Lund University, Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS)

Lund University was founded in 1666 and is repeatedly ranked among the world’s top 100 universities. The University has around 44 000 students and more than 8 000 staff based in Lund, Helsingborg and Malmö. We are united in our efforts to understand, explain and improve our world and the human condition.

Lund University welcomes applicants with diverse backgrounds and experiences. We regard gender equality and diversity as a strength and an asset.

Department: Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS)
The Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS) is an institute hosting research and education to address sustainability challenges with a critical perspective and solutions-based approaches. Our research projects focus on sustainability challenges such as climate change, water conflicts, food security, land use changes and urbanisation, often conducted in international cooperation. LUCSUS strives to catalyse change, on both a local and a global level, for a more sustainable society and future. The educational programmes at LUCSUS include a Master’s programme (LUMES) and a PhD research school. As of 1 January 2019, LUCSUS is part of the Social Sciences faculty at Lund University.

Sustainability Science PhD programme
The PhD programme in sustainability science consists of 240 credits (equivalent to four years of full-time studies); it concludes with the public defence of a doctoral thesis. The appointed doctoral student will receive a salary from the University for the four years, where their primary obligation is to complete the PhD studies. The PhD position also may involve departmental duties, mainly in the form of teaching of up to 20 per cent of full time working hours, in which case the position appointment will be extended by the equivalent number of hours. The doctoral student will have access to a work space at LUCSUS. The terms of employment for doctoral students are regulated in the Swedish Higher Education Ordinance (HF), Chapter 5, Sections 1– 7.

The research project: “The Takeoff of Staying on the Ground”
The successful candidate will work within the department’s new, 3-year research project analyzing the case of a still developing but potentially transformative political and cultural shift beginning to form around the recognition of the threat that frequent private aviation poses to the climate, examining the changing role of aviation in Swedish visions of the good life under climate change, and how this seed of a lower-carbon lifestyle might grow and thrive elsewhere. This research will document, analyze and evaluate the evolution of the conversations about aviation, climate, and the good life happening in traditional and social media in Sweden, and their implications for policy and daily life in Sweden and internationally. The successful PhD candidate will lead the media and social media analysis surrounding the fate of the Swedish flight tax, interview change agents who have publicly declared their commitment to avoid flying in their personal lives to understand their goals, motivations and strategies, and analyze the political and personal narratives they represent. The project Principal Investigator and main PhD supervisor is Kimberly Nicholas (LUCSUS), co-supervisor Johannes Stripple (Political Science).

General qualifications
The requirements for admission to third cycle courses and study programmes (in accordance with HF, Chapter 7, Section 35) are that the applicant meets the general and specific entry requirements that the higher education institution may have laid down, and is considered in other respects to have the ability required to benefit from the course or study programme (Swedish Code of Statutes 2010:1064).

A person meets the general entry requirements for third cycle courses and study programmes if (s)he has been awarded a second cycle qualification and has satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the second cycle or has acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or internationally.

Desired specific qualifications
The main research tasks for the position will be linked closely to the broader project’s objectives (briefly outlined above). The successful candidate will carry out independent and interdisciplinary research on the narratives around flying, involving textual and visual analysis, conducting and analyzing interviews, and leading the write-up of several first-author publications targeted at international peer-reviewed journals. There will be scope to define own interests and priorities within the project’s larger set-up.

The ideal PhD candidate for the position will have the following specific qualifications:

  • Fluency in written and spoken Swedish is required (textual analysis of Swedish media is a major task of the position).
  • A Masters degree in a relevant field, such as Environmental or Sustainability Science, Communications, Media Studies, International Relations, Journalism, Literature, Visual Culture, Human or Physical Geography, Human Ecology, Anthropology, Political Science, Sociology, or a related field.
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of an interdisciplinary, inclusive and international research environment.
  • Excellent writing skills in English.
  • Enthusiasm to contribute to teaching at LUCSUS, and to work with students including master’s thesis supervision.
  • A strong and documented interest in climate change, climate politics, and culture (in both Swedish and international contexts) is an advantage
  • Familiarity with media and social media in Sweden is an advantage
  • Desire for outreach and public communication of research is an advantage

Assessment criteria
Only applicants who are eligible for third cycle studies may be appointed to a doctoral studentship.

The applicants will be ranked based on an overall assessment of the quality of their application, including cover letter (including a description of motivation and specific qualifications), submitted thesis/theses, grades from previous studies, their overall personal suitability, and their interest and capacity to contribute to the overall goals of the research project. As third cycle studies in sustainability science are demanding, the applicant must be highly motivated and able to work independently under several time constraints. Good collaboration and communication skills are also required, as is proficiency in both written and spoken English and Swedish.

Application procedure
Applications are to be submitted electronically via the Lund University application portal. The application must include:

  • A cover letter in English of max 2500 words. This should contain a brief presentation of yourself, your motivation and qualifications for carrying out PhD research. The letter should also contain a statement on why you would like to work on this specific project, how your qualifications make you suitable for the position, and what individual interests and priorities you would like to pursue (within the project’s overall aims) if your application were successful.
  • A CV (in English or Swedish) (5 pages max) that demonstrates your qualifications for the third cycle programme in Sustainability Science (including academic publications, popular science publications, teaching experience, and communications experience, if relevant)
  • Degree and grade certificates of previously completed studies (bachelors and master’s).
  • A copy of your degree thesis/theses, corresponding to at least 30 credits (30 credits Master’s degree thesis, or 15 credits Master’s degree thesis plus 15 credits Bachelor's degree thesis).
  • Name and contact information of three professional references, preferably including one former research/thesis supervisor (note: letters of reference are not required in the first stage of application).

Interviews will be conducted with a shortlisted number of applicants during the final stages of the admission process.



Type of employment Temporary position longer than 6 months
First day of employment 2019-09-01
Salary Monthly salary
Number of positions 1
Working hours 100 %
City Lund
County Skåne län
Country Sweden
Reference number PA2019/139
  • Kimberly Nicholas, +46 46 222 68 12,
Union representative
  • OFR/ST:Fackförbundet ST:s kansli, 046-222 93 62
  • SACO:Saco-s-rådet vid Lunds universitet, 046-222 93 64
  • SEKO: Seko Civil, 046-222 93 66
Published 25.Feb.2019
Last application date 08.Apr.2019 11:59 PM CEST

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