PhD on Material Stock Analysis of construction in the Global South at CML Leiden

The Leiden University Institute of Environmental Sciences CML and Faculty of Science is looking for:

PhD Researcher on Material Stock Analysis of construction in the Global South
Vacancy number 14412

Key responsibilities
We are seeking a curious and motivated researcher to join our team as PhD candidate at Leiden University's CML Institute of Environmental Sciences, to quantitatively assess the current and future construction material uses that compose human settlements of the Global South, which is sometimes indiscreetly aggregated as the Rest of the World (RoW) in global Industrial Ecology studies.

Most future demands for construction materials will occur in the global south, and thus so will these materials’ environmental and societal impacts. It’s paramount to increase our understanding of the lifecycles of construction materials – how many and which materials, where are they used, to what ends, and with which impacts. These questions have been daunting due to limited data and research frameworks, and the Global South has been especially neglected so far. The little understanding we have is fragmentary, uncertain, and incoherent.

Your PhD studies will be part of the novel research project Materials-GRoWL: Gauging the Rest-of-the-World’s Lifecycles of construction materials, funded by the ERC (European Research Council). You will explore diverse yet interconnected research streams such as:

  • Producing high-resolution construction material data in cities, countries, and regions in the Global South, and linking these to the societal services and human needs they provide.
  • Comparing future construction material use developments of buildings and infrastructure, under a suite of different socioeconomic and wellbeing pathways.
  • Identifying and quantifying environmental and socioeconomic risks imposed on and by construction material accumulation.
  • Taking part in forming an international exchange framework for cross-transfer of material use knowledge.

Within the project, you will work closely with Ass. Prof. Tomer Fishman and others to develop the methods, data, and analytical frameworks to overcome the acute challenges that held back the study of construction material use in the Global South. Dr. Fishman is dedicated to an inclusive and open research environment to promote passion, independence, and transferable skills for whatever future career goals you may have. In our research group, we strongly value a collaborative approach. You will be based in Leiden, a vibrant city known for its rich scientific heritage. The role may involve international travel for research and to collaborate with local scholars and with leading experts in this field.

Selection Criteria
These three criteria are essential for a prospective applicant:

  1. A master’s degree in an academic field with a significant quantitative component, including but not limited to industrial ecology, environmental sciences, civil or environmental engineering, environmental economics, urban geography, and statistics.
  2. Great interpersonal and communication skills, and excellent English language proficiency.
  3. Intellectual curiosity, motivation, and analytical skills, embracing diverse ideas and perspectives to work on the subject of construction material use in the Global South.

Any of these criteria are highly valued:

  • Advanced or native speaker of a language spoken in countries or regions considered part of the Global South (beyond English), is a big advantage, as this would help you communicate with local contacts and collaborators and tap into data sources.
  • Experience with one or more of the following methods: Material Flow Analysis (MFA), Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Building Information Models (BIM), prospective scenarios or forecasting models, programming skills (e.g. Python or other languages), Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), machine learning, econometrics, statistical analysis, or systems sciences.
  • Demonstrable proactive and flexible attitude, collegial team player that is also comfortable and confident working independently when required.

We are committed to building an inclusive and diverse team, welcoming applications from individuals of all backgrounds and experiences. Your unique perspectives will enrich our research and foster a collaborative and innovative environment.

Research at our faculty
Leiden University is situated between Amsterdam (36km) and The Hague (15 km) and was founded in 1575, making it the oldest university in the Netherlands. It houses around 35,000 students originating from 112 nationalities, facilitated by approximately 8,000 staff.

The Institute of Environmental Science (CML) at Leiden University offers a vibrant and supportive community of scientists committed to the challenges of sustainability, with a multidecade record of leading the field of industrial ecology in Life Cycle Assessment, Material Flow Analysis, and Environmental Input-Output Analysis. CML distinguishes itself for its attention to professional development in coordination with the interests of its scientists. As such, there are plenty of opportunities to learn new skills, expand your knowledge, collaborate across disciplines, and experiment in a friendly environment fully embodying academic freedom across all career levels.

The core focus of CML is to perform research and education in the interdisciplinary field of Environmental Sciences. CML focuses on the sustainable use of natural resources and preservation of natural capital and biodiversity. CML has a culture of mutual support and collaboration between researchers. CML has two Departments: Industrial Ecology (CML-IE) and Environmental Biology (CML-EB). Presently, about 140 fte (including postdocs and PhDs) are employed at CML. CML further collaborates with TU Delft and Erasmus University in the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for Sustainability (LDE-CfS), Naturalis Biodiversity Centre.

The Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML) is positioned in the Faculty of Sciences. 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 committed to expanding fundamental knowledge by curiosity and looking 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 programs. The faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has more than 2.800 staff and almost 6000 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.

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

Terms and conditions
At Leiden University, a PhD candidate is seen as an employee rather than a student. As such, 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 Labor Agreement for Dutch Universities. Salary ranges from € 2.770.- gross per month in the first year to € 3.539 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.

At the Faculty of Science, we value inclusiveness and strive for a diverse community with equal opportunities for all. We give full support to our staff in achieving their potential to become independent academic researchers and teachers. For more information about our policy on diversity and equality please go to the diversity page on our website. Female researchers are also welcome to join the Researchers In Science for Equality network of the Faculty of Science (

Enquiries can be made to Dr. Tomer Fishman (

Please submit your application via the online recruitment system, via the blue button at the top or bottom of this page. Applications received via e-mail will not be taken into consideration. Please ensure that you upload the following additional documents quoting the vacancy number: 14412

  • A CV.
  • A motivation letter.
  • Name and contact details of at least two referees.

Only applications received before the 15th of January 2024 will be considered. Interviews will take place in the week of the 29th of January 2024.

Read more / apply
  • Application deadline: Jan 14, 2024
  • Leiden University CML
  • Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML)
  • Leiden, Netherlands
  • PhD Positions
Read more / apply Back to list
On the job market

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

All candidates