Lund University, Faculty of Social Sciences , Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS)

Lund University was founded in 1666 and is repeatedly ranked among the world’s top universities. The University has around 47 000 students and more than 8 800 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.

Sustainability Science PhD programme

The PhD programme in sustainability science consists of 240 credits (equivalent to four years of fulltime 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 successful candidate will work within the department’s new, 4-year research project on Marine Coastal Ecosystems Biodiversity and Services in a Changing World. This is an international project lead by Portsmouth University with LUCSUS as partner. The complexity of ecosystems at the land-sea interface, and the uncertainty linked with future climate and socio-economic scenarios, represent major obstacles for identifying sustainable governance solutions. Adaptation to climate change can involve both building adaptive capacity, thereby increasing the ability of individuals, groups, or organisations to adapt to changes, and implementing adaptation decisions, i.e. transforming capacity or capabilities.

It can also involve people’s resistance mediated through alternative solutions and nature-based solutions. These dimensions of adaptation can be implemented in preparation for, or in response to impacts generated by a changing climate, and to build resilience. Hence adaptation is a continuous stream of research, activities, actions, decisions and attitudes that informs decisions about all aspects of life, and that reflects existing social norms and processes. The PhD project will contribute to development of multidimensions of resilience and how measurement and local context of place intersect with power and scaling up of marine and coastal ecosystem governance. The project focuses on diverse coastal communities in three regions (the western Mediterranean, the North Sea and the Caribbean), that have been exposed to specific extreme climate events, to identify impacts (e.g. by differentiated vulnerability) and future up-coming cumulative impacts linked to climate change (e.g. coastal erosion, increase of sea surface temperature, acidification affecting MCE ecosystems and, in turn their services provision for human well-being). The project will also critically examine emerging innovations and situate the PhD within current understandings of nature-based solutions. The project builds on a strong critical social science tradition but is interdisciplinary in scope and engages constructively with marine ecologists, climate modelers, social scientists, humanities and communication specialists, as well as local actors, coastal communities and policy makers.


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,
  • 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 as part of a project on marine, biodiversity and climate change governance across a range of communities, which for example could involve interviews, surveys, discourse analysis and use of participatory tools and approaches. 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:

  • A Masters degree in Development Studies, Conservation and Development, Human Ecology, Anthropology, Political Science, Sociology or a related field.
  • A strong and documented interest in social and political dimensions of adaptation to climate change, ideally with a background / focus on the marine environment or biodiversity.
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of an interdisciplinary, inclusive and international research environment.
  • Excellent writing skills in English Additional language skills are a plus (French and Spanish).
  • Enthusiasm to contribute to teaching at LUCSUS, and to work with students.
  • An affinity or experience with Agenda 2030 SDG 10, 13, 14, 15 and 16.


Assessment criteria

Only applicants who are eligible for third cycle studies may be appointed to a doctoral studentship. Admission is primarily to be based on the applicant’s ability to benefit from the third cycle programme.

The applicants will be ranked based on an overall assessment of the quality of their proposal, their 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 written and spoken English. Swedish language skills are a plus, but not a requirement.

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. 2 500 words. This should contain a brief presentation of yourself,

your motivation and qualifications forstatement 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 (2 pages max) that demonstrates your qualifications for the third cycle programme in Sustainability Science (including publications, if relevant)
  • Degree and grade certificates.
  • 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 (note: letters of reference are not required in the first stage of application).






Type of employment Temporary position
Salary Monthly salary
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100
City Lund
County Skåne län
Country Sweden
Reference number PA2020/2520
  • Emily Boyd, 0462220000
Published 09.Jul.2020
Last application date 21.Sep.2020 11:59 PM CEST

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