PhD Position Sustainability in the Building and Construction Sector, A Long-term Planning Tool


About the job

For a position as a PhD Candidate, the goal is a completed doctoral education up to an obtained doctoral degree.

The Industrial Ecology Program (IndEcol) , Department of Energy and Process Engineering (EPT) and the Center for the Green Shift in the Built Environment (Green2050)  at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) is seeking a PhD Candidate to advance a modelling tool for policy analysis and long-term planning which allows the assessment of strategies to reduce resource use and environmental impacts in the construction sector all the way to net-zero GHG emissions, as well as a minimization of impacts on ecosystems and natural resources.

The building and construction sector contributes to 38% of global greenhouse gas emissions and the largest materials use. A fundamental transition is required to drastically reduce these impacts on the natural environment. Green2050 is a new research center at NTNU seeking to guide the industry towards sustainability and net-zero GHG emissions by 2050. It is led by NTNU’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, involving faculty members from Architecture, Business, Energy Engineering, Informatics, Medicine, and Social Sciences. Sustainable development requires increased material and energy efficiency, as well as a decarbonization of material and energy supply. The position is part of the Green2050 International Initiatives focusing on road-mapping and planning of the transition.

There exist at least three approaches which deal with greenhouse gas emissions and other sustainability issues in the construction sector. (1) Life-cycle assessment (LCA) addresses material use and emissions at a detailed level and can be used prospectively or ex-post to assess specific construction projects and products. They are often static in nature an improvement options are addressed through comparisons. LCA is mainly of operational importance. (2) Sector roadmaps are usually built on strongly simplified models of the construction sector and its production processes and products which can consider interaction among strategies applied to individual processes or inputs. They are commonly combined with identification of barriers and policies of technology development, economic instruments, and standards to overcome those barriers. (3) Building stock scenario models simulate the development of building stocks with new construction, maintenance, and refurbishment where individual processes are represented through life-cycle assessment. They serve to gain insights into realistic timelines and assess the required effort and combination of strategies required to attain environmental targets.

The project will build upon an existing building scenario model and seek to extend it to serve as a tool that can be used at the level of large projects as well as for city, region, and national-level planning and policy making.

Resource efficiency has been recognized by the European Union and the United Nations Environment Assembly as an important mechanism to achieve sustainable development goals (SDGs). Land, water, energy, biomass, and minerals comprise resources which are to be used more efficiently. The International Resource Panel  has found that there are important potential synergies between reducing material footprints (the indicator for SDG 12.1) and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Its Resource Efficiency and Climate Change report (RECC) has influenced policy in several world regions and is cited in three legislative proposals by the European Commission, including the Green Deal  and the Renovation Wave.

The RECC modeling framework focuses on the functional performance and dynamics of product stocks over time and combines life-cycle assessment, engineering models, and material flow analysis in a similar manner as the ZEN modelling tools.

The Head of Department is Professor Terese Løvås. The position’s supervisor is Professor Edgar Hertwich and Associate Professor Freja Nygaard Rasmussen is the co- supervisor.

Trondheim is the place of duty.

Duties of the position

  • Advance the modelling of resource efficiency opportunities on a regional and national scale using life-cycle product-cohort models
  • Model development (programming) and documentation.
  • Data collection and management.
  • Collaborate with team members and international partners. Lead collaborative efforts.
  • Write scientific papers
  • Produce project deliverables and coordinate with project and industry partners.
  • Co-advice Master’s students.

Required selection criteria

  • You must have a professionally relevant background in industrial ecology, engineering, natural or environmental sciences, or architecture.
  • Your education must correspond to a five-year Norwegian degree program, where 120 credits are obtained at master’s level
  • You must have a strong academic background from your previous studies and an average grade from the master’s degree program, or equivalent education, which is equal to B or better compared with NTNU’s grading scale. If you do not have letter grades from previous studies, you must have an equally good academic basis. If you have a weaker grade background, you may be assessed if you can document that you are particularly suitable for a PhD education.
  • Master’s students can apply, but the master’s degree must be obtained and documented by 30.09.2023.
  • You must meet the requirements for admission to the faculty’s doctoral program 

The appointment is to be made in accordance with Regulations on terms of employment for positions such as postdoctoral fellow, Phd candidate, research assistant and specialist candidate  and Regulations concerning the degrees of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) and Philosodophiae Doctor (PhD) in artistic research national guidelines for appointment as PhD, post doctor and research assistant 

Preferred selection criteria

  • Strong analytical capabilities.
  • Relevant programming and software skills (Python, R, BIM, GIS, or similar) Research competence and productivity, demonstrated through research output.
  • Competence  in industrial ecology methods (life cycle assessment, material flow analysis, input-output modeling), or subject knowledge regarding buildings, construction, or transport systems.
  • Interest xpressed in a cover letter or research proposal.

Desirable qualifications:

  • It is considered a strength of the candidate also speaks a Scandinavian language.

The appointment is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants and national guidelines for appointment as PhD, post doctor and research assistant.

Personal characteristics

  • Self-motivated, enthusiastic, and dedicated
  • Ambitious and goal-oriented
  • Ability to solve complex technical tasks independently
  • Team player
  • Excellent communication skills

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal suitability.

We offer

Salary and conditions

As a PhD candidate (code 1017) you are normally paid from gross NOK 532 200 per annum before tax, depending on qualifications and seniority. From the salary, 2% is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

The period of employment is 2 years.

Appointment to a PhD position requires that you are admitted to the PhD programme in Industrial Ecology within three months of employment, and that you participate in an organized PhD programme during the employment period.

The engagement is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants , and the acts relating to Control of the Export of Strategic Goods, Services and Technology. Candidates who by assessment of the application and attachment are seen to conflict with the criteria in the latter law will be prohibited from recruitment to NTNU. After the appointment you must assume that there may be changes in the area of work.

There are plans for visiting to project partners in Freiburg in Germany and at MIT .

The position is subject to internal funding.

It is a prerequisite you can be present at and accessible to the institution daily.

About the application

Publications and other scientific work must follow the application. Please note that your application will be considered based solely on information submitted by the application deadline. You must therefore ensure that your application clearly demonstrates how your skills and experience fulfil the criteria specified above.

If, for any reason, you have taken a career break or have had an atypical career and wish to disclose this in your application, the selection committee will take this into account, recognizing that the quantity of your research may be reduced as a result.

The application must include: 

  • CV and certificates
  • Transcripts and diplomas for bachelor’s and master’s degrees. If you have not completed the master’s degree, you must submit a confirmation that the master’s thesis has been submitted.
  • A copy of the master’s thesis. If you recently have submitted your master’s thesis, you can attach a draft of the thesis. Documentation of a completed master’s degree must be presented before taking up the position.
  • Project proposal
  • Name and contact information of three referees
  • If you have publications or other relevant research work

If all, or parts, of your education has been taken abroad, we also ask you to attach documentation of the scope and quality of your entire education, both bachelor’s and master’s education, in addition to other higher education. Description of the documentation required can be found here . If you already have a statement from NOKUT, please attach this as well.

We will take joint work into account. If it is difficult to identify your efforts in the joint work, you must enclose a short description of your participation.

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal and interpersonal qualities. Motivation, ambitions, and potential will also count in the assessment of the candidates. 

NTNU is committed to following evaluation criteria for research quality according to The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment – DORA.

General information

Working at NTNU

NTNU believes that inclusion and diversity is our strength. We want to recruit people with different competencies, educational backgrounds, life experiences and perspectives to contribute to solving our social responsibilities within education and research. We will facilitate for our employees’ needs.

NTNU is working actively to increase the number of women employed in scientific positions and has a number of resources to promote equality.  

The city of Trondheim is a modern European city with a rich cultural scene. Trondheim is the innovation capital of Norway with a population of 200,000. The Norwegian welfare state, including healthcare, schools, kindergartens and overall equality, is probably the best of its kind in the world. Professional subsidized day-care for children is easily available. Furthermore, Trondheim offers great opportunities for education (including international schools) and possibilities to enjoy nature, culture and family life and has low crime rates and clean air quality.

As an employee at NTNU, you must at all times adhere to the changes that the development in the subject entails and the organizational changes that are adopted.

A public list of applicants with name, age, job title and municipality of residence is prepared after the application deadline. If you want to reserve yourself from entry on the public applicant list, this must be justified. Assessment will be made in accordance with current legislation . You will be notified if the reservation is not accepted.

If you have any questions about the position, please contact Professor Edgar Hertwich, email [email protected] . If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact HR consultant, Renate Fjellheim, e-mail: [email protected] .

If you think this looks interesting and in line with your qualifications, please submit your application electronically via with your CV, diplomas and certificates attached. Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered. Upon request, you must be able to obtain certified copies of your documentation.  

Application deadline: 02.07.2023

NTNU – knowledge for a better world

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) creates knowledge for a better world and solutions that can change everyday life.

Department of Energy and Process Engineering

We conduct research and teaching covering the entire energy chain, from resources to the end-user. We look at how energy is produced and used by humans and machines in a sustainable way with regard to health, climate change and the resource base. The Department of Energy and Process Engineering  is one of eight departments in the Faculty of Engineering.

Deadline 2nd July 2023
Employer NTNU – Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service Gløshaugen

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