International Society for Industrial Ecology

PhD position on social life cycle assessment, : Institute for Environmental Managemnet and Land-Use Planning (IGEAT), Université libre de Bruxelles

14 Aug 2014 11:04 AM | Judy Crocker (Administrator)

Title: : PhD position on Social life cycle assessment

Institution:  Institute for Environmental Managemnet and Land-Use Planning (IGEAT), Université libre de Bruxelles

Location:  Brussels, Belgium

Deadline:  September 30, 2014

PhD position on:
Enhancing importance of social aspects in product development and production
-Improving the social life cycle assessment methodology-
Founded in 1993 within the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), the Institute for environmental management and land-use plnning (IGEAT – is an interdisciplinary education and applied research Institute. Scientific staff is about 40 interdisciplinary researchers. The group Environmental, Societal and Land Management (GESTe) is one of the research units of IGEAT. This multidisciplinary team specializes in environmental assessment in the broad sense. The group masters assessment techniques for products and services (e.g. LCA), projects (e.g. environmental impact assessment), as well as for plans (e.g. strategic environmental assessment) and programs and policies. Next to their evaluation function, these competences are also used to nourish smart land management (including rural areas, landscapes, forests, …) for which the team employs an ecosystem approach.

We offer In the framework of the ULB Mini-ARC project “Enhancing importance of social aspects in product development and production -Improving the social life cycle assessment methodology-“ there is an opportunity for a PhD student (full
time, 2 × 2 years starting on December 1st, 2014).  Within life cycle thinking several tools look at different sustainability aspects of products and services. Life cycle assessment looks at the environmental aspect, life cycle costing at financial and economic aspects, whereas social life cycle assessment (S-LCA) looks at social impacts. However, the methodological development of S-LCA is still in its
infancy, which makes the social dimension undervalued in decision making. The general aim of the project is to explore and contribute to the development of a Social Life cycle Assessment method for land-based systems. This will include
reviewing and applying the currently proposed methods to a case study basing on agricultural production (e.g. textile, food, biofuel), perform SWOT analyses, survey relevant social impacts and requirements of the decision takers, select
and develop new impact indicators (e.g. on poverty alleviation), identify potential data sources.

The PhD project will be supervised by Prof. Wouter Achten (ULB - IGEAT)

We look for The candidate holds a Master in a project relevant domain (e.g. Social Sciences, Environmental Engineering, Agricultural Sciences), and has knowledge on or experience with executing quantitative and qualitative surveys and social impacts indicators. Ideally this candidate is acquainted, or has experience with sustainability impact assessment tools of products and services (i.e. life cycle thinking). A keen interest in sustainability of land-based production systems and its social aspects is important.  The candidate should be graduated with at least one distinction grade. The candidate has strong analytical thinking skills, can approach complex issues in a systematic way and has the capacity to work autonomously towards objectives and deadlines. The candidate should be fluent in English writing and speaking, have good communication skills. Active knowledge of French is considered an added value, but not a prerequisite

For further information on the position or the research project you may contact Wouter Achten (; +32 2 650 43 22). To apply, you should send an extensive curriculum vitae (including annual study results, and any scientific output, e.g. thesis, presentation, papers, chapters) and a cover letter stating your motivation and past experiences to no later than September 30th, 2014. Job interviews will be planned from 6 to 17 October 2014.

Life cycle thinking; social life cycle assessment; sustainability; agricultural production.

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