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PhD in Environmental Science - Decision Theory at Lund University

Lund University is offering PhD position in environmental sciences. The funding allows successful candidate to work for 5 years. Potential candidates should apply before October 01, 2018.

Lund University was founded in 1666 and is repeatedly ranked among the world's top 100 universities. The University has 40 000 students and 7 400 staff based in Lund, Helsingborg and Malm. We are united in our efforts to understand, explain and improve our world and the human condition.

The Faculty of Science conducts research and education within Biology, Astronomy, Physics, Geosciences, Chemistry, Mathematics and Environmental Sciences. The Faculty is organized into nine departments, gathered in the northern campus area. The Faculty has approximately 1500 students, 330 PhD students and 700 employees.

The Centre for Environmental and Climate Research, CEC (http://www.cec.lu.se) conducts research, education and communication on environmental science and climate research at Lund University.

Decision theory collects principles to specify, inform and solve decision problems as well as understanding on how actual decisions are made. Decision theory combines mathematical and behavioural research. Empirical studies show that decision makers are sensitive to the quality of knowledge available to support a decision. Decision theory including treatment of such knowledge-based uncertainty has a wide application in environmental management.

Ecological-economic modelling is a scientific field which combines models of ecological systems with models of human behaviour and methods to evaluate values and costs to answer theoretical and practical questions. Challenges for this type of modelling are for example, the assimilation of multiple and diverse sources of data and expert knowledge in mechanistic or agent based models, as well as specifying and testing models of agent's behaviour.

The aim of this PhD project is to study the importance of uncertainty in environmental management. This includes the treatment of uncertainty into scientific assessments and considering in what way decision makers respond to uncertainty. The impact of uncertainty will be studied by ecological-economic modelling focusing in solving environmental decision problems. The project includes a case-study on geese management in agricultural landscapes, representing a spatial-temporal ecological-economic system with several and different types of agents, both human (farmers) as well as ecological agents (geese). Agent-based modelling include agents such as farmers. The project aims to increase understanding on how these agents make decisions under uncertainty. In addition, specific focus will be on evaluating the performance of methods to quantify uncertainty in models informed by data and/or expert judgement and the impact of uncertainty on model outputs. Uncertainty will be dealt with using approaches which describe uncertainty using relative frequency, subjective Bayesian probability or bounded probability, which are quantitative measures of uncertainty with a wide application in scientific assessments.

This PhD project in Environmental science will combine applied statistics and uncertainty analysis with quantitative ecology, environmental management and environmental psychology. Accordingly, the PhD project will be cross-disciplinary, spanning across several traditional disciplines.

The PhD student will be admitted to the Environmental Science Graduate program at Lund University, which is run by the Centre of Environmental and Climate Research (CEC). The position will also be placed at CEC. The PhD program has students from several different faculties as it is a multi-disciplinary subject. CEC is a department by its own with full employed professors, lecturers, researchers and PhD students as well as research coordinators, communicators and other administrative personal. CEC is also responsible for the undergraduate education in environmental science at Lund University.

The main duties of doctoral students are to devote themselves to their research studies which includes participating in research projects and third cycle courses. The work duties can also include teaching and other departmental duties (no more than 20%).

A person meets the general admission requirements for third-cycle courses and study programmes if he or she:
- has been awarded a second-cycle qualification, or
- has satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the second cycle, or
- has acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad.

For the specific admission requirements for third cycle studies in Environmental Management:
- A Master's degree in mathematics, statistics, biology, environmental science, engineering, or equivalent is required, and it must include relevant knowledge in modelling.
- You should have documented experience of quantitative uncertainty analyses in a Master project, or equivalent, and a documented capacity to work independently. Participation in courses regarding decision theory, risk analysis, and Bayesian analysis are valued high in the evaluation.
- An interest in applied statistics in general, and risk-informed and evidence-based environmental management in particular, is an advantage. The student is expected to work with environmental management problems and there will be possibilities to acquire the basic knowledge when choosing a problem to work with during the PhD-studies.
- To be able to read and write academic texts in English is a requirement. Important qualifications are creative problem solving ability, to take responsibility for and finish projects independently, programming, and an interest to interact with stakeholders.

Selection for third-cycle studies is based on the student's potential to profit from such studies. The assessment of potential is made primarily on the basis of academic results from the first and second cycle. Special attention is paid to the following:
- Knowledge and skills relevant to the thesis project and the subject of study.
- An assessment of ability to work independently and to formulate and tackle research problems.
- Other experience relevant to the third-cycle studies, e.g. professional experience.

Consideration will also be given to good collaborative skills, drive and independence, and how the applicant, through his or her experience and skills, is deemed to have the abilities necessary for successfully completing the third cycle programme.

Only those admitted to third cycle studies may be appointed to a doctoral studentship. Third cycle studies at LTH consist of full-time studies for 4 years. A doctoral studentship is a fixed-term employment of a maximum of 5 years (including 20% departmental duties). Doctoral studentships are regulated in the Higher Education Ordinance (1993:100), chapter 5, 1-7 .

Instructions on how to apply

Applications shall be written in English and include a cover letter stating the reasons why you are interested in the position and in what way the research project corresponds to your interests and educational background. The application must also contain a CV, degree certificate or equivalent, and other documents you wish to be considered (grade transcripts, contact information for your references, letters of recommendation, etc.).


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