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PhD candidate, Building stock modelling to evaluate the realization potential of green roofs in cities

Vacancy number
Function type
PhD positions
Hours (in fte)
External/ internal
Placed on
3 November 2020
Closing date
21 November 2020 Vacancy closed

The Faculty of Science and Institute of Environmental Sciences is looking for a

PhD candidate, Building stock modelling to evaluate the realization potential of green roofs in cities 

Key responsibilities
We are looking for an outstanding PhD candidate to support a recently granted  project by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research. MultiGreen (Multi-functional urban Green space planning based on transdisciplinary learning). The Chinese-Dutch collaborative project MultiGreen aims at developing an integrated modelling tool to support the planning of green infrastructure based on its multiple benefits. The project is led by the Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML) at Leiden University with participation of Wageningen University and Research (WUR), the Institute of Urban Environment of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and other partners. You will work with another PhD at CML and a larger group of international team members on this project. For this position, key tasks include:

  • Investigating green roof design and spatial optimization options. The resource efficiency of green roofs will be assessed by material flow analysis (MFA) and life cycle assessment (LCA);
  • Evaluating ecological benefits of urban green roofs including cooling effect, ecological network connectivity, and urban resilience to water logging based on satellite remote sensing, field survey, and Internet of things (IoTs);
  • Further developing building stock model with connection to agent-based model (when needed) to evaluate the realization potential of the green roofS;
  • Interpreting modeling results of the case studies to suggest neighborhood specific policy interventions;
  • Collaborating in an international project to support better implementation of GIs and maximizing its benefits in cities.

Selection criteria

  • Strong interest in building stock modelling and assessing environmental impacts with tools such as MFA and LCA;
  • Motivation to contribute to develop new methods and improve the existing models on building stock;
  • Data management, visualization and programming skills are an advantage;
  • You should have a MSc in a relevant field such as Geography, Spatial/environmental economics, Land use planning, and ideally have proven already to be productive in terms of scientific output. Relevant backgrounds include, but are not limited to industrial ecology, quantitative sustainability science, engineering and modelling;
  • Experience with life cycle assessment, material flow analysis, GIS-based building stock modelling, optimization problems and knowledge of the green infrastructure and urban planning are an advantage;
  • Proficiency in spoken and written English as well as good communication skills;
  • Moreover, you are a team player, are able as well to work independently, take initiative, and have a strong interest and motivation to pursue academic research.

Our organisation
The Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML) is positioned in the Faculty of Sciences of Leiden University. The Faculty of Science is a world-class faculty where staff and students work together in a dynamic international environment. It is a faculty where personal and academic development are top priorities. Our people are driven by curiosity to expand fundamental knowledge and to look beyond the borders of their own discipline; their aim is to benefit science, and to make a contribution to addressing the major societal challenges of the future.

The research carried out at the Faculty of Science is very diverse, ranging from mathematics, information science, astronomy, physics, chemistry and bio-pharmaceutical sciences to biology and environmental sciences. The research activities are organised in eight institutes. These institutes offer eight bachelor’s and fifteen master’s programmes. The faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has more than 2,300 staff and over 5,000 students. We are located at the heart of Leiden’s Bio Science Park, one of Europe’s biggest science parks, where university and business life come together.

The core focus of CML is to perform research and education in the interdisciplinary field of Environmental Sciences. CML has two Departments: Industrial Ecology (CML-IE) and Environmental Biology (CML-EB). Presently, about 125 fte (including postdocs and PhDs) are employed at CML. CML collaborates with the TU Delft and Erasmus University in the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for Sustainability (LDE-CfS), Naturalis Biodiversity Centre, and other partners. For more information, see the website of the Faculty of Science.

The Urban Economics Group (UEC) is based in the Social Sciences Group of Wageningen University. UEC focuses on the potential of cities and their inhabitants to foster change in terms of sustainability and quality of light by employing both micro and macro approaches.

At the micro level, the research of the UEC group concentrates on economic behaviour, institutions, and the incentives that can contribute to more sustainable urban consumption and healthy lifestyles. We combine insights from behavioural- , micro- and spatial economics and apply this to behaviour with respect to choice and social decision making, while taking into account subjective factors, spatial and social context and (expected) consequences of behaviour.

At the macro level, the UEC group focuses on the impacts of urbanization on actors and activities in the urban-rural interface. Important issues in this respect are the economic analysis of the changed relation between food production and consumption as well as the potential for energy and circularity transitions in cities and their hinterland. We use spatial econometric and regional input-output modelling approaches to better understand optimal interactions between cities and rural areas, for example in the context of regional food supply systems, climate change mitigation, nature conservation and recreation activities. We also work with agent-based modelling as a way to model urban areas as a whole or to link micro- and macro processes.

As a group, we aim to execute impactful research. We are well connected to AMS (the Advanced Metropolitan Solutions Institute in Amsterdam), Innovation Lighthouse (a partnership-based organisation of real estate owners, innovators and researchers to make buildings more sustainable through innovation), and the European Regional Science Association (ERSA).

Terms and conditions 
We offer a 1-year position with the possibility of extension to 4 years based on performance. Salary ranges from  2.395,- gross per month in the first year to 3.061,- gross per month in the fourth year based on a full-time position (pay scale P in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities). 

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break.  

Your contract will be with Leiden University – CML. The PhD candidate will be jointly supervised by professors from the Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML) in Leiden University and the Urban Economics Group (UEC) in Wageningen University & Research.

Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.

Enquiries can be made to Dr. Mingming Hu, email hu@cml.leidenuniv.nl.

To apply for this vacancy, please send an email to sollicitaties@cml.leidenuniv.nl. Please ensure that you upload the following additional documents quoting the vacancy number:

  • CV
  • Motivation letter
  • The names and phone numbers of two referees

We will consider applications submitted no later than November 21st 2020. Interviews will take place on 27th November between 10 AM and 5 PM. You are kindly requested to be available on this date.

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