COME SURF AT SEAS! Two-year postdoc in urban sustainability

Position Description: Postdoc at the Lab for Sustainable Urban-Rural Futures (SURF Lab) at the School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS) at the University of Michigan (see below for details on lab and school).

  1. Urban Energy Use: You will work with various large datasets to advance previous research by myself and colleagues on urban energy use and decarbonization. Your work could explore inequities in energy use and related carbon emissions across urban areas; interlinkages between urban form, land use, and carbon emissions; and the broader sustainability of urban decarbonization given prevailing challenges with critical mineral supply chains.
  2. Urban Food Systems: You could help develop analytical architectures to capture interconnections between the urban and rural via food supply chains (urban foodsheds), including improved methods to quantify environmental and social change along those supply chains. Localization of agriculture through urban-regional food systems, including urban agriculture, to enhance urban sustainability and resilience could also be a research topic.
  3. Corporate Supply Chain Analysis: Continue developing scalable methods to map the supply chains that underpin modern cities and to quantify environmental change along those supply chains. You will help advance a multi-scalar understanding of urban sustainability as a way to improve environmental justice both within cities and in urban hinterlands. Topical foci could include agri-commodities (e.g, palm or rubber), meat, crops, or critical minerals.

This is only a sketch of the position and there is flexibility to work on adjacent or completely different topics that motivate you. This is up for discussion. In addition to conducting research, you will also help develop competitive applications to external funding agencies.  

About You: You have recently obtained or expect to obtain your PhD in industrial ecology or allied engineering field (e.g. systems engineering), geography, urban planning, urban informatics, data science, systems ecology, ecological economics, sustainability science, or allied field. You are comfortable manipulating large datasets, including spatial data, using tools from computer science and have experience with or a willingness to learn quantitative sustainability assessment tools (life cycle assessment, material flow analysis, carbon footprinting, etc.) You are interested in applying mixed-method approaches that combine the quantitative with the qualitative to explore questions of equity and justice in cities.

Compensation: Starting salary of $60,000 USD annually plus typical benefits afforded to University of Michigan employees.  

Start Date: Flexible. Preferably as soon as possible.

Location: Predominantly in-person in Ann Arbor, MI. Not too shabby!

How to Apply: Apply directly to me with CV and cover letter to Running deadline until position is filled.

About the SURF Lab and School 

The SURF Lab measures and maps the multi-scalar environmental impacts of urban systems using a combination of engineering methods (esp. industrial ecology) and theory and tools from the social sciences (esp. geography). We contribute to a sustainable urban future where cities are just, humane, climate-friendly, and in balance with nature.   

The SURF Lab will relocate to the School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS) at the flagship Ann Arbor campus of the University of Michigan this Fall. SEAS is one of the top sustainability schools in the United States and it houses a diverse group of interdisciplinary ecologists, economists, engineers, geographers, architects, and other researchers in the natural sciences, including multiple urban sustainability scholars. SEAS will be the perfect home for the multi-scalar, mixed-methods research on urban systems done by the SURF Lab.  

The lead researcher at the SURF Lab, Assistant Professor Benjamin Goldstein, will join the Center for Sustainable Systems (CSS), one of seven centers of excellence at SEAS. CSS is a frontrunner in the development of novel methods to quantify the sustainability of technologies and large sociotechnical systems. Researchers at CSS have made substantial contributions to the development and maturation of life cycle assessment, input-output analysis, and the field of industrial ecology. As a part of SEAS, CSS provides an ideal environment for cross-disciplinary research that couples quantitative sustainability assessment and techno-economic analysis with theory and methods from allied disciplines in the social sciences and beyond.

This will be an exciting time to join the SURF Lab as we move and grow!

Read more / apply
  • Application deadline: Dec 01, 2023
  • University of Michigan
  • School for Environment and Sustainability
  • Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
  • Postdoc Positions
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