Lund University, Universitetets särskilda verksamheter, International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE)

Lund University was founded in 1666 and is repeatedly ranked among the world’s top 100 universities. The University has around 46 000 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.

The IIIEE is an international and interdisciplinary centre within Lund University that produces and shares actionable knowledge to accelerate the transitions to climate-neutral and resource-efficient economies. We do rigorous, impactful, and solution-oriented interdisciplinary research, focused on Business Management and Practice, Consumption Governance, Urban Transformation, and Policy Interventions. With a dual focus on management and policy, we educate future leaders and change agents.

Subject description

The research area focuses on the operationalization of circular business models and strategies in Swedish manufacturing companies while creating business value. Within this, the development of principles, methods and guidelines that support manufacturing companies as they design and implement circular business models is a key area of work. Such design support can inform who, what, when and how to make decisions towards a specific goal.

However, the pursuit of such new strategies will require that companies make changes to how they conduct operations, design products, manage supply chains, generate revenues, and more. Barriers to such change can exist in many areas in organizations. Within the scope of this research such barriers are observed to include inadequate understanding of how to assess circular business value creation, and how to communicate the functions and forms of circular business model innovation across various organizational functions and hierarchies.


The research will contribute to the objectives on an on-going programme Resource Efficient and Effective Solutions (REES 2) funded by MISTRA (The Swedish foundation for strategic environmental research / Stiftelsen för miljöstrategisk forskning). Developing resource-efficient and effective solutions involves a variety of actors, especially those engaged in design and manufacturing activities.


Project activities within this research position aim to develop knowledge of how the application of circular business model and product innovations can be supported within Swedish manufacturers, with a key focus on issues of organization and the potential to add business value.


The research will support ongoing project work to improve understanding of how organizational changes can be managed to introduce effective design supports, and how the knowledge and skills of organizations and individual designers can be enhanced. The research will be based on a number of case studies performed in active cooperation with industrial partners, researchers at IIIEE, and researchers at other universities.


Work duties

It is anticipated that the PhD research area will employ an action research approach that works with cases in partner organisations. The PhD candidate will study how the views upon, and understanding of circular business model innovation, and their potential for business value creation, take form throughout organizations. Research will identify where inconsistencies in communication exist between organizational functions, and how related constraints to the reconfiguration of product/service designs and business models may be overcome.


Work will interlink closely with ongoing REES areas of study. These include: (i) how organizational structure, strategic vision, and internal capacities can be developed to navigate firm-based, intra-industry, and market barriers to resource-efficient and effective solutions; (ii) how circular innovations alter life-cycle impact on natural resources and the environment, and (iii) how circular business model innovations alter financial flows.


This requires understanding of existing internal organizational capacities via analysis of gaps, weaknesses and opportunities in relation to the needs of resource-efficient and effective solutions. It is anticipated that a range of methods can be used for data collection and analysis; inter alia: participant observation, focus groups, interviews and workshops.


The PhD position will be located at the IIIEE, Lund University, and will contribute to an on-going programme Resource REES 2 funded by MISTRA (2019-2023). The project is led by Linköping University (LiU) in collaboration with IIIEE, Lund University, Chalmers University and several Swedish manufacturing companies.


The aim is to apply circular economy-based thinking within Swedish manufacturing industries in a way that that facilitates their leadership in sustainability, improves competitiveness, and reduces business risk. The project builds on a preceding programme phase MISTRA REES 1 (2016-2019). The current project phase aims to move from ideas to action with manufacturing industry actors and operationalize circular solutions.


The main duties of doctoral students are to devote themselves to their research studies, which includes participation in research projects and third cycle courses. This position requires regular publication of peer reviewed and popular science articles, industry briefs, and the participation in, and contributions to, conferences. The work duties can also include teaching and other departmental duties (maximum 20%).


Admission requirements

A person meets the general admission requirements for third-cycle courses and study programmes if he or she:

  • has been awarded a second-cycle qualification, or
  • has satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the second cycle, with content relevant to the doctoral education, or
  • has acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad.


A person meets the specific admission requirements for third cycle studies in the subject area circular business value, if he or she has:

  • a Master’s degree in a relevant, preferably multi-disciplinary, field (such as sustainable business management, organisation studies, circular economy, or innovation studies).


Additional requirements:

  • excellent oral and written proficiency in English;
  • experience working with organisational case studies and knowledge of circular economy principles;
  • familiarity with subject areas such as business model design, organizational management, and operationalization of business strategies. 


Assessment criteria

Selection for third-cycle studies is based on the student’s potential to profit from such studies. The assessment of potential is made primarily on the basis of academic results from the first and second cycle.

Special attention is paid to:

  • knowledge and skills relevant to the thesis project and the subject of study;
  • an assessment of ability to work independently and to formulate and tackle research problems;
  • written and oral communication skills;
  • other experience relevant to the doctoral position such as work experience.


Other assessment criteria:

  • experience of business communication and communication strategies;
  • experience of work with Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) tools applied to product/service systems;
  • oral and written proficiency in Swedish, and 
  • evidence of the ability to work collaboratively.


Terms of employment

Only those admitted to third cycle studies may be appointed to a doctoral studentship. Third cycle studies at LTH consist of full-time studies for 4 years. A doctoral studentship is a fixed-term employment of a maximum of 5 years (including 20% departmental duties). Doctoral studentships are regulated in the Higher Education Ordinance (1993:100), chapter 5, 1-7 §§.


Instructions on how to apply

Applications shall be written in English and include:

a CV and a cover letter stating the reasons why you are interested in the position and how the research project corresponds to applicant’s interests and educational background; degree certificate or equivalent; other documents you wish to be considered (e.g. grade transcripts, letters of recommendation, and contact information for your references); list of previous publications (if applicable).

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 PA2020/2672
  • Philip Peck , +46462220225
  • Per Mickwitz, +46462220406
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.Aug.2020
Last application date 08.Sep.2020 11:59 PM CEST

Return to job vacancies