently have submitted your master's thesis, you can attach a draft of the thesis. Documentation of a completed master's degree must be presented before taking up the position.
  • In addition to the cover letter, a document outlining your motivation for the position and how you meet the required/preferred criteria for the position. We very much appreciate links to open-source repositories highlighting previous work.
  • Name and address of three referees.
  • Any publications or other relevant research work you may have.

We will take joint work into account. If it is difficult to identify your efforts in the joint work, you must enclose a short description of your participation.

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal and interpersonal qualities. Motivation, ambitions, and potential will also count in the assessment of the candidates. 

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

NTNU believes that inclusion and diversity is our strength. We want to recruit people with different competencies, educational backgrounds, life experiences and perspectives to contribute to solving our social responsibilities within education and research. We will facilitate for our employees’ needs.

NTNU is working actively to increase the number of women employed in scientific positions and has a number of resources to promote equality. 

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.

A public list of applicants with name, age, job title and municipality of residence is prepared after the application deadline. If you want to remove yourself from entry on the public applicant list, this must be justified. Assessment will be made in accordance with current legislation. You will be notified if the request is not accepted.

If you have any questions about the position, please contact Francesca Verones, telephone +47 905 44 199, e-mail If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact Mathilde Smith-Nilsen, e-mail:

If you think this looks interesting and in line with your qualifications, please submit your application electronically via with your CV, diplomas, certificates and other documents attached. Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered. Upon request, you must be able to obtain certified copies of your documentation.  

Application deadline: 28.08.2022

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 28th August 2022
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service

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