Postdoctoral Researcher in Urban Metabolism

The Urban Metabolism lab at the University of Louvain (Louvain Research Institute for Landscape, Architecture and Built Environment), Belgium, is looking for a qualified post-doctoral research associate in Urban Metabolism. 

The position is of a duration of 18 months and is part of an interdisciplinary research project on novel cross-boundary approaches in the field of Urban Metabolism, funded by the Belgian Research Council F.R.S-FNRS and started in October 2022.

The aim of the project is to challenge the conceptual and methodological boundaries of the Urban Metabolism field (its modelling approaches and underpinning systems theory), through the development of a conceptual framework and integrated model decision system which will build on synthesis across industrial and urban ecology. Cross-fertilization of different Urban Metabolism  approaches will be fostered through nexus thinking among selected concepts which are gaining momentum in the UM field (including "agency", "space", "time") and among mainstream assessment methods (including MFA, SFA, MRIO, LCA, agent-based models, etc..).

Beside the postdoc researcher in Urban Metabolism the project also involves two postdoc researchers in philosophy of science and in anthropology with whom the researcher will work in close collaboration.

In particular, the work of the postdoc researcher will consist of developing a systematic characterization of urban metabolic models (based on a model inventory already compiled in previous steps of the research) and an integrated decision system for model selection and coupling. Both deliverables will be developed in parallel to the conceptual aspect developed by the philosopher of science and the anthropologist through concept engineering, digital humanities and ethno-anthropological methods. 

The conceptual framework and model decision system will be tested in the Brussels Capital Region by all researchers in the team. This will involve the compilation of existing datasets on resource inflows and outflows and urban ecology fluxes which will be complemented through a bottom up and qualitative approach including fieldwork on selected flows as well as surveys, questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, and focus groups with local stakeholders (policy, industry, society). Feedback on project deliverables will be collected also by collegues working on Urban-Metabolism related topics in the global scientific community beyond Brussels.

The postdoc researcher will be based at the Brussels campus of the University of Louvain, Rue Henri Wafelaerts 47, 1060 Brussels.

Start date : between 15 June and 1 July 2023.

Further details about this position can be obtained from the project PI, Dr. Daniela Perrotti,



Minimum of a PhD in relevant subject area (Industrial Ecology, Environmental Science, Engineering, Urban Ecology, or related fields).


Relevant experience

Experience with computational and/or mathematical modelling of urban and regional systems

Engagement with quantitative and qualitative data collection and management (e.g. PhD thesis and follow up research)

Relevant PhD dissertation topic (urban metabolism, urban system modelling)

Knowledge of R or Python. GIS software is an advantage

Knowledge of and/or interest in the Urban Metabolism approach and urban sustainability at large.



Knowledge of R or Python

Knowledge of GIS software will be considered as an asset

Fluency in English

Excellent written English communication skills

Evidence of internationally competitive publication profile and commitment to further develop it

Excellent organizational and communication skills

Strong drive for interdisciplinary research

Ability to work independently within agreed guidelines

Commitment and ability to work as part of a multidisciplinary team.



The net monthly salary is of up to 2.900€ after tax. An additional research budget is provided to cover international mobility expenses, IT and other operating costs related to the research.


Application process

Applications should include (in one single pdf file):

1. A cover letter (2 pages max) including an explanation on how your profile matches the research project, Skills/Qualifications and Specific Requirements.

2. A full CV including a list of publications as well as contact details of two academic referees.

3. A short summary of your PhD thesis (2 pages max).

Please submit your application file to Dr. Daniela Perrotti -

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to online interviews between mid April and mid May. 

Read more / apply
  • Application deadline: May 07, 2023
  • University of Louvain - UCLouvain
  • Urban Metabolism Lab // Louvain Research Institute for Landscape, Architecture and Built Environment
  • Brussels
  • PhD and Postdoc Positions
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