Doctoral Appointment in Risk and Environmental Studies

Updated: 5 months ago
Deadline: 01 May 2023


The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences is accepting applications for a doctoral studentship leading to a PhD in Risk and Environmental Studies at the Department of Political, Historical, Religious and Cultural Studies.

The doctoral student will be part of the interdisciplinary graduate school “Water Challenges in Sustainable Planning and the Built Environment (WATCH)” ( ), where seven doctoral students will be active. The graduate school is coordinated by Örebro University and Karlstad University in collaboration with the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB), Svenskt Vatten, the county administrative boards of Örebro and Värmland, and the municipalities of Örebro and Karlstad. WATCH is funded by the research council Formas within the framework of the strategic agenda for sustainable planning and the built environment, and their investment in graduate schools for sustainable planning and the built environment.

The research conducted within WATCH is aimed at understanding and finding solutions to the growing number of challenges that arise at the intersection between strategies for sustainable planning and the built environment, such as densification, coastal development and water use, and water challenges, such as floods, drinking water shortages and water pollution, etc. The purpose of the graduate school is to create interdisciplinary, transformative knowledge that will contribute to helping various actors involved in the built environment at national, regional, and local level to meet these challenges. Through a partially joint degree programme consisting of doctoral courses, seminars and conferences, WATCH will contribute to creating interdisciplinary perspectives and links between the research projects of different doctoral students, as well as between academia and practice.

The doctoral appointment is offered within the interdisciplinary subject Risk and Environmental Studies, which has developed from primarily environmental sciences, public health science and risk management. Education in Risk and Environmental Studies is primarily offered within the Bachelor’s programme in Environment and Safety (180 credits), and the Master’s programme in Risk Management in Society (120 credits). The subject currently has eleven active doctoral students and a total of 30 staff members. For more information on research and the doctoral programme in Risk and Environmental Studies at Karlstad University, go to: .


As a doctoral student in Risk and Environmental Studies, you will be focusing on the multifunctionality of blue-green infrastructure. The use of blue-green surfaces in urban environments is a way of trying to curve great peaks in water flow to the runoff systems in connection with torrential rain. Reduced flood risks are usually the main argument for the use of blue-green solutions, but they can be important from many different perspectives that fit within the three dimensions (social, economic and environmental) of sustainable development. The multifunctionality of the surfaces needs to be handled carefully in the planning process, which is a challenge that the doctoral project is intended to address in different ways.

As a doctoral student connected to WATCH, you are assigned a main supervisor and two assistant supervisors, one of whom is from one of the participating partners.

A doctoral student is primarily expected to engage in their doctoral studies. The programme comprises 240 credits for a Degree of Doctor, including the doctoral thesis, and 120 credits for a Degree of Licentiate. The doctoral student is expected to work independently and be prepared to contribute to the activities and development of the subject and the department. Teaching and administration may also be included in the duties, but will not constitute more than 20% of full-time.

To contribute to a positive work environment and further the department’s activities, we expect you to be a present and active part of the day-to-day operations and workplace community.

Entry requirements

To be eligible for doctoral studies, the applicant must meet the general and specific entry requirements (Higher Education Ordinance, Chap. 7, Sect. 35)

To meet the general entry requirements, the applicant must have been awarded a second-cycle qualification, satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the second-cycle, or acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad (Higher Education Ordinance Chap. 7, Sect. 39).

To meet the specific entry requirements for doctoral studies in Risk and Environmental Studies, the applicant must hold a Degree of Master (60 credits), or equivalent qualifications, in a subject of relevance to Risk and Environmental Studies. 

Admission and assessment criteria

To be eligible for doctoral studies, the applicant must be considered to have the ability required to benefit from the programme (Higher Education Ordinance, Chap. 7, Sect. 35). Admission is based on individual assessment.

The assessment will focus on the applicant’s performance in previous studies, the quality of any independent projects completed during these studies, proficiency in Swedish, and whether the applicant intends to be a present and active part of the research environment.

We are looking for a person who is well-organised and flexible, with good communication skills in both speech and writing. As a doctoral student, you are expected to take initiative and be able to work independently.


Upon admission to doctoral studies, the person will be offered the appointment of doctoral student (Higher Education Ordinance, Chap. 5, Sect. 3). The position comprises four years of full-time studies, or five years at a study rate of 80% with 20% teaching or other departmental duties. The position is fixed-term — one year initially, followed by possible extensions by a maximum of two years at a time. Start date by agreement.

The salary for the doctoral studentship corresponds to the standard level of salary for doctoral students at Karlstad University.


Submit the application via the university’s web-based recruitment tool, Varbi.

Applicants are responsible for submitting a complete application in accordance with the advertisement, for providing translations of any documents written in a language other than Swedish or English, and for ensuring that the documentation allows for objective and qualitative assessments. A complete application should be submitted by the application deadline. An incomplete application may jeopardise a fair assessment of qualifications.

The application should include:

a cover letter where the applicant details the reasons behind their interest in the position a list of qualifications (CV)  degree certificate with a complete transcript of the courses included, or a certified list of completed courses with grades and dates  copy of the master’s thesis or equivalent  where applicable, copies of publications or certificates for other qualifications  any letters of recommendation  two references, such as a teacher, supervisor, or previous or current superior a brief research plan (1,000-1,500 words) - this should show how the applicant plans to approach the above-described project based on theoretical and methodological orientations, if any. The research plan is not binding. The applicant who is admitted will complete his or her research plan in consultation with his or her supervisors.

Applicants with qualifications from abroad

If you have qualifications from a university outside Sweden or if they have not been recognised by a Swedish authority before, it is important that you attach degree certificates and official transcripts to facilitate the recognition of foreign qualifications.

Provide a contact for the degree-awarding institution (phone number or email) who can verify your qualifications.

Attach all the documents and publications you wish to be considered to the electronic application (do not just provide links). Name each uploaded document to clearly indicate its content.

Documents that cannot be submitted electronically should be sent to the following address:

Karlstads universitet

Erika Bergare


Application deadline: 2023-05-01

State the REK 2023/23.

We look forward to your application!

Karlstad University has chosen advertising channels for this recruitment and firmly declines any contact with advertising or recruitment agencies.

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