Doctoral student in Urban studies; urban sustainable development


Ref REK 2020/290

About Malmö University

Malmö University is an innovative, urban and international institute of higher education, located in the centre of Malmö. We have around 1,800 employees and 24,000 students. Our research and education are characterised by the role we believe a university should play in an open society — to contribute to sustainability and equality in a scientifically grounded way with external partners and stakeholders. Identifying and addressing the challenges of the future are of highest priority. Our researchers and students work collaboratively to create, share and spread knowledge in order to understand, explain and develop society — both locally and globally.

Faculty of Culture and Society

The Faculty of Culture and Society is a multidisciplinary faculty that includes the School of Arts and Communication, the Department of Global Political Studies and the Department of Urban Studies. Read more about the Faculty of Culture and Society here.

Department of Urban Studies

The department of Urban Studies is characterised by three core features: dynamic interdisciplinary research; a professional organisation; and a highly qualified faculty. The department comprises around 95 researchers and teachers, as well as 2000 students. We have a strong emphasis on theory-driven empirical research and teaching informed by the social and behavioural sciences. Our research centers around five fields: Urban Studies, Transport Studies, Real Estate Science, Sustainable Studies and Organization Studies.

We are building collaboration within four main intersecting themes: Housing, Real Estate and Urban Renewal; Transport, Mobilities and Urban Business Development; Risk Management and Urban Ecology; and Work and Organisational Psychology and Organisation Studies. Across these themes, we unite around cultural, economic, material, social and discursive processes of change. Furthermore, we collaborate with our well-established networks within the public sector, the corporate sector and civil society. The department offers a PhD programme and masters programs in Urban Studies, as well as bachelor programmes encompassing city planning, environmental studies, transport and logistics, real estate science as well as both masters and bachelor level studies in organisation and leadership. Read more about the Department of Urban Studies here.

Doctoral program in Urban Studies

As a doctoral student at the Department of Urban Studies, you are part of the postgraduate subject Urban Studies, which can be defined as the scientific study of the content, form, planning and transformation of urban areas. The subject places itself in a field of tension between, on the one hand, social and cultural practices and, on the other hand, the material world of cultivated landscapes, buildings, infrastructures and everyday objects. Urban studies thus have a broad breadth of content and deal with a number of aspects of urban conditions, which presupposes that it is multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary and pluralistic with regard to research methods. More information about PhD studies at Malmö University.

Work duties

Those appointed to doctoral studentships shall primarily devote themselves to their studies. Those appointed to doctoral studentships may, however, work to a limited extent with educational tasks, research, artistic research and administration, however, duties of this kind may not comprise more than 20 per cent of a full-time post (Chapter 5, Section 2 of the Higher Education Ordinance).

Besides working on the PhD and possible Departmental duties, the doctoral student will be expected to play an active part in the academic and social life of the Department of Urban Studies through participating in its academic activities and events.

The focus of the PhD project should be Rapid urbanization and sustainable development in sub-Saharan Africa. The PhD project will focus on challenges arising from rapid urbanization in developing countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.

One or several of the following research themes may be addressed for this position;

  • Planning climate resilient cities: approaches to planning that meets challenges of flooding and other adverse weather effects on infrastructure, waste management, water and sanitation supply, etc.
  • Social innovations for rapidly growing cities: the role of self-organisation and new business models for coping with urban challenges
  • The role of multi-/interdisciplinary teams and perspectives to meet urban challenges
  • Stakeholder engagement: the role of civic engagement and/or multi-stakeholder platforms to address urban challenges
  • City-to-city cooperation: the development and sharing of models for sustainable urban development in different settings
  • The role of culture and youth entrepreneurship as a driver for urban planning and development


Only those who are or have been admitted to third-cycle courses and study programmes at a higher education may be appointed to doctoral studentships (Chapter 5, Section 3 of the Higher Education Ordinance). Preparation of admission to postgraduate education and employment as a doctoral student take place in parallel. Those who have basic requirements for admission will have:

  • passed a degree at advanced level, or
  • completed course requirements of at least 240 ECTS, of which 60 ECTS at advanced level, or
  • in some other way, in- or outside Sweden, have acquired equivalent knowledge (HEO Chapter 7 section 39)

Specific requirements

Those who have knowledge and skills corresponding to a degree at advanced level in Urban Studies or another subject that is relevant to the postgraduate subject Urban Studies as above, fulfil the specific qualifications. Given the interdisciplinary nature of the subject, Social Science as well as Humanities and Technical-Natural Science subjects can be seen as relevant subjects.

Specific requirements for this position:

  • Proven fluency in English, in both speech and writing

Assessment criteria

When selecting between applicants for vacant positions, the ability to complete postgraduate education is assessed (HEO Chapter 7 Section 5).

  • independence in analysis and structure in previous work
  • problem formulation and rigor in previous work and research plan
  • methodological and scientific maturity

An important indicator of these abilities is the applicant's research plan and the reflections on the doctoral student's contribution to the program described in the advertisement and the specified thematic areas of specialization.

Further information

For questions regarding the focus of the PhD project, contact Per Hillbur,
040-665 80 31

For questions regarding the PhD education, contact Per-Markku Ristilammi, Director of third cycle education,, 040-665 73 56

For other questions contact Kerstin Sandell, Head of Department,
040-665 73 20

In our recruitment work, Malmö University has taken a stand regarding recruitment channels and marketing. We therefore decline all offers of advertising and recruitment assistance in connection with this advertisement.


You may apply for this position via Malmö University's recruitment system by clicking on the "Apply" button. As an applicant, you are responsible for ensuring that your application is completed in accordance with the advertisement, and that it is provided to the University no later than February 12, 2021. The applicant is responsible for ensuring that the University can read what is written in the application. If the application is not written in Swedish, English or any of the Nordic languages, the applicant is responsible for the application and its appendices being translated.

The application must include:

  • Completed application form for admission to Doctoral Education
  • CV
  • Diplomas, transcript of records and other certificates relevant for the position
  • A brief research plan presenting the focus of research and a thesis concept, and how this relates to the specific post (max 4 pages). The research plan must contain an overall purpose, questions that the project intends to answer, an account of the methodological approach, a description of material collection and type of research material and an account of the theoretical framework
  • Independent work at advanced level (including master thesis or equivalent)
  • Other publications that you want to cite (research reports or scientific publications)


The post is full-time and for a limited period, in accordance with the Higher Education Ordinance Chapter 5 Section 7

Malmö University is a workplace and higher education institution that is characterised by an open and inclusive approach, where gender equality and equal terms add value to our activities.

Start date

The starting date is 1 September 2021 

Union representatives

Saco-S, Rebecka Johansson,

OFR, Martin Reissner,

PhD Student Union representative

Michel Anderlini,  



We are looking forward to receiving your application!


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