PhD scholarship in Quantitative Assessments of Human Benefits of Nature Based Solutions

Updated: 3 months ago

The Urban Water Systems Section focuses on sustainable management of the urban water systems related to water management under a changing climate. The section has a focus on quantitative assessments of hydrological, economic and sustainability aspects of urban water management. The scholarship resides in this section, but will involve substantial elements related to the interaction between urban water management and the management and protection of freshwater in natural settings (e.g. chemical and ecological state of natural water bodies), as well as with urban air quality. Thus, the project will take place in close collaboration with the Environmental Fate & Effects of Chemicals Section and the Air, Land & Water Resources Section.

The PhD candidate will develop and apply indicators and variables that enable the quantitative valuation of human well-being and the socio-economic value of Nature Based Solutions (NBS) within and between different case study locations, depending on spatial scale. This includes the development and application of surveys based on, e.g., choice experiments and other non-market valuation methods, as well as studies of how to transfer the results of such assessments between locations to facilitate the upscaling of NBS technologies. The project will thus comprise both social science elements, such as questionnaires, as well as engineering elements, such as quantitative evaluation of the collected data and other datasets. 

Responsibilities and tasks 
The PhD candidate will become part of the team at DTU Environment working on the EU-H2020 RECONECT project ( ), as well as other projects on climate change impacts and adaptation measures. The RECONECT project involves case studies across Europe and beyond. Hence, it constitutes a unique opportunity to quantify the impacts of NBS both within and across catchments. The project aims at facilitating the upscaling and mainstreaming of NBS by providing solid business cases for proper design and operation of these technologies, which involves quantifying impacts related to water, nature, and people. 

The PhD-candidate will focus on providing quantitative evidence for the impact of NBS solutions on related people indicators, applied in case studies across Europe and beyond. Similar research on the water and nature indicators and variables are being carried out both at DTU and by other partners of the project, affording the candidate ample material to additionally evaluate linkages across all three indicator categories and potentially also between case study locations. 

Candidates should have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree in engineering, economics or geography.

The candidate will work as part of a team, with scientists from DTU Environment, as well as from other research institutes involved in the RECONECT project across Europe when relevant. Willingness to work in an international environment is essential.

  • The successful candidate will have a strong background within the environmental (engineering), economic and/or social sciences.
  • Demonstrable experience in survey design is preferred; (some) experience with statistical analysis is desirable but can also be acquired as part of the study.
  • The candidate should have a strong desire to work within the interfaces between disciplines, specifically here on the coupling of environmental (engineering) and social sciences.
  • Excellent skills in English (oral, written).
  • Additional desirable qualifications include a high degree of motivation and the ability to work independently in an interdisciplinary field.
  • The PhD candidate should be able to start latest by October, 2019.

Approval and Enrolment 
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the 
DTU PhD Guide .


The assessment of the applicants will be made by the main supervisor and key collaborators.

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.

The main workplace is DTU Lyngby Campus. Travels to case study areas and partners of the project is expected and potentially also an external stay at another research institution.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

Further information 
Further information may be obtained from Prof. Karsten Arnbjerg-Nielsen,

You can read more about DTU Environment at

Please submit your online application no later than 31 July 2019 (local time).

Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae 
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here )

Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their master's degree but cannot begin before having received it. 

Applications and enclosures received after the deadline will not be considered.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

DTU Environment is one of the largest university departments specializing in environmental engineering in Europe. The department conducts research and development, and provides educational programs and service to society in the area of engineering of water in natural, urban and industrial contexts, processing and recovery of residual resources, environmental risk assessment and chemical risk reduction. The aim is to develop new environmentally friendly and sustainable technologies and methodologies, and to disseminate this knowledge to society and a new generation of engineers. The department has approximately 185 staff from more than 30 countries.

DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and scientific advice. Our staff of 6,000 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society, and our 11,200 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent university collaborating globally with business, industry, government and public agencies.

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