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.

Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS) is host to both graduate and postgraduate education. In research and teaching, we strive to integrate critical and problem solving approaches while focusing on global sustainability challenges such as biodiversity loss, climate change, major land use changes, and water conflicts.


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 terms of employment for doctoral students are regulated in the Swedish Higher Education Ordinance (HF), Chapter 5, Sections 1– 7.

The research project

Focusing on the Zimbabwe case, the successful candidate will work within the project “Mobilizing farmer organisations for sustainable agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA): Collaborative comparative analysis of rural social movement building and outcomes in Ghana, Uganda and Zimbabwe”. Recent years have seen the rise of social movements that mobilize for more just and sustainable agricultural policies. The project aims to generate knowledge on the emergence, development, and outcomes of rural social movements in SSA through theoretically guided, case-based fieldwork carried out in close interaction with civil society. The successful candidate will be expected to be based in Lund, Sweden. More info about the project:


General qualifications

For admission to third cycle education (see HF, Chapter 7, Section 35) the applicant must meet the general and specific entry requirements and have the required ability to benefit from the programme (Swedish Code of Statutes 2010:1064).

Students with basic eligibility for third-cycle studies are those who:

  • have been awarded a second cycle qualification, or
  • have satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the second cycle, or
  • have acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or elsewhere.

Desired specific qualifications

The main research tasks for the position will be closely linked to the project objectives (outlined above), with possibility to define own interests and priorities within that. The project will combine qualitative and quantitative approaches and material in a mixed-methods design. The successful candidate will design and carry out an independent thesis project, but also collaborate with other project team members, including in the publication of peer-reviewed articles.

We are looking for highly motivated applicants with a Master’s degree in the interdisciplinary fields of development studies, environmental studies, global studies, or sustainability studies/science; or in the disciplines of economic history, human ecology, political science, sociology, or social and economic geography; or equivalent.

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

  • A strong and documented interest in social and political dimensions of agriculture and rural development and sustainability, especially in the context of the project’s focus countries
  • Practical experience working in or with rural/community development organizations or farmer associations in the sub-Saharan region
  • Documented familiarity with social science research methods, and interest in conducting extensive fieldwork in rural settings
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of an international interdisciplinary team
  • Very good writing skills in English; additional language skills are a merit (especially local/regional languages).
  • Enthusiasm and skills to contribute to teaching and supervision at LUCSUS.


Assessment criteria

The applicant must be eligible for third cycle studies and must have the ability to benefit from the third cycle programme. Applicants will be ranked based on the quality of the proposal, the motivation and capacity to contribute to aims and objectives of the research project, the submitted thesis/theses and grades from previous studies, other qualifications and experiences documented in a CV, and personal suitability.


As third cycle studies in sustainability science are demanding, the applicant must be highly motivated and able to work independently and under time constraints. Documented collaboration skills are also required, as is proficiency in written and spoken English.


Application procedure

Applications should be submitted electronically via the Lund University application portal, and must include the following documents in English:


  • A cover letter describing what motivates you to apply for a PhD and how the research project matches your interests and previous qualifications (400 words).
  • A research proposal closely aligned with the project aim: a brief description of the problem, how to approach it in research, and the potential relevance of findings (700 words plus references)
  • CV demonstrating qualifications for the third cycle programme in Sustainability Science, including relevant publications and professional experiences (max 2 pages)
  • Degree and grade certificates
  • Degree thesis or theses, corresponding to at least 30 credits (graduate thesis) or 15 credits graduate thesis plus 15 credits undergraduate thesis
  • Name and contact information of three references (no recommendation letters)


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

Type of employment Temporary position
Contract type Full time
Salary Monthly salary
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100
City Lund
County Skåne län
Country Sweden
Reference number PA2020/3687
  • Ellinor Isgren, +46 761 96 29 35
  • Cecilia Kardum Smith, +46-704-395640
Published 12.Nov.2020
Last application date 22.Dec.2020 11:59 PM CET

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