PhD position – University of Lausanne


The University of Lausanne (UNIL) is a higher teaching and research institution composed of seven faculties where nearly 15,000 students and 3,900 collaborators, professors, and researchers work and study. Ideally situated along the lake of Geneva, near Lausanne’s city center, its campus brings together over 120 nationalities.


The Institute of Geography and Sustainability (IGD) seeks to fill a position of Graduate Assistant in Sustainability, for a maximum period of 5 years. This position is linked to the “Environmental Humanities” and “Development, societies & environment” research groups under the responsibility of Prof. Julia Steinberger.

The IGD is an interdisciplinary community of about 100 academics that work in the fields of Geography and Sustainability. With 15 professors and more than 40 PhD students, the department offers a vibrant, stimulating environment for cutting-edge research. It hosts regular lecture series and distinguished guest researchers from around the world.

Job information

Expected start date in position : 01.09.2022 (or to be agreed)

Contract length : 1 year, renewable 2 x 2 years, maximum 5 years

Activity rate : 80%

Workplace : University of Lausanne, Institute of Geography and Sustainability, Switzerland.

Your responsibilities

The successful candidate will develop personal research leading to a PhD in environmental sciences, and more particularly in the field of ecological economics, at the Institute for Geography and Sustainability, more precisely within the research groups on “Environmental Humanities” and “Development, societies & environment.” Her/his research topic should focus on the possible transformations of societies towards prioritizing human well-being within planetary boundaries, within two areas:

  1. the quantitative exploration of the sufficient resource use to allow decent living standards, including integrated assessment modelling as well as the statistical assessment of empirical evidence;
  2. heterodox economy and degrowth ideas, including the assessment of systemic growth imperatives using different economic theories as well as participatory strategies for overcoming vested interests in powerful industries and working towards economic democracy.

The successful candidate will devote at least half of working time to her/his PhD research (40% for this position), with the remaining time reserved for supporting research and teaching of Prof. Julia Steinberger in the fields of social science approaches to climate change, perspectives on the Anthropocene and ecological economics, and as a graduate assistant.

Your qualifications

The successful candidate is expected to have earned a Master’s degree in ecological economics, energy, industrial ecology or sustainability studies.

English language proficiency is expected, with the aptitude to learn French (French is the teaching language at UNIL).

What the position offers you

We offer a stimulating work environment and atmosphere, with dedicated support for developing an academic career. Members of our research groups become part of international networks and benefit from opportunities to attend conferences and workshops around the world.

We offer an excellent remuneration package and additional funds for fieldwork and conferences. Different formation opportunities are possible at UNIL or in Swiss institutions that promote doctoral research.

Contact for further information

Prof. Julia Steinberger ( )

Webpage :

Research group “Development, societies & environment” of IGD:

Research group “Environmental Humanities” of IGD:

Your application

Deadline : 25.05.2022

In order to apply, please contact Prof. Julia Steinberger ( for more information on the research context, and for instructions on how to prepare your topic application. 

Please submit the following documents in PDF format only via the career website of the University of Lausanne:

– letter of motivation
– full CV
– a short (2-3 pages) proposal for doctoral research (must be imperatively be discussed with Prof Julia Steinberger prior to submission)  
– scans of university degrees and course transcripts/marks
– the Master’s thesis (and a research paper, if available)

Only applications through this website will be taken into account.

We thank you for your understanding.

Additional information

UNIL is committed to equal opportunities and diversity.

UNIL supports early career researchers.