PhD position in Sustainable Bioeconomy for Fall 2020

About the position

A forest biorefinery is a versatile industrial platform that integrates multiple technological pathways to produce various bio-based products from different biomass feedstocks. Forest biorefineries could be an essential component of Canada’s national strategy for bioeconomy, given its global leadership in forestry. Nonetheless, to contribute to a sustainable bioeconomy, strategic planning is required to assess the forest biorefineries from both technical and economic perspectives, understanding their potential sustainability impacts, identifying the constraints of their implementation, and designing the policies to promote the investment in their production capacities.


The Sustainable Bioeconomy Research Group at Department of Wood Science is seeking a highly-motivated PhD student to join our group, starting in Fall 2020. The successful applicant will work under the direction of Dr. Qingshi Tu to produce an integrated analytical platform for promoting sustainable development of forest biorefineries, by creating a database of important technological pathways as well as a suite of analytical models to assess their environmental and economic implications. Examples of potential research work include:

  • Creating inventory database for early-stage technologies through process simulation
  • Developing life cycle assessment (LCA) and techno-economic analysis (TEA) models
  • Developing optimization algorithms for multi-output forest biorefineries to achieve sustainability goals


About the research group

The Sustainable Bioeconomy Research Group ( combines industrial ecology principles with computational modeling to promote the sustainable development of bioeconomy. We aim to create open-source databases and models for integrated, multi-scope and -scale evaluation of emerging technologies and their implementation.


About the department and UBC

The Department of Wood Science ( represents one of the three

departments that comprise the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia.

The University of British Columbia ( is a global center for research and

teaching, consistently ranked about top 40 universities in the world and ranked among the

top 20 public universities worldwide. The Vancouver Campus is located in the cosmopolitan

city of Vancouver, Canada and offers a large number of outdoors activities, including aquatic

sports and ski.


Research Assistantship

The selected candidate will be provided a four-year research assistantship, for a 12-month-based stipend totaling $21,000/year plus the full tuition coverage. There is also the possibility of additional funding through the Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA) program.



  • Applicants must have a M.Sc. in Wood Science or related fields (e.g., Industrial Ecology, Environmental Engineering, Environmental Science)
  • Proficient data analysis skills
  • Strong interest in computational modeling and bioeconomy
  • Excellent communication skills


Additional (preferred) qualifications

  • Demonstrated experiences in one or more of the following aspects:
    • Process simulation using AspenPlus or ChemCAD
    • LCA, TEA or other industrial ecology methods
    • Programming with Python or R
  • Demonstrated scientific writing skills


How to apply

Interested students are encouraged to contact Dr. Qingshi Tu by email ( Please use ‘Application_PhD_SustBioecon_Fall 2020’ as subject title and attach a cover letter summarizing the applicant’s qualifications. Please also attach a CV with the contact information of three references. Please note that only short-listed candidates will be contacted for interview.


Regarding full application procedure, admission requirements and other relevant information, please see the PhD – How to Apply webpage (



  • Application deadline: Mar 15, 2020
  • University of British Columbia
  • Sustainable Bioeconomy Research Group, Department of Wood Science
  • Vancouver, Canada
  • PhD and Postdoc Positions
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