PhD Candidate: addressing the environmental benefits of product lifetime extension

Changes in consumption and the patterns of use of products can not only reduce waste but also greenhouse gas emissions in the production and disposal processes. Product lifetime extension is a key strategy of moving towards a Circular Economy. Emissions need to be reduced rapidly for us to have a change to keep global warming at or below 1.5°C. How can product lifetimes be extended? Do longer-lived products really offset the purchase of new products? How can companies, consumers, and policy makers increase product lifetime and thus reduce emissions? The Industrial Ecology Programme at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) is looking for a PhD student to participate in a collaboration with consumer researchers, product designers, social scientists, and producers of furniture, fashion, and appliances to answer these research questions.

The position is supervised by Edgar Hertwich, Johan Pettersen, and Kirsi Laitala of the Norwegian Institute for Consumption Research.

NTNU is looking for candidate with a Masters’ degree in industrial ecology, product design, engineering, social sciences or similar, quantitative skills including statistics and linear algebra, and the motivation to contribute to a more sustainable society.


The Industrial Ecology Program (IndEcol), Department of Energy and Process Engineering (EPT) at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) is seeking a PhD Candidate for a collaborative project on product life extension. Trying to move away from the throw-away society, efforts to increase resource efficiency by product life extension is one of the ways in which an increasingly circular economy can be attained. Product life extension is likely to reduce impacts during the manufacturing of products but may also increase the impacts of operations and maintenance. This research focus on household durables, their environmental impact, socioeconomic determinants of environmental impact, and options to reduce impacts. The PhD is part of the LASTING project, led by the Consumption Research Institute (SIFO) in Oslo and is conducted in collaboration with partners in other research institutes, companies, and non-governmental organizations.

Industrial ecology models the use of resources and causation of emissions in the economy, thus providing critical insights into the nature-society interface and options to reduce adverse effects through changes in technology, management practice, or consumption patterns.

Its application ranges from individual production processes through value chains (life-cycle assessment, widely applied in industry) through the tracing of individual and aggregated resources (substance or material flow analysis) to models of national and global economies (multi-regional input-output analysis). Statistics and geospatial information are utilized to analyze results and provide spatially-explicit descriptions of both economic activity and environmental impacts.

IndEcol is a pioneer in the development of industrial ecology methods, in particular within the area of sustainable consumption and carbon footprinting, as well as the use of large data sets and scientific computing in industrial ecology. Researchers at IndEcol participate in international expert groups, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the International Resource Panel (IRP), as well as international collaborative projects.

The Head of Department is Professor Terese Løvås. The position’s supervisor is Professor Edgar Hertwich, the co-supervisor is Associate Professor Johan Pettersen.

Main duties and responsibilities

Application deadline: 28 Feb. 2020

Please apply through

  • Application deadline: Feb 28, 2020
  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
  • The Industrial Ecology Program (IndEcol), Department of Energy and Process Engineering (EPT)
  • PhD and Postdoc Positions
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