Lund University, Department of Physical Geograhy and Ecosystem Science

Lund University was founded in 1666 and is repeatedly ranked among the world’s top universities. The University has around 45 000 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.

Subject description

Fires constitute a common and inevitable feature in the earth system and play an important role in terrestrial as well as atmospheric systems across the world. With the combined effects of climate change, an increasing human population and associated land use changes, vegetation fire patterns across the globe are changing. Understanding the patterns, drivers and effects of fires is fundamental for preventing fires and reducing harm to ecosystems and societies.

Pyrogeography is an interdisciplinary research field that studies fires across time and space at the intersection between natural and social sciences. Research on vegetation fires, their spatiotemporal patterns, and their links to biophysical as well as political and socio-economic factors is limited, especially in dryland areas such as the Middle East. Recent research has started to look into vegetation fires in the Middle East, and how they relate to e.g. armed conflict, but no overall regional assessment, that takes into account biophysical, socioeconomic and political factors, has been carried out.

As a PhD student in this project you will be working in a dynamic and interdiscplinary research environment with links to two strategic research areas: The Middle East in the Contemporary World (MECW) and Biodiversity and Ecosystems in a Changing Climate (BECC).

 Work duties

The main duties of doctoral students are to devote themselves to their research studies which includes participating in research projects and third cycle courses. The work duties can also include teaching and other departmental duties (no more than 20%).

The aim of this PhD project is to map the overall pyrogeography (e.g. fire regime, hotspots, and anomalies of vegetation fires) across the Middle East and investigate how these patterns relate to biophysical, socioeconomic and political factors, using earth observation and spatial analysis. Furthermore we are interested in mapping the effects of such vegetation fires on e.g. land use and land cover. There will be possibilities to carry out field work in the Middle East region.

 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, 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 Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science if he or she has:

  • a second-cycle degree of at least 60 credits or equivalent with physical geography and ecosystem science or closely related subjects (such as geomatics, environmental science, geography) as the main subject (Master’s degree or equivalent), including a degree project or equivalent of at least 30 credits.
  • good oral and written proficiency in English.

Additional requirements:

  • high-quality research work (e.g. Master/Bachelor thesis) evidencing substantial potential as a researcher within the physical geography field.
  • very good oral and written proficiency in English.

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 the following:

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 third-cycle studies, e.g. professional experience.

Other assessment criteria:

  • Level of experience with spatial analysis and earth observation
  • Level of experience with interdisciplinary research integrating biophysical, socio-economic and political aspects
  • Level of experience with research on vegetation fires
  • Level of knowledge about the Middle East region

Consideration will also be given to good collaborative skills, drive and independence, and how the applicant, through his or her experience and skills, is deemed to have the abilities necessary for successfully completing the third cycle programme.

Students with basic eligibility for third-cycle studies are those who- have completed a second-cycle degree- have completed courses of at least 240 credits, of which at least 60 credits are from second-cycle courses, or- have acquired largely equivalent knowledge in some other way, in Sweden or abroad.

The employment of doctoral students is regulated in the Swedish Code of Statues 1998: 80. Only those who are or have been admitted to PhD-studies may be appointed to doctoral studentships. When an appointment to a doctoral studentship is made, the ability of the student to benefit from PhD-studies shall primarily be taken into account. In addition to devoting themselves to their studies, those appointed to doctoral studentships may be required to work with educational tasks, research and administration, in accordance with specific regulations in the ordinance.

Type of employment
Limit of tenure, four years according to HF 5 kap 7§.


Type of employment Temporary position
First day of employment 2023-08-15
Salary Monthly salary
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100
City Lund
County Skåne län
Country Sweden
Reference number PA2023/1589
  • Lina Eklund, 0462220000
Union representative
  • OFR/ST:Fackförbundet ST:s kansli, 046-2229362
  • SACO:Saco-s-rådet vid Lunds universitet,
  • SEKO: Seko Civil, 046-2229366
Published 05.May.2023
Last application date 26.May.2023 11:59 PM CEST

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