PhD Scholarship in Sustainability Science at Stockholm University

Applications are invited for a PhD position in environmental sciences to join Stockholm University, Sweden. The funds for this position are available for four years. The deadline to apply is January 23, 2019.

The mission of the Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC) is to advance research for biosphere stewardship and innovation. Research at the SRC applies a social-ecological systems perspective and resilience thinking to generate knowledge and understanding to enable social-ecological transformations towards sustainable futures. Research is advanced through transdisciplinary collaboration with international leading researchers, research environments worldwide, and environmental actors.

The SRC aims to foster new generations of researchers and academic leaders through our Resilience Research School. The school equips students with a theoretical and practical foundation in Sustainability Science with a focus on resilience in social-ecological systems. Students are encouraged to develop new approaches that integrate methods and concepts from the social, natural and applied sciences. Emphasis is placed on developing student ability to define a problem, develop research methods, and communicate research findings within international scientific and science-policy discussions.

Project description

We seek to recruit a candidate for a PhD in Sustainability Science, to join the international collaborative research project Earth Resilience in the Anthropocene (ERA), an ERC Advanced Grant led by Prof. Johan Rockstrm. The goal of the ERA project is to provide an actionable synthesis of the biophysical and social determinants of the Earth's long-term resilience, with a particular emphasis on abrupt, nonlinear changes.

The PhD position will contribute to the development of a 'planetary boundaries simulator', based on the dynamic global vegetation model LPJmL (, improving representation of biosphere-climate interactions involving water, land, biodiversity, carbon and nutrient cycles. These improved model interactions and feedbacks among planetary boundary processes will allow for novel analyses of Earth system nonlinearities and abrupt shifts.

This PhD project includes work in close collaboration with world-leading sustainability modelling teams at SRC, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Potsdam University's Institute of Earth and Environmental Science.

The PhD student performing this research will need strong foundations in quantitative methods and computing, and knowledge of environmental sciences. Knowledge of complex systems theory and dynamic systems analysis tools will be an advantage.

The student should also be prepared and motivated to explore different areas and acquire knowledge and skills across the broad field of sustainability science. As part of the transdisciplinary environment of Stockholm's Resilience Centre, the student will collaborate with and benefit from other students and researchers with diverse research interests and perspectives.

The selected PhD candidate will be employed at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, and will divide their research time between the SRC and Potsdam, Germany. Mobility will be a requirement for this position, because the project depends on international collaboration.

Qualification requirements

To be hired as a PhD student at the Stockholm Resilience Centre one must be eligible to be admitted to a PhD Programme in Natural Science at Stockholm University.

In order to meet the general entry requirements, the applicant must have completed a second-cycle degree, completed courses equivalent to at least 240 higher education credits, of which 60 credits must be in the second cycle, or have otherwise acquired equivalent knowledge in Sweden or elsewhere.

Specific entry requirements for admission to postgraduate studies in Sustainability Science are that the applicant has a total of at least 30 credits, or equivalent, at advanced level in Natural Science, as well as a thesis of at least 30 credits at advanced level in a relevant subject, or equivalent knowledge.

The qualification requirements must be met by the deadline for applications.


The selection among the eligible candidates will be based on: Admission Regulations for Doctoral Studies at Stockholm University are available

Only a person who will be or has already been admitted to a third-cycle programme may be appointed to a doctoral studentship. The term of the initial contract may not exceed one year. The employment may be extended for a maximum of two years at a time. However, the total period of employment may not exceed the equivalent of four years of full-time study. Doctoral students should primarily devote themselves to their own education, but may engage in teaching, research, and administration corresponding to a maximum of 20 % of a full-time position.

Please note that admission decisions cannot be appealed.

Stockholm University strives to be a workplace free from discrimination and with equal opportunities for all.


For more information on the PhD research, please contact the supervisor Prof. Johan Rockstrm, or the science coordinator of the ERC-ERA project, DrSarah Cornell, telephone: +46 737 07 8580, For more information about the Resilience Research School or Sustainability Science at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, please contact Head of Subject, Prof Garry Peterson, telephone: +46 73 707 85 92,


Apply for the PhD student position at Stockholm University’s recruitment system. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the application is complete in accordance with the instructions in the advertisement, and that it is submitted before the deadline.

Please include the following information with your application

and, in addition, please include the following documents


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