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Job ID: 233042

Doctoral Researcher, sustainability transformation and its governance
Aalto University

Date Posted Mar. 15, 2024
Title Doctoral Researcher, sustainability transformation and its governance
University Aalto University
, Finland
Department T213 Built Environment
Application Deadline Open until filled
Position Start Date Available immediately
  • Graduate Student
  • Water Resources Engineering
    Ecological and Environmental

Aalto University is where science and art meet technology and business. We shape a sustainable future by making research breakthroughs in and across our disciplines, sparking the game changers of tomorrow and creating novel solutions to major global challenges. Our community is made up of 13 000 students, 400 professors and close to 4 500 other faculty and staff working on our dynamic campus in Espoo, Greater Helsinki, Finland. Diversity is part of who we are, and we actively work to ensure our community’s diversity and inclusiveness. This is why we warmly encourage qualified candidates from all backgrounds to join our community.

Water and Environmental Engineering Research Group at Aalto University has two open positions for:

Doctoral Researcher, sustainability transformation and its governance

Water and Environmental Engineering Research Group at Aalto University is inviting applications for two Doctoral Researcher positions on sustainability transformation and its governance. The positions are full time for three years and located in the research team led by Associate Professor Marko Keskinen.  

The Doctoral Researcher positions will form a part of the Sustainability Transformation doctoral education pilot SusTra ( The pilot involves 10 universities and the Finnish Environment Institute, SYKE. Research within the doctoral education pilot will focus on sustainability transformations in different sectors of society to find solutions to climate change, biodiversity loss, and sustainable use and management of natural resources. The research themes of the pilot include, for example, citizens’ lifestyles, production and consumption, governance and legal systems, and cultural transformations. These Doctoral Researcher positions will focus on sustainable natural resources management as well as on ecosystems, planetary health and planetary wellbeing, but they may link to the other themes of the pilot as well. The research can take place on multiple scales, from local context to national (Finland) and all the way to global scale.

The position offers you a possibility to join a unique, multidisciplinary group of experts studying sustainability transformation from a variety of viewpoints. The positions are located at Aalto University’s Water and Environmental Engineering Group and the related Water & Development Group, which carry out water and sustainability related research from local to global scale ( The group provides an inspiring and supporting community, with strong competence on research and education, peer support, and active development of doctoral education (see The group is also actively engaged in the RELIEF project that looks at the role of legal systems on sustainability transformation with the help of interdisciplinary research and knowledge co-creation (  

What we expect from you
We expect you to have enthusiasm and vision to study sustainability transformation and its governance. Independent approach to work is essential to succeed in the position. Experience from qualitative research and/or mixed methods approaches is a strong merit, while familiarity with quantitative research methods is appreciated. Experience from carrying out expert interviews and related analysis methods and software is a merit, similarly to experience from research and scientific publishing. We also expect you to actively contribute to the interdisciplinary collaboration both within our research group at Aalto University and in the SusTra doctoral education pilot. 

You can apply to the position from various different fields: suitable disciplines and fields include for example environmental sciences, sustainability science, social sciences, business studies as well as engineering. Relevant theories and frameworks guiding your research will be linked e.g. to sustainability, natural resources management, systems thinking and social-ecological systems, adaptive governance as well as knowledge co-creation. Understanding of multi-, inter- and transdisciplinary research approaches is also useful for your research.     

The position will require presence in Finland and a strong competence in English language. As at least part of the research is likely to focus on Finland and on Finnish planning and policy processes, competence in Finnish language is a strong merit. 

You must also fulfill the admission criteria of the Aalto Doctoral Programme in Engineering and, if chosen for the position, apply for the right to pursue doctoral studies at Aalto University. For more information on the general requirements and the application process for doctoral studies, please visit

The starting time in the position is negotiable, but the work must start at the latest in January 2025.

What we offer
We offer you an interesting research position, which allows you to develop yourself and to carry out solution-oriented, cutting-edge research on sustainability transformation within both our research group at Aalto and the SusTra doctoral education pilot.

The position is for full time and for three years. The salary will be based on Aalto University’s salary levels and will be around 2700-2800 euros at the beginning of the contract.

Aalto University and its Water and environmental engineering research group offers you an inspiring community, where we emphasize collaboration, personal development, and well-established doctoral education process (

We provide extensive occupational healthcare. We work in a hybrid way and have flexible working hours. Your primary workplace will be in our rapidly developing and active university campus in Otaniemi, Espoo, with great public transportation connections.  

Join us!
If you are interested in joining our research group, please submit your application through our recruitment system (click the Apply now! link on this page) by Saturday April 20, 2024.

Please include the following documents in English, preferably as a single pdf-file (‘lastname_firstname_application.pdf’):
  • Letter of Motivation (1-2 pages), where you shortly introduce yourself and describe your research interests and motivation for pursuing doctoral studies. If you apply for several positions in the SusTra doctoral education pilot, please indicate your preference for those positions.
  • Curriculum Vitae (2-3 pages), including contact details of two relevant referees (please see CV example TENK_CV_template_2020.docx ( You are also encouraged to include links to your possible LinkedIn page or other similar website.
  • List of Publications, including the titles and possible links to your Bachelor Thesis and Master’s Thesis as well as possible other scientific publications Official
  • Study Transcript of your Master’s degree, listing all courses and grades
  • Research Plan (2-3 pages), indicating the planned context, research questions, key methods and theories as well as novelty of your research. Kindly note that the plan can be checked with the Turnitin Originality Check tool.

Kindly note that we will start to go through the applications and may also invite suitable candidates to interview during the application period. The positions will be filled as soon as suitable candidates are identified: this can happen already before the application period closes. You are thus encouraged to submit your application as soon as possible.

Aalto University reserves the right to leave the positions open, extend the application period, re-open the application process, and to consider candidates who have not submitted applications during the application period.

Our workplace values equality and diversity, and we therefore encourage qualified applicants from all backgrounds to apply for our open positions.

More information
More information about the positions can be asked from Associate Professor Marko Keskinen (

For questions about applying, please contact HR Advisor Kirsi Kärkkäinen (

Want to know more about Aalto University and our community?

You can watch these videos:
Aalto University - Towards a better world
Aalto People
Shaping a Sustainable Future

Read more about working at Aalto:

About Finland
Finland is a great place for living with or without family - it is a safe, politically stable and well-organized Nordic society. Finland is consistently ranked high in quality of life and was just listed again as the happiest country in the world:

For more information about living in Finland:

More about Aalto University:

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