PhD candidate | Dynamic,-prospective and combinatorial Life Cycle Assessment of forest-based products

The Faculty of Science and Institute of Environmental Sciences are looking for:


PhD candidate | Dynamic,-prospective and combinatorial Life Cycle Assessment of forest-based products



Key responsibilities


Wood use can contribute to climate change mitigation, but this contribution is temporally dynamic and highly dependent on the production technologies. LCA, which is widely used to assess the climate change mitigation potential of forest-based products, has notable deficiencies when applied to renewable raw materials. It lacks, for example, explicit consideration of temporal dynamics of impact and benefits, how societal decarbonization will affect the future mitigation potential of forest products, and poorly considers the role of biogenic carbon impacts from forest management and temporary carbon storage.

The PhD will conduct Life Cycle Assessment that will be used to quantify the achievable contribution of the European forest-based bioeconomy to climate change mitigation goals. The LCAs shall be dynamic (i.e. temporally explicit), prospective (i.e. oriented at future technologies) and combinatorial (i.e. considering alternative technological options).

The PhD will be under the co-supervision of CML and VITO and will be done within the framework of the EU Project ForestPaths starting in September 2022. The project aims at comprehensively quantifying the climate change mitigation potential of forest-based policy pathways by assembling the next generation integrated assessment framework incorporating improved methods, models, tools and data.


Key tasks:

  • Develop a methodology for temporally differentiated prospective Life Cycle Assessment
  • Build a database of dynamic and prospective displacement factors for the European wood sector
  • Create European spatially explicit CO2 emission metrics for forest-based material and energy products


Selection criteria

  • Master degree in a relevant discipline (engineering, sustainability science, programming etc.).
  • Experience with LCA and/or forest-based products
  • Proficiency in spoken and written English and good communication skills
  • Experience with programming (e.g. Python) and/or advanced LCA software (Brightway, Activity Browser, etc.) is a strong advantage.



Our organizations

CML, Leiden University

The Faculty of Science is a world-class faculty where staff and students work together in a dynamic international environment. It is a faculty where personal and academic development are top priorities. Our people are driven by curiosity to expand fundamental knowledge and to look beyond the borders of their own discipline; their aim is to benefit science, and to make a contribution to addressing the major societal challenges of the future.

The research carried out at the Faculty of Science is very diverse, ranging from mathematics, information science, astronomy, physics, chemistry and bio-pharmaceutical sciences to biology and environmental sciences. The research activities are organized in eight institutes. These institutes offer eight bachelor’s and twelve master’s programmes. The faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has more than 2,300 staff and almost 5,000 students. We are located at the heart of Leiden’s Bio Science Park, one of Europe’s biggest science parks, where university and business life come together.

The Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML) is positioned in the Faculty of Sciences. The core focus of CML is to perform research and education in the interdisciplinary field of Environmental Sciences. CML has two Departments: Industrial Ecology (CML-IE) and Environmental Biology (CML-EB). Presently, about 125 fte (including postdocs and PhDs) are employed at CML. CML collaborates with the TU Delft and Erasmus University in the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for Sustainability (LDE-CfS), Naturalis Biodiversity Centre, and other partners.


For more information, see and Information about CML can be found at



The Flemish Institute for Technological Research VITO is an independent research organisation that implements research and develops innovative products and processes for both the public and private sectors in the areas of chemistry, environment, materials, food and energy.

VITO accelerates the transition to a sustainable world by providing knowledge and technological innovations that facilitate this transition to a more sustainable society by making the connection between research, government and market in order to create impactful changes.

VITO has a multi-disciplinary staff of nearly 1000 highly qualified employees from 45 nationalities and 100 between PhDs and Postdocs.

VITO brings numerous years of experience in environmental impact and life cycle assessment in the field of sustainable materials and circular economy and energy.


For more information, see






Terms and conditions 
We offer a 1-year position with the possibility of extension to 4 years based on performance and following the pay scale P in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. Salary ranges from € 2.443.- gross per month in the first year to € 3.122 gross per month in the fourth year based on a full-time position.


Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break.  

Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.

Enquiries can be made to Dr. Giuseppe Cardellini (, Dr. Bernhard Steubing (, or Prof. Arnold Tukker (

To apply for this vacancy, please send an email to including the following documents:

  • CV
  • A motivation letter
  • The names and phone numbers of two referees


Application deadline is May 23rd, 2022. The starting date can be in the second half of 2022 (earlier preferred). Candidates are asked to reserve time for a possible interview on June 1st.



  • Application deadline: May 23, 2022
  • Leiden University
  • Faculty of Science and Institute of Environmental Sciences
  • Leiden, The Netherlands
  • PhD and Postdoc Positions
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