PhD scholarship in Technologies for Adaptation DTU Management Engineering Denmark

PhD scholarship: Technologies for Adaptation – Exploring the Scope for Systematic Assessment and Risk Reduction Potential

DTU Management Engineering

Deadline 25 August 2017

You can apply for the job at DTU Management Engineering by completing the following application form.


Apply online


The Centre on Energy, Climate and Sustainable Development, part of the UNEP DTU Partnership, invites applications for a PhD research project focused on technologies for climate change adaptation in the context of sustainable development.

Over the past 25 years, the Centre on Climate, Energy and Sustainable development of the UNEP DTU Partnership ( has become a leading international research and advisory hub on energy, climate and sustainable Development. The Partnership is an integrated part of the Department of Management Engineering at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU). The Centre works in close partnership with the United Nations Environment Program (UN Environment) and has project activities in more than 50 developing countries. The Centre collaborates with a large number of national and international government and research institutions, especially in developing countries.


Technologies, along with the development and application of methodologies and tools for assessing adaptation needs and climate resilience measures, are areas that have become even more central under the Paris Agreement. The empirical and theoretical literature in this field remains sparse and fragmented. Measuring the impact and effectiveness of technologies for climate change as an adaptation strategy or action, however, has proven challenging. Adaptation is highly contextual and is often made up of complex systems, and aggregating and comparing the impacts or effectiveness of technologies for adaptation across time and space is challenging due to the context specific nature of adaptation itself. Aspects included in the definition of technology - such as training, capacity building, education, and institutional and organizational aspects of technology - may complicate assessment and quantification of transfer, diffusion and deployment of technologies and their contribution to climate risk reduction. Another complicating aspect in assessing the extent of technology application is that most of adaptation technologies are essentially either changes to existing systems, or systematic changes that integrate new aspects into current systems.

Project aims 

The PhD project has an overall focus on technologies for adaptation in the context of sustainable development, and specifically on the means to evaluate costs, benefits and climate risk reduction potential from their implementation. The project will provide enhanced conceptual, methodological and empirical insights into assessment of the potential for enhancing climate resilience and reducing climate risks in developing countries through technologies.         


Research methodology

There is scope within the project for pursuing an interdisciplinary framework of analysis combining different theoretical perspectives as well as methodological approaches. The research should however include a strong element of socio-economics and economic theory. Research methods should mostly be in the form of quantitative (primarily secondary) data collection and analysis, complemented with framework and methodology development and qualitative data collection and analysis.  



Candidates should have a Master’s degree in a relevant social science discipline (for example economics, agricultural economics, development studies), with proven skills in socio-economic assessments, and ideally with a focus or component on technologies and climate change adaptation in developing countries.

Strong oral and written English communication skills are essential. Experience from working in a developing country is an asset. Candidates will be expected to demonstrate the ability to work independently, to plan and carry out independent research, including field work in developing countries. Candidates are expected to have a high degree of self-motivation, leading their research project with the support of two co-supervisors.

Project environment and research Group

The successful candidate will join an international team of about 70 professionals in an interdisciplinary work environment, with a broad portfolio of activities and an extensive network of professional contacts to research and government institutions in developing countries as well as the UN system. 

Approval and Enrolment 

The scholarships for the PhD degree are subject to academic approval, and the candidates will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes of DTU. For information about the general requirements for enrolment and the general planning of the scholarship studies, please see the DTU PhD Guide.  


The PhD student will be selected through a competitive application process. Online applications will be screened against a set of criteria and a shortlist of candidates will be invited to an interview and to present their project proposals (via skype if based abroad). The assessment process and final selection will be made by the project supervisor in collaboration with an assessment committee.  

Salary and appointment terms 

The salary and appointment terms are consistent with the current rules for PhD degree students. The period of employment is 3 years. The place of employment is the Centre on Energy, Climate and Sustainable Development of the UNEP DTU Partnership, located at the UN City in Copenhagen, Denmark.  

Further information 

The project supervisor, Sara Traerup,, can be contacted directly to answer any specific questions.  


Please submit your online application no later than 25 August 2017. Applications must be submitted as one pdf filecontaining all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online," fill in 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)
  • Project proposal, including background, rationale, methodological approach, case study ideas (max 6 pages)


Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their master's degree, but cannot begin before having received it. The aim is to start the study in December 2017.  

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

DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and scientific advice. Our staff of 5,800 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society; and our 10,600 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent academic university collaborating globally with business, industry, government, and public agencies.

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