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Environmental social science (ESS) at the School of Global Studies is a new and growing interdisciplinary subject that explores questions related to environmental change and unsustainable natural resource use in the context of both the global north and south. The overarching aim of ESS is to contribute to an increased understanding of complex environmental problems through the application and development of social science theory and methodology. Currently, the 20 researchers within the ESS group are addressing a broad range of themes, including environmental governance and policy, sustainable development, green growth, environmental justice, traditional ecological knowledge, environmental education, political ecology, environmental conflicts, and marine resource use.

Environmental social science at the School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg, announces a doctoral position within the Formas (Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development) financed research project “Sustainable seafood in Sweden's new rural development.” The project examines sustainable seafood’s role and future potential in Swedish rural development. Nordic consumers are increasingly rejecting industrial, corporate-owned food in favour of fresh, locally-produced items with a distinctive “taste of place” procured in face-to-face relationships, while the EU and Swedish government have endorsed a new rural development that supports artisanal production and multifunctional enterprise. “Sustainable seafood” studies how Swedish coastal fishers and locally-landed fish are included in place-based food initiatives and multifunctional entrepreneurship, and how to strengthen their future contributions to sustainable rural development. The PhD student will participate in a work package that investigates the social traits characterizing successful fish relocalisation and multifunctional fishing enterprises in rural coastal communities by conducting long-term participant observation in a single coastal community for 12 months.

Job assignments

The purpose of undertaking doctoral studies is to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for conducting independent research within the field of Environmental Social Science. The doctoral studies comprise one year of coursework and three years of research, culminating in the production of a dissertation that makes a significant and original contribution to the research field. The knowledge and skills that are acquired during the studies should be applicable to postdoctoral research or other professional work. The position is salaried and covers four years (full-time equivalent, fixed term), beginning in August 2022. The doctoral candidate may undertake departmental duties corresponding to up to 20% of a full-time position, in which case the duration of the appointment will be extended accordingly. There are no tuition fees.

We are looking for a candidate who has studied environmental social sciences, including environmental anthropology, sociology, human ecology, cultural geography or similar fields, is fluent in Swedish (or any Scandinavian language) and has a background in European and/or Swedish rural development with a focus on sustainability. Candidates with knowledge and experience of working with coastal fishers and/or other actors in food localisation initiatives are particularly encouraged to apply.


Applicants must fulfil both general and specific entry requirements. An applicant meets the general entry requirements for third-cycle studies if they have obtained (Higher Education Ordinance Ch.7, Sec.39):

  1. a degree at the second-cycle level,
  2. at least 240 Higher Education Credits, of which at least 60 must be at the second cycle level, or
  3. largely equivalent knowledge in other ways in Sweden or abroad.

An applicant meets the specific entry requirements for third-cycle studies if they have obtained (Higher Education Ordinance Ch.7, Sec.40) a degree at the second cycle level in a social and behavioral science discipline, including 30 higher education credits at either first- or second-cycle level that have an environment focus and a thesis at the second cycle with an environment focus. Applicants who have acquired largely equivalent knowledge in Sweden or abroad will also be considered to meet the specific entry requirements.


Applicants will be assessed based on the general and specific eligibility requirements and their estimated ability to benefit from the study programme. The assessment places particular focus on:

  1. An introduction letter containing a proposal formulating ideas of how the applicant envisions that his/her PhD work will contribute to the research project in question. The proposal should identify an appropriate field site and provide a rationale for that choice. The document should be max 2,000 words, excluding references.
  2. A Master's thesis, scholarly publications, academic papers and/or other relevant works. These will be used to assess the applicant’s ability to formulate and delimit a research problem and analyse and present research results.
  3. A CV summarizing relevant work experience, language proficiency and other skills.
  4. Grades achieved in undergraduate and postgraduate studies.
  5. An interview for shortlisted applicants.

The applicant’s skills, experience, creativity and excellence in research are assessed on the basis of the points above.

Decisions on the shortlist will be made by April and final decisions in May 2022.

The Head of Department is in charge of all admission decisions at the third-cycle level. This decision cannot be appealed.

For further information regarding the position

Maris Boyd Gillette, Professor,


Union representatives at the University of Gothenburg:

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How to apply

In order to apply for a position at the University of Gothenburg, you have to register an account in our online recruitment system.

The application must include:

  • A proposal/introduction letter of maximum 2,000 words excluding references.
  • A Master’s thesis and/or any other relevant papers or publications. Submitted texts must be written in Swedish or English only.
  • A CV.
  • Copies of diplomas and/or academic transcripts verifying that the general and specific entry requirements stated above have been met. Evidence of other relevant qualifications.
  • The names of three references.

It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that the application is complete. No changes or additions are allowed after the final submission date.

For questions regarding the handling of the application portal or technical problems, please contact

Closing date: 15 February 2022

The University of Gothenburg promotes equal opportunities, equality and diversity.

Applications will be destroyed or returned (upon request) two years after the decision of employment has become final. Applications from the employed and from those who appeal the decision will not be returned.

In connection to this recruitment, we have already decided which recruitment channels we should use. We therefore decline further contact with vendors, recruitment and staffing companies.