PhD Position in Sustainability Assessment of Cities

A PhD position is available within the Sustainability Assessment Program at the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UNSW Sydney. The topic of the research is to create a quantitative modelling framework for assessing the absolute sustainability of cities by combining global multi-region input-output (MRIO) analysis with the ‘safe and just space’ (SJS) concept for human development. The model will allow assessment of the full supply chain environmental and social impacts of urban economic activities against biophysical planetary limits as well as social foundation thresholds defined in the literature. The project will advance sustainability science methodology and will greatly benefit worldwide initiatives for urban sustainability. Case studies on Australian cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra) will assess where interventions can be most practically, realistically and effectively implemented.

The 3-year research is designed to address current gaps in sustainability science by improve sustainability assessment methodology, quantifying environmental and social footprints of Australian and global cites and benchmarking performance against downscaled metrics of absolute sustainability and by delivering evidence-based policy recommendations for sustainable urban development in Australia.

The PhD research is part of an Australian Research Council Discovery Project. The researcher will make use of the Industrial Ecology Virtual Laboratory (, a collaborative eresearch platform for environmental input-output analysis. The candidate will be involved in the construction of city-nested MRIO databases, the compilation and benchmarking of SJS indicators and the calculations in city case studies.

See full description here.

Enquiries and applications should be sent to Dr Tommy Wiedmann ( Applications must include a cover letter referring to the skill profile outlined above, academic transcripts, a CV and the names and contact details of two referees. Incomplete applications will be returned without evaluation. The deadline for applications is 31 January 2019. Candidates would ideally commence before 30 June 2019.



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