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

The successful candidate will work within the department’s 5-year research project entitled NATURICE- Exploring plural values of human-nature relationships in glacierized environments. The project is funded by Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development (FORMAS) and will deliver high quality research along with relevant policy recommendations.The project responds to FORMAS’ call for integrated knowledge of climate change,ecosystems andsociety, and addresses the need for in-depth study of the human-nature relationship by crossing boundariesbetween different research fields ecosystem services and valuation, political ecology and glaciology.

Around the world, glaciers have been retreating at unprecedented rates. Glaciers affect people and societal relations worldwide on many levels, whether by influencing mountain ecosystems, providing water for drinking and agriculture, generating hydroelectric energy, determining safety for downstream communities, or driving tourism economies and other types of livelihoods. This project’s main objective is to assess and examine how values and human-nature relationships are affected by these challenges through a trans-regional study of glacierized environments in Scandinavia and the Himalayas. For more information, check this link:

The position is within the interdisciplinary environment of LUCSUS, the Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies ( LUCSUS includes about 40 staff (faculty, postdocs, and PhD students), who study a range of issues from global environmental governance to the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. LUCSUS also runs an international master’s programme in sustainability science (LUMES,,  with about 50 students each year from 20+ countries.

The position will be supervised by Principal Investigator Dr. Mine Islar, Director of PhD School at the Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS). She is a political ecologist and an expert in plural valuation of nature. This project includes collaboration with Dr. Anna Sinisalo (GRID-Arendal) and Prof. Erik Gomez-Baggethun (The Norwegian Institute for Nature Research-NINA) as well as Dr.Emma Li Johansson (LUCSUS)

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.


Required qualifications

The main research tasks for the position will be linked closely to the broader project objective (specified above). The successful candidate will carry out independent and interdisciplinary research that involves desk- based and empirical methods. Methods include a systematic multidisciplinary literature review on the glacierized environments; national and regional policy analysis of climate change and case-study research at least in two study sites in the Nepalese Himalaya using mixed methods approaches. Case studies from other glacierized environments can serve as complementary research.

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

  • A Masters degree in sustainability science, human geography, human ecology, ecological economics, political ecology or a related field.
  • A strong interest in interdisciplinary research across natural and social sciences, for instance combining climate change studies with political ecology, or similar.
  • Excellent skills in written and spoken English.
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of an interdisciplinary, inclusive and international research environment. Enthusiasm to contribute to teaching at LUCSUS and to work with master students.
  • Willingness to spend longer amounts of time in fieldwork and the ability to cope with mountain environments

Desired qualifications

In addition, the following qualification strengthen a candidate’s profile:

  • Experience with scientific publishing
  • Knowledge in local languages relevant to case study areas
  • Experience with research methods relevant to the project (e.g., qualitative and quantitive data collection and analysis, household surveys, participatory methods and workshops)
  • Experience working with local communities in the Himalaya
  • Familiarity with theories and concepts relevant to the project (e.g. livelihoods framework, Nature’s contributions to people, plural valuation, intersectionality)
  • Experience in popular science writing and communication (blog posts, social media).

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 assessed based on the criteria named above and, in particular, their ability to conduct independent research and their ability and interest to contribute to a new and developing research field. As third cycle studies in sustainability science are demanding, the applicant must be highly motivated and 

able to work independently under time constraints. Good collaboration and communication skills are also required, as is proficiency in written and spoken English and preferably in local languages relevant to the project.

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. 1 500 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 a research idea that can contribute to 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, provided 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).

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 PA2022/4162
  • Mine Islar,
  • Cecilia Kardum Smith,
Union representative
  • OFR/ST:Fackförbundet ST:s kansli, 046-2229362
  • SACO:Saco-s-rådet vid Lunds universitet,
  • SEKO: Seko Civil, 046-2229366
Published 27.Jan.2023
Last application date 01.Mar.2023 11:59 PM CET

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