Postdoc in Environmental Sustainability Assessment in the Aviation Sector

mandag 12 okt 20

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Frist 11. november 2020
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DTU Management’s Section for Quantitative Sustainability Assessment (QSA) covers research and development of scientifically based engineering methods for decision support for assessing environmental and social sustainability. The research is positioned at the interface between natural sciences and engineering-based decision-support. A particular focus area is research and development of methods for quantifying the environmental sustainability associated with anthropogenic activities and the use of technologies, products, and services. 

The field of research is within environmental sustainability assessment, in particular life cycle assessment within the aeronautics sector, where you will contribute to research to anticipate potential environmental impacts of future aircrafts, including conventional, electric and hybrid aircraft covering different types of technologies up to 2050. 

Responsibilities and tasks
The position will be part of the recently-granted EU H2020 project GENESIS (“Gauging the ENvironmEntal Sustainability of electrIc aircraft Systems”) within the EU Clean Sky Programme, which gathers all major stakeholders within the aeronautics sector in Europe.

With aviation as an application domain, you will contribute to advancing the field of life cycle assessment (LCA) applied to emerging technologies, LCI building, prospective LCA, large-scale assessment of environmental sustainability (sector-wide). 

Key activities include:

  • Elaboration of life cycle inventory (LCI) data collection procedure & guidelines intended to be provided to the different partners in charge of the technology foresight analyses. Such guidance will cover technology specific data collection requirements as well as generic rules, such as handling of uncertainties and documentation needs.
  • Modelling and building of detailed life cycle inventories (for environmental impact assessment) covering all components of the aircraft system life cycle: (1) materials and production of aircraft (i.e. cradle-to-gate), including production and integration of different battery technologies, different fuel cells and H2 technologies, and specific airframe requirements; (2) the airport system life cycle, covering on-ground energy supply and storage capacity; (3) fuel supply, including electricity generation for battery systems (forecast), H2 fuel, fossil fuels and biofuel alternatives; (4) aircraft operations and maintenance ; (5) reuse, decommissioning, recycling and disposal of the different components. Differentiation between three time perspectives will be considered in the period 2020-2050 when developing LCI datasets. Uncertainties will also be characterised for each LCI dataset.
  • Performing cost evaluation for all relevant system components listed in previous points to enable economic analysis of the different powertrain technologies
  • Development and application of full-fledged modelling of the entire life cycle of electric aircraft systems considering different scenarios based on the mentioned powertrain technologies and variation of other relevant parameters (incl. temporal differentiation into the three time periods within 2020-2050).
  • Interpreting comparisons across and within scenarios and technology alternatives to reveal potential environmental burden-shifting and identify environmental hotspots (i.e. large sources of environmental impacts in the life cycle of aircraft systems) and provide sets of recommendations, e.g. for ecodesign of battery-based or fuel-cell aircraft.
  • Contributing to the development of an overall Technology Roadmap for a transition to sustainable and competitive electric aircraft systems, providing recommendations to different stakeholders in the aeronautics sectors considering the relevant technological, economic and environmental criteria.

Through the above tasks, you will collaborate with external researchers affiliated with the GENESIS project within academia and industry. You will therefore join an international team of researchers motivated to make the outcomes of the GENESIS project agenda setting within the aeronautics sector. The GENESIS project counts participation of 10 European partners representing the central components of the aircraft system life cycle (see above). 

You will also collaborate with several researchers from the QSA Section at DTU (e.g. ongoing activities about environmental sustainability assessment in the aeronautics sector), and likely co-supervise master thesis projects and co-mentor PhD thesis projects related to the project topic. You will become part of an energetic and dynamic research environment within the field of quantitative sustainability assessment. 

Candidates must have a PhD degree in life cycle assessment and/or demonstrate a strong expertise in specific scientific areas relevant to the project scope and objectives (see above details), including LCI building applied to emerging technologies, LCA application, in particular in a prospective context (i.e. future-oriented) and with scenario analyses, uncertainty evaluation and characterisation. A successful candidate therefore needs to demonstrate sufficient scientific expertise to undertake the specific activities and meet the objectives described above. Experience with aircraft systems is a definite advantage but is not considered indispensable. 

Special skills in programming, statistics and data management will be required for handling the modelling and building of LCI. Likewise deep knowledge and expertise in system life cycle modelling, e.g. via LCA software, will be required for conducting the prospective LCA studies. 

A high motivation for analytical research, strong ambitions and interest in addressing sustainability challenges in the aviation sector, and excellent communication skills in English are essential for a successful application. 

We offer 
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility. 

Salary and terms of employment 
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 2.5 years, starting 1 February 2021. 

Workplace is DTU Lyngby Campus. 

You can read more about career paths at DTU here

Further information 
Further information may be obtained from Associate Professor Alexis Laurent ( 

Information about the Section for Quantitative Sustainability Assessment (QSA) is available at Research projects and about DTU Management at

Application procedure
Please submit your online application no later than 11 November 2020 (local time)Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • Application (cover letter)
  • CV
  • Diploma (MSc/PhD)
  • List of publications
  • Research Statement (clearly relating existing expertise to proposed project tasks)

Applications and enclosures received after the deadline will not be considered. 

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, disability, race, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply. 

DTU Management conducts excellent research in the intersection between management, technology and economics. We develop solutions in close cooperation with companies and public authorities. Our research aims at strengthening welfare, productivity and sustainability within the society. A key element is the role of technology and its interaction with industry and individuals. The department’s research is divided in four divisions: Innovation, Management Science, Sustainability and Transport. Furthermore, the department hosts a UN Collaborating Centre. The UN DTU Partnership conducts research, policy analysis and advising on a global scale. The department offers a wide range of courses and programs at bachelor, master and PhD level across DTU’s study programs. DTU Management employs about 300 people. We offer an international environment with around 50 different nationalities represented at the department.

Technology for people
DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today. DTU has 12,000 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. Our main campus is in Kgs. Lyngby north of Copenhagen and we have campuses in Roskilde and Ballerup and in Sisimiut in Greenland.