PhD student (Sustainable Food Systems)

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At the Department of People and Society, we research and teach environmental psychology, business management and advisory services. The purpose of our work is to create the conditions for sustainable living and working environments in rural and urban areas. We develop and communicate high quality knowledge about people, the environment and business.

The Business Management Group develops knowledge and increases awareness of economically, socially and ecologically sustainable operations and systems in the green sector. We engage with entrepreneurship, leadership and governance across agriculture, forestry and horticulture as well as urban and rural landscapes.

We are expanding research activities in the area of sustainable food systems.

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Name of research project/thesis: FOODCoST (Food Costing and Internalization of Externalities for System Transition) and SURFIT (Scaling Urban Regenerative Food Systems In Transition)
Research subject: Agricultural Science

The department is looking for a PhD student to join two European research projects called “FOODCoST” and “SURFIT”.

The PhD student will participate in two European projects on sustainable food systems – FOODCoST and SURFIT.

FOODCoST: FOOD Costing and Internalization of Externalities for System Transition

FOODCoST aims to support the transition towards sustainable food systems by proposing a harmonising methodology in the frame of True Cost Accounting to calculate externalities in climate, biodiversity, environmental, social and health along the food value chain.

The PhD student will focus mainly on understanding value chain stakeholders who generate or benefit from the negative, hidden costs of production and to explore ways to communicate these costs to consumers (through labelling and information).

The research will involve interviews with stakeholders and possibilities for designing, implementing and analyzing experiments in retail environments. 

SURFIT: Scaling Urban Regenerative Food Systems In Transition

One of the key challenges for sustainable urban food systems is to shorten the food supply chain by connecting food producers directly to consumers locally, or regionally. Sustainable food networks (SFNs) try to achieve this ambition.

The PhD student will focus mainly on how SFNs work with scaling often from an isolated and marginal position. The SURFIT project focuses on the concept of catalysers to jointly experiment with and learn about scaling processes of SFNs.

The research will involve interviews with stakeholders as well as in-case and cross-case analysis (with the cities of Malmö, Trento, Maastricht and Krakow).



  • Master’s Degree.
  • Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in business, sustainability, governance, innovation, geography or equivalent.
  • Written and spoken fluency in English.


  • Previous experience working on the topic of food.
  • Previous experience of True Cost Accounting or similar approaches.
  • Previous experience of both qualitative and quantitative methods.
  • Previous experience publishing scientific research or popular science.
  • Any evidence demonstrating a history of good social skills, a strong work ethic, and a passion for research, writing and creating impact.
  • Written and spoken fluency in Scandinavian or European languages.

Place of work:      


Forms for funding or employment:

Employment (4 years) 

Starting date:

According to agreement. 


Click the “Apply” button to submit your application. The deadline is 2024-08-09.

To qualify for third-cycle (Doctoral) courses and study programmes, you must have a second-cycle (Master’s) qualification. Alternatively, you must have conducted a minimum of four years of full-time study, of which a minimum of one year at second-cycle level.

Applicants will be selected based on their written application and CV, degree project, copies of their degree certificate and transcript of records from previous first and second-cycle studies at a university or higher education institution, two personal references, and knowledge of English. More information about the English language requirements can be found here:

Please note that applicants invited to interview must submit attested copies of their degree certificate, or equivalent, a transcript of records from previous first and second-cycle studies at a university or higher education institution. Applicants who are not Swedish citizens need to submit an attested copy of their passport’s information page containing their photograph and personal details.

Read about the PhD education at SLU at

Academic union representatives:

The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) has a key role in the development for sustainable life, based on science and education. Through our focus on the interaction between humans, animals and ecosystems and the responsible use of natural resources, we contribute to sustainable societal development and good living conditions on our planet. Our main campuses are located in Alnarp, Umeå and Uppsala, however, the university also operates at research stations, experimental forests and teaching sites throughout Sweden.

SLU has around 3,000 employees, 5,000 students and doctoral students and a turnover of over SEK 3 billion. We are investing in attractive environments on all of our campuses. We strive to provide a work environment characterised by inclusivity and gender equality, where different experiences generate conversations between people and pave the way for science, creativity and development. Therefore, we welcome applications from people with diverse backgrounds and perspectives.

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