PhD in Comparative Political Sociology of Climate Policymaking

Umea University
October 15, 2022
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
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Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
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Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences

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The Department of Sociology at Umeå University is pleased to invite applications for a PhD position focusing on the comparative political sociology of climate policymaking, starting January 1 st 2023, or by agreement.

Research project

This PhD project will be carried out as part of the larger research project “In Search of Decoupling.” The candidate will conduct case studies with the purpose of understanding how some societies have succeeded in mitigating some environmental problems, including climate change to varying extents. Under what conditions have these successes, including key policy decisions that contributed to them, been possible? And to what degree have these achievements and policy choices reflected public opinion, come at an economic cost, and/or influenced levels and types of employment?

The project is funded by the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet), and is an interdisciplinary collaboration among researchers at Umeå University, the University of Basel (Switzerland), and University of Victoria (Canada). The project leader is Professor Malcolm Fairbrother.

The overall goal of the PhD student's work will be to identify conditions under which countries have been more or less successful in decoupling economic growth from greenhouse gas emissions, as well as potentially other forms of environmental harm.

The case studies conducted by the PhD student will complement statistical analyses conducted by other project participants. Methodologically, the case studies will entail semi-structured interviews with key actors (policymakers, advocates, and interest group representatives), plus analyses of primary and secondary source documents.

Requirements and qualifications

To be eligible, applicants must hold an advanced degree, have completed studies equivalent to at least 240 higher education credits, at least 60 of which at an advanced level, or in some other manner have acquired skills which are equivalent to this requirement.

Applicants must also have satisfactorily undertaken courses within Sociology equivalent to at least 90 higher education credits and 60 higher education credits at advanced level in Sociology (magister level), or equivalent competence.

The successful applicant will be familiar with major environmental issues, including in particular climate change and climate policies, and be well trained in social science research methods (especially case study research and the use of qualitative interviews). Some expertise and familiarity with quantitative methods would also be an advantage, as would knowledge of policymaking processes and the basic working of political institutions in different countries. Since the research will be conducted in an international and interdisciplinary research environment, the ability to collaborate and contribute to teamwork, and a very good command of the English language, are essential.

More information

The position is full-time, and the PhD programme is four years. However, the position may also include part-time teaching and other departmental functions (up to 20%). If so, the contract for the position will be extended, corresponding to time spent engaged on these tasks. The doctoral student's main responsibility will be to follow the syllabus of the doctoral program, which includes carrying out research within the project, and taking doctoral program courses.

Though the PhD project will entail significant amounts of travel, the post holder will be expected to conduct most of the work at the Department of Sociology at Umeå University, and to participate in common departmental activities. Salary is paid according to the established wage intervals for PhD candidates at the university, The current starting salary is 29000 SEK per month.


Applications must contain the following:

  • A cover letter, including a statement of the applicant's motivation for applying (maximum one page).
  • A research plan describing the proposed dissertation project (maximum two pages), reflecting the aims and approaches of the “In Search of Decoupling” project described above.
  • Current CV, with details about completed academic degrees, past work experiences and any publications.
  • University transcripts with grades.
  • Copy of degree certificate.
  • A sample of the candidate's academic writing.
  • Name and contact information of two references.
  • Application must be submitted via the e-recruitment system Varbi, no later than October 15th, 2022. Shortlisted candidates may be invited to a virtual interview.

    The research environment

    The Department of Sociology carries out extensive research in a broad range of areas, including sustainability, labour, globalization, environmental attitudes and behaviours ; Department of Sociology.

    The department carries out extensive research and emphasizes a work climate that enhances intellectual development. At present the department employs about 60 persons of which 12 are doctoral students.

    Umeå University strives to offer an equal environment where open dialogue between people with different backgrounds and perspectives lay the foundation for learning, creativity and development. We welcome people with different backgrounds and experiences to apply for the current employment.

    We kindly decline offers of recruitment and advertising help.

    Type of employment Temporary position longer than 6 months

    Contract type Full time First day of employment 230101 Salary Månadslön Number of positions 1 Working hours 100% City Umeå County Västerbottens län Country Sweden Reference number AN 2.2.1-1342-22 Contact

  • Malcolm Fairbrother, [email protected]
  • Karin Nilsson, HR samordnare, 090-7865260,[email protected]
  • Union representative

  • SACO, 090-7865365
  • SEKO, 090-7865296
  • ST, 090-7865431
  • Published 05.Sep.2022 Last application date 15.Oct.2022 11:59 PM CEST

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