PhD student position in analysis of global value chains for local electricity systems

This position provides the opportunity to deep-dive into research at the crossroads of the vibrant fields of the energy transition, climate change, environmental sustainability and the geopolitics and geography of emerging industries. The position will give you the opportunity to work with experienced scholars and get access to networks stretching across academia and industry in an area in great need of new competences.

Project description
A transition from the 20th century electricity system, organised around centralised fuel-based power plants, to systems mainly relying on distributed solar and wind power, will demand deployment of a range of new energy conversion and storage technologies. An implication of this is that many of the geopolitical and environmental concerns once centred on fuel supply and combustion, now shifts to the entire value chain of these energy conversion and storage technologies. This shift increases the importance of life cycle assessment (LCA) as a tool for evaluating and comparing the environmental impact of different systems and technologies. The rising geopolitical tensions in the world, and the supply chain interruptions in the aftermath of the Covid pandemic, further demonstrate the importance of studying the spatial shape of evolving value chains. The overall aim of this project is to monitor, and analyse the implications of, the evolution and spatial distribution of the value chains underpinning novel energy storage and conversion technologies by compiling and evaluating datasets of global product flows. The results of the project is expected to inform technology developers and system planners about potential supply risks, environmental implications, and upcoming socio-political concerns. It may also contribute to the development of new analytical methods. The project is part of the Swedish Electricity Storage and Balancing Centre (SESBC) funded by the Swedish Energy Agency, Region Västra Götaland, industrial partners and Chalmers.

Information about the division and the department
The research is conducted at the division of Environmental Systems Analysis at the department of Technology Management and Economics. The division conducts research on technology governance, including environmental assessment of technology and organisation, and studies of system transformation. Our research requires inter- and transdisciplinary efforts combining environmental assessment, such as life cycle assessment, with approaches from social science, such as innovation system and transition studies, often in close interaction with stakeholders. The division offers a range of courses in related areas. The division has around 35 staff members, faculty and PhD-students with diverse expertise, including engineering, natural and social sciences.

Major responsibilities
As a PhD student you will have the responsibility to pursue doctoral studies within the area of environmental systems analysis including a research project and doctoral courses. You are expected to plan and organize your work, work independently, collaborate closely with supervisors, other researchers and partner stakeholders, and be able to communicate scientific results, both orally and in written form, in English. In addition to research and coursework, you are expected to take part in seminars and conferences. The doctoral program is supposed to lead to the doctoral degree, equivalent to four years of full-time studies. Since there are also teaching obligations, the position is expected to be five years long.

You are self-propelled learner and problem solver motivated by a will to contribute to global sustainability agendas. You have a background in the engineering sciences in areas like industrial ecology or energy systems, with a demonstrated interest also in social science. You are familiar with life cycle assessment and/or innovation and transition studies with an aptitude for numbers and computer programming and skilled at, and even loves, writing in English.

The position requires sound verbal and written communication skills in English. If Swedish is not your native language, Chalmers offers Swedish courses.

Contract terms
Full-time temporary employment. The position is limited to a maximum of five years.

We offer
Chalmers offers a cultivating and inspiring working environment in the coastal city of Gothenburg
Read more about working at Chalmers and our benefits for employees.

Chalmers aims to actively improve our gender balance. We work broadly with equality projects, for example the GENIE Initiative on gender equality for excellence. Equality and diversity are substantial foundations in all activities at Chalmers.

Application procedure
The application should be marked with Ref 20230006 and written in English. The application should be sent electronically and be attached as PDF-files, as below. Maximum size for each file is 40 MB. Please note that the system does not support Zip files.

CV: (Please name the document: CV, Family name, Ref. number)
• CV
• Other, for example previous employments or leadership qualifications and positions of trust.
• Two references that we can contact.

Personal letter: (Please name the document as: Personal letter, Family name, Ref. number)
1-3 pages where you:
• Introduce yourself
• Describe your previous experience of relevance for the position (e.g. education, thesis work and, if applicable, any other research activities)
• Describe your future goals and future research focus

Other documents:
• Copies of bachelor and/or master’s thesis.
• Attested copies and transcripts of completed education, grades and other certificates, e.g. TOEFL test results.

Please use the button at the foot of the page to reach the application form. 

Application deadline: 13-02-2023

For questions, please contact:
Professor Björn Sandén, Environmental Systems Analysis
Phone: 031-772 86 12

Associate Professor Hans Hellsmark, Environmental Systems Analysis
Phone: 031-772 81 60

*** Chalmers declines to consider all offers of further announcement publishing or other types of support for the recruiting process in connection with this position. *** 

Chalmers University of Technology conducts research and education in engineering sciences, architecture, technology-related mathematical sciences, natural and nautical sciences, working in close collaboration with industry and society. The strategy for scientific excellence focuses on our six Areas of Advance; Energy, Health Engineering, Information and Communication Technology, Materials Science, Production and Transport. The aim is to make an active contribution to a sustainable future using the basic sciences as a foundation and innovation and entrepreneurship as the central driving forces. Chalmers has around 11,000 students and 3,000 employees. New knowledge and improved technology have characterised Chalmers since its foundation in 1829, completely in accordance with the will of William Chalmers and his motto: Avancez!


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