PhD scholarship in (Un)sustainable Behaviour

DTU Construct

Do you want to break new ground and push the boundaries of sustainable design towards higher impact?

If you have a MSc in Economics (behavioural/ecological/energy), Psychology (environmental/ evolutionary), Social Sciences or related areas and you want to work at the very front of the new scientific revolution within sustainable design, this is a job for you to thrive.  

At DTU Construct you will break new ground at the absolute forefront for enabling the design of sustainable solutions and be an active part of REBOUNDLESS, 
 a prestigious ERC Consolidator Grant project, recently awarded by the European Research Council.

You will contribute to the development of the reboundless design theory, a paradigm shift in design science that will establish the scientific knowledge for preventing rebound effects (i.e., unintended consequences of interventions that arise due to induced changes in system behaviour leading to higher sustainability impacts). You will have the opportunity to join top interdisciplinary scientists from all over the world and make a personal impact in solving some of the most critical challenges the world is facing.

Never before has there been a stronger global focus on solving the pressing sustainability challenges, but the expected positive societal impact will not be achieved unless rebound effects are prevented.

Responsibilities and qualifications

Unveiling the mechanisms giving rise to rebound effects
Your focus will be to support the identification of the behavioural mechanisms of rebound effects triggered by efficiency, effectiveness and sufficiency design strategies, building upon existing cases with empirical evidence of rebound effects occurring at the product, product/service system and socio-technical levels.

More specifically, you will focus on expanding the current understanding of the triggers, drivers and mechanisms giving rise to rebound effects, further advancing current knowledge of rebound effects from ecological economics, energy economics, etc. In collaboration with a behavioural economics postdoc researcher, you will support the development of systemic mechanisms causing the observed rebound effects. Your primary tasks will include:

  • Collect, categorize and systematize cases and datasets with empirical evidence of rebound effects
  • Identify the key behavioural factors giving rise to the occurrence of rebound effects via meta-analysis (incl. qualitative and quantitative data analysis)
  • Develop behavioural mechanisms and patterns of behaviour
  • Publish research results in high-end scientific articles and conferences
  • Support with supervision of BSc and MSc students, as well as engage in teaching activities

Your new workplace will be DTU’s main campus in Kgs. Lyngby, Copenhagen. 

MSc in Economics (behavioural/ecological/energy), Psychology (environmental/ evolutionary), Social Sciences or related areas
We are looking for a talented and ambitious early-stage scientist with a collaborative mindset and critical thinking backed by excellent communication ability in written and spoken English. Equally important is it that you like to create results based on knowledge sharing and positive teamwork.

You must have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree within Economics (behavioural/ecological/ energy), Psychology (environmental/ evolutionary), Social Sciences or related areas.

If you bring experience within one or more of the below areas, it will be beneficial but if not, we can provide the necessary training.

  • Systematic literature reviews and exploratory case studies
  • Data collection and data analysis (both qualitative and quantitative)
  • Sustainability transitions, sustainable design and life cycle assessment
  • System thinking and/or system dynamics

The REBOUNDLESS group – your new team
You will join a top-class ERC scientific team that is currently being constructed, meaning you will get the opportunity to influence our ways of working as well as our environment. When completed, our team will consist of ca. 7 researchers who work hands-in-hand (incl. academic staff, researchers, postdocs, PhD students and research assistants). Our team is part of a larger research group at DTU Construct focused on Circular Economy and Sustainable Design, within the Section of Engineering Design and Product Development. We will also actively collaborate with the DTU Centre for Absolute Sustainability.

Approval and Enrolment

The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see DTU's rules for the PhD education.   

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.


Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.

Starting date is planned for January 2023 (or according to mutual agreement). The position is a full-time position.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

Further information
If you would like additional information about the position, please contact Associate Professor Daniela C. A. Pigosso at danpi@dtu.dk. If necessary, we will set up an additional phone call to ensure your understanding of the job and your many opportunities. 

You can read more about Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering at https://construct.dtu.dk/ 

If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark. Furthermore, you have the option of joining our monthly free seminar “PhD relocation to Denmark and startup “Zoom” seminar” for all questions regarding the practical matters of moving to Denmark and working as a PhD at DTU.

Application procedure
Your complete online application must be submitted no later than 31 July 2022 (Danish time). Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma (in English) including official description of grading scale
  • A one-page scientific review on rebound effects (plus references)

You may apply prior to ob­tai­ning your master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

Applications received after the deadline will not be considered.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

DTU Civil and Mechanical Engineering develops and utilizes science and technical knowledge for the benefit of society and the sustainable development. We undertake research, education, innovation, and scientific advice of the highest quality within engineering design, building design and processes, building construction and safety, building energy and installation, solid mechanics, fluid mechanics, materials technology, manufacturing engineering, and thermal energy systems.

Technology for people
DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today. DTU has 13,400 students and 5,800 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. DTU has campuses in all parts of Denmark and in Greenland, and we collaborate with the best universities around the world.