Data Science for Future Sustainability Norwegian University of Science and Technology The Department of Energy and Process Engineering Norway

We have a vacancy for a PhD position at Department of Energy and Process Engineering


Data science has recently emerged as a scientific field and practice of analysis of big data sets aided by advances in data storage, retrieval, search, and computation. It makes use of statistics or techniques such as machine learning. The application of data science to sustainability is nascent. Use of large data sets, such as those connected to global models of the economy (multiregional input-output analysis) or earth observation systems, is well established, but there is much room in the acquisition and utilization of new data, improvement in techniques and practices, and the provision of insights. In addition to empirical analysis, there is an opportunity to use empirical observations to investigate options for future developments, e.g. by parametrizing models.


Industrial ecology is an expanding and maturing research field that models the use of resources and causation of emissions in the economy, thus providing critical insights into the nature-society interface and options to reduce adverse effects through changes in technology, management practice, or consumption patterns. Its application ranges from individual production processes through value chains (life-cycle assessment, widely applied in industry) through the tracing of individual and aggregated resources (substance or material flow analysis) to models of national and global economies (multiregional input-output analysis). The field is currently expanding to include econometric analysis of its modeling results and spatially-explicit description of both economic activity and environmental impacts. Industrial ecology is increasingly used to inform public policy and corporate decision making.


NTNU-IndEcol is a pioneer in the development and application of industrial ecology methods, as well as the use of large data sets and scientific computing in industrial ecology.  Researchers as NTNU-IndEcol participate in international export groups, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the International Resource Panel, as well as international collaborative projects.


The PhD candidate will be supervised by Professor Edgar Hertwich, and it will involve an interdisciplinary team of faculty and researchers. Hertwich is an expert in multiregional input-output analysis and the life-cycle assessment of future technologies. He joins NTNU as International Chair and continues to advise a group of PhD students at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University.

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