PhD in International Environment and Development Studies – Finance and Rural Development

Updated: 6 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 11 Apr 2023

11th April 2023

  • English

Are you interested in the intersection of finance and rural development?
PhD in International Environment and Development Studies – Finance and Rural Development
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About the position

The Department of International Environment and Development Studies (Noragric), Faculty of Landscape and Society (LANDSAM) at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) has a vacant three-year PhD–position.

The world is an ever more financial place. Finance is increasingly central to models of economic and social development, from the local to the international scale. While finance is often associated with images of gleaming office towers and busy urban centres, it is no less important to rural areas in the global North and South alike. This PhD position invites candidates to develop research ideas on the links between finance and rural development processes, as well as the implications of these links for social, economic, and environmental justice.

Scholars exploring the expansion of finance have defined financialisation as comprising the growing role of financial motives, financial markets, financial actors and financial channels in economic and social life. Many suggest that the phenomenon involves new patterns of profit-making that construe a structural shift in the character of contemporary capitalism. A sizeable body of work analysing financialisation from political economy and other heterodox economic approaches now exists. Critiques emphasizing the empirical and political limits to financialisation are also on the rise.

Financialisation is transforming development agendas, programmes, and initiatives. Indeed, the phenomenon may be shifting the way that development is understood. Rural peoples long excluded from access to credit and other forms of finance are becoming more tightly integrated into capital markets.

Agriculture, conservation, forestry and other rural-centred resource sectors are being transformed into new types of assets for distant investors. Yet there is increasing skepticism that these changes represent a democratisation of finance or that finance-led development yields exclusively positive social, economic and ecological outcomes.

We welcome research proposals by applicants undertaking case study, comparative, or conceptual inquires into:

  • The implications of particular financial logics, practices, instruments and programmes for specific agriculture, conservation, forestry, or other rural-centred resource sectors and initiatives aiming to benefit local populations;
  • The changing role and/or growing emphasis placed on finance in particular rural development programmes, agendas, and initiatives;
  • Rural microfinance, safety-net and financial inclusion programmes intended to boost access to financial resources by rural residents;
  • Theoretically-inclined research questions, for example, concerning the implications of financialisation for the agrarian question and socially-differentiated processes of rural transition;
  • Related topics at the intersection between finance and rural development.

The main supervisor of the PhD Candidate will be Dr. Melanie Sommerville.

The applicant is made aware that an application for a PhD position at NMBU is at the same time an application for admission to a PhD programme at the institution. The documentation that is necessary to ensure that the admission requirements are met must be uploaded as an attachment.

Main tasks

The appointed candidate is admitted to a PhD programme at the Faculty. The PhD programme consists of mandatory and elective courses (30 ECTS) with written and oral examinations, and a major research component. The PhD candidate will develop a full research proposal and progress plan for the three-year PhD scholarship period during the first months of the appointment.


The successful applicant must meet the conditions defined for admission to a PhD programme at the Faculty. For more detailed information on the admission criteria please see the PhD regulations and the supplementary provisions for the Faculty’s PhD programmes.

The applicant must have an academically relevant education corresponding to a five-year Norwegian degree programme.

Required academic qualifications are:

  • A Master’s degree in social sciences such as human geography, anthropology, international relations, political economy/political sciences, environmental humanities, or development studies;
  • Documented strong academic background from previous studies (Master’s degree GPA: B or better; Master’s thesis B or better);
  • Documented proficiency in English (written and oral).

In addition to the required qualifications, the following qualifications or skills are desired:

  • Good time management and organizational skills;
  • Ability to work independently as well as collaboratively within a research group;
  • Ability to conduct field research/prior research experience;
  • Motivation to work in interdisciplinary contexts.

In the evaluation of the applicants that fulfil the academic requirements, emphasis will be placed on the desired qualifications specified above, as well as the quality of the research proposal (maximum 4000 words).

Remuneration and further information

The position is placed in government pay scale position code 1017 PhD. Fellow. PhD. Fellows are normally placed in pay grade 54 (NOK 501 200) on the Norwegian Government salary scale upon employment and follow ordinary meriting regulations.

Employment is conducted according to national guidelines for University and Technical College PhD scholars.

The successful applicant is expected to start in the position 1 September 2023 and be on campus on a regular basis.

For further information, please contact Dr. Melanie Sommerville, Noragric. E-mail: ; phone  +47 67231337.

For general questions about the PhD programme, please contact the PhD programme coordinator at

Information for PhD applicants  and general information to applicants


Please register your application electronically under ‘Apply for this job’. This will route you to the University’s Web Recruitment System, where you will need to register an account (if you have not already) and log in before completing the online application form.

Application deadline: 11.04.2023

In the electronic application process, the candidate must confirm that information and documentation (in the form of attachments) submitted via the job application can also be used by NMBU in a possible admission process.

It is up to the applicant to make sure the application is complete. No changes/additions are allowed after the application deadline. Incomplete applications will not be considered. 

The shortlisted applicants will be called for an interview as a part of the evaluation. Applicants invited for an interview are expected to present original diplomas and certificates.

For the application to be considered it must include:

  • Application letter describing the applicant’s qualifications and motivation for the position.
  • Research outline (max 4000 words) indicating research interests related to the themes outlined above, including relevant research questions, theoretical approaches and an outline of the project’s methodology – this will be further developed after employment (see guideline for research outline ).
  • Curriculum Vitae (complete list of education, positions, teaching experience, administrative experience, and other qualifying activities).
  • Certified copies of academic diplomas and transcripts. Diplomas, transcripts and diploma supplements that are not in Norwegian or English must be uploaded in the original language. An English translation of these documents must also be attached. Applicants from universities outside Norway are kindly requested to send a diploma supplement, or a similar document, which describes in detail the study programme and grading system.
  • One writing sample, for example master thesis, academic paper or article, book chapter, or equivalent.
  • Documentation of proficiency in written and oral English.
  • Names and contact details for two references (no recommendation letters required at this stage).

About the Faculty of Landscape and Society

The Faculty of Landscape and Society is home to some of Norway's foremost academic environments within international environment and development studies, public health science, landscape architecture, landscape engineering, urban and regional planning, property development and property law. The Faculty has 1300 students and 180 employees divided into five departments and a Faculty administration. It offers popular, forward-focused Bachelor, Master’s and PhD programmes. The Faculty is interdisciplinary and works with sustainable social development, both nationally and internationally.

The Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)

NMBU's focus is a joint effort for a sustainable future. Our university will contribute to securing the future of life, through outstanding research, education, communication and innovation.
NMBU has 1,900 employees of which about 500 phd scholarships and 6,700 students. The university is divided into seven faculties.
NMBU believes that a good working environment is characterised by diversity.

We encourage qualified candidates to apply regardless of gender, functional ability, cultural background or whether you have been outside the labour market for a period. If necessary, workplace adaptations will be made for persons with disabilities. More information about NMBU is available at


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11th April 2023


Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)




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