PhD Scholarship in quantifying contributions of technologies to wellbeing in the context of planetary boundaries

DTU Sustain

A 3-year PhD Student position is available for the dedicated researcher who wants to pursue a front runner research career in understanding the role of technology in securing human wellbeing within planetary boundaries. The position is offered under the DTU Centre for Absolute Sustainability with employment in the Section for Quantitative Sustainability Assessment (QSA), Department of Environmental and Resource Engineering (DTU Sustain) in collaboration with the Section for Climate Economics & Risk Management at Department of Technology, Management, and Economics (DTU MAN). QSA spearheads development of life cycle-based sustainability assessment methods and their application to various technology domains. Section for Climate Economics & Risk Management seeks to understand & improve the interaction between technology, economic systems, and sustainable & equitable living conditions to meet climate mitigation-adaptation targets.

DTU Centre for Absolute Sustainability is a research centre focusing on the introduction of sustainability assessment and an absolute sustainability perspective in the technology research across the university and its implementation in society at large. The PhD project will contribute to the development of a common methodological platform of the centre.

DTU Sustain is one of the largest university departments specializing in environmental and resource engineering in Europe. It develops new, more environmentally friendly technologies and new quantitative sustainability assessment methods. DTU has over the last decade been the most publishing and cited university worldwide in the field of environmental life cycle assessment.

DTU Management conducts excellent research in the intersection between management, technology and economics. It develops solutions in close cooperation with companies and public to strengthen welfare, productivity, and sustainability within society. A key element is the role of technology and its interaction with industry and individuals.

The PhD position is co-financed by “HORIZON-CL5-2022-D3-01-06: Novel Agro-Photovoltaic Systems”, which aims to increase land use efficiency, crop yield, and renewable energy production through AgriPV technologies.

Responsibilities and qualifications
There is an urgent need to understand how wealthy nations can reduce their environmental impacts sufficiently to respect planetary boundaries while still ensuring high levels of wellbeing and the role of technology in this transition. The successful candidate will develop a method for assessing the potential contributions of technologies, for example, related to energy provisioning and agriculture, to realizing low-impact/high-wellbeing societies. The candidate will further apply this new method to one or more concrete technologies for the case of Denmark. This serves to help understand barriers and challenges in the sustainable transition of Denmark and to inform further improvement of the assessment method.

The main tasks involve:

  • Review the literature on definitions of wellbeing and objective measures of wellbeing to identify suitable measures for the new assessment method.
  • Review the literature on equitable allocation of planetary boundaries to country-level and apply one or more allocation approaches to the case of Denmark.
  • Support the PV4Plants project with data gathering and use this to inform one or more technology deployment scenarios for the case of Denmark.
  • Perform an environmental life cycle assessment on the technology deployment scenarios and link the results to the allocated planetary boundaries for Denmark.
  • Apply one or more techniques for quantifying the relationship between the deployment of specific technologies in society and wellbeing, such as econometrics.
  • Participate in teaching activities including supervision of MSc student projects

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. The degree should preferably be within environmental engineering, management engineering, energy systems engineering or similar programs. Quantitative modelling and computational skills, as well as fluency in written and spoken English, are required. Further, candidates should have documented knowledge in one or more of the following fields: Scenario modeling, environmental life cycle assessment, energy systems modelling, energy economics and ecological economics.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarships for the PhD degree are subject to academic approval, and the candidates 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.

The assessment of the applicants will be made by Prof. Michael Hauschild and Prof. Ugur Soytas. One to two rounds of formal interviews are expected. Further, an HR personality test and an English skills test (if needed) are also part of the recruitment procedure at DTU Sustain.

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.

The position is a full-time position. Expected PhD start is 1 November or 1 December 2022.

The workplace will be at DTU Lyngby Campus. In addition to working on the PhD project, the candidate is expected to participate in the department’s teaching and dissemination activities.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Michael Hauschild ( or Anders Bjørn (

You can read more about DTU Sustain at

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 26 September 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
  • Documentation of knowledge on scenario modeling, environmental life cycle assessment, energy systems modelling, energy economics and ecological economics.

Incomplete applications will not be considered. 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, disability, race, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

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.