PhD in Life Cycle Thinking in Public Policy

PhD in Life Cycle Thinking in Public Policy, University College London (UCL)

Note: the studentship covers EU/international fees.

Life cycle thinking (LCT) informs decision-making by highlighting the environmental impacts of goods and services across the life cycle, from raw material extraction to end-of-life disposal. LCT shapes government policy both as a heuristic for problem identification and analysis, and through the generation of evidence with analytical tools, primarily life cycle assessment (LCA), to support policy design, implementation, and evaluation. LCT has gained an important role in government decision-making, but there is a lack of understanding of its role in the policy process and its effect on the success of policies. The candidate will map the use of LCT in public policy in various jurisdictions (e.g., UK, EU, globally), identify drivers and constraints for the use of LCT in the policy process, and study the success and failure of life-cycle-based policies through case study research. The outcomes of the research can support better policymaking and inform efforts to achieve a circular economy. As part of the PhD, the candidate is expected to directly engage with policymakers, including through a potential secondment at a policy organization.

The supervisory team for this position consists of Dr Stijn van Ewijk, at the Department for Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering, and Dr Will McDowall, at the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources. The candidate will be based at the Department for Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering.

Studentship description

Fully funded 3.5-year PhD studentship covering international fees, with a £20.198 per annum tax free stipend in Year 1, rising with inflation.

Person specification

We are looking for an outstanding candidate with an interdisciplinary background in engineering/science and social sciences. Affinity with environmental assessment and public policy, either through training or work experience, is preferred.


Applicants should apply through ( and include a letter of motivation, CV and research proposal of no more than 1,000 words (excluding bibliography). In the proposal, please describe the research questions and objectives, proposed methods and data, and potential choice of case studies.

If you have any questions regarding the position, please reach out to Dr Stijn van Ewijk (s.vanewijk[at]

Closing date

30 April 2023

Interview date


Studentship start date

25 September 2023

  • Application deadline: Apr 30, 2023
  • University College London
  • Engineering
  • London, UK
  • PhD and Postdoc Positions
Back to list
On the job market

Some industrial ecology candidates that are on the job market...

All candidates