Doctoral Position in Environmental Social Science
University of Gothenburg Graduate School in Transdisciplinary Ocean Sciences

Doctoral Position in Environmental Social Science with a Focus on Coastal Fisheries and Tourism in Sweden

Ref PAR 2021/346


The University of Gothenburg tackles society’s challenges with diverse knowledge. 53 500 students and 6 500 employees make the university a large and inspiring place to work and study. Strong research and attractive study programmes attract scientists and students from around the world. With new knowledge and new perspectives, the University contributes to a better future.

Centre for Sea and Society at the University of Gothenburg announces three doctoral positions within the

Graduate School in Transdisciplinary Ocean Sciences

The Graduate School in Transdisciplinary Ocean Sciences is run by the cross-faculty Centre for Sea and Society. The centre aims at initiating and developing transdisciplinary ocean related education and research and hosts a number of projects and collaborating networks. The graduate school is now announcing three doctoral positions within the joint research project “Coastal fisheries in Sweden: from a changing sea to a robust science-policy environment”. The aim of the project is to harness knowledge to determine the cumulative effects of socio-environmental factors hampering the sustainability of coastal fisheries in Sweden. The project will apply inter and transdisciplinary approaches to identify whether and how coastal fisheries can develop into a viable and environmentally responsible industry, and investigate mechanisms by which research findings are summarised for fisheries policy-making. A transformation towards a sustainable coastal fishery is the focus of this project, in particular for uplifting rural coastal economies, meeting an increasing demand for locally produced seafood without jeopardizing the health of the planet, and understanding the science-policy nexus for natural resources management.

The three doctoral candidates will be hosted by the School of Global Studies, the Department of Earth Sciences and the Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science respectively. Each doctoral candidate will be affiliated to a “home department” (the department of the main supervisor) and be examined in accordance with the rules of that department. Doctoral candidates and their supervisors are expected to take part in seminars, workshops and similar activities arranged by the graduate school. Doctoral candidates and supervisors within each joint research project should collaborate to the extent that at least one multidisciplinary (co-authored) manuscript or conference paper is produced.

A description of the project’s doctoral position in Environmental Social Sciences hosted by the School of Global Studies follows. All applications should be sent through the University of Gothenburg’s application system.

Doctoral position in Environmental Social Science with a focus on coastal fisheries and tourism in Sweden

Environmental social science (ESS) at the School of Global Studies is a new and growing interdisciplinary subject that explores questions related to environmental change and unsustainable natural resource use in the context of both the global north and south. The overarching aim of ESS is to contribute to an increased understanding of complex environmental problems through the application and development of social science theory and methodology. Currently, the 20 researchers within the ESS group are addressing a broad range of themes, including environmental governance and policy, sustainable development, green growth, environmental justice, traditional ecological knowledge, environmental education, political ecology, environmental conflicts, and marine resource use.

Job assignments

The purpose of undertaking doctoral studies is to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for conducting independent research within the field of Environmental social science. The doctoral studies comprise one year of coursework and three years of research, culminating in the production of a dissertation that makes a significant and original contribution to the research field. The knowledge and skills that are acquired during the studies should be applicable to postdoctoral research or other professional work. The position is salaried and covers four years (full-time equivalent, fixed term), beginning in August 2021. The doctoral candidate may undertake departmental duties corresponding to up to 20% of a full-time position, in which case the duration of the appointment will be extended accordingly. There are no tuition fees. The candidate is expected to work in Gothenburg in the project team, and start with both course work and project related work during the first year of the appointment.

The doctoral student is expected to carry out research on the following project related theme:
Coastal fisheries and the Blue Growth strategy: the case of coastal and maritime tourism.

The Blue Growth strategy is widely adopted in the European Union (EU) and offers a great potential for employment and economic growth through ocean innovation, investment and research. Marine and coastal areas, however, are highly contested spaces, ridden by users’ conflicts and territorial disputes. Despite their potential contribution to sustainable local food production, tourism development, employment, lively and rich in culture rural spaces, coastal fisheries is not included among the target sectors of Blue Growth, while coastal and maritime tourism is regarded as essential for fostering a smart, sustainable and inclusive Europe. In this context, an important question for this PhD candidate is whether Blue Growth can reduce inequalities in the distribution and use of ocean resources or whether it will exacerbate the marginalization of coastal fishers. The PhD project will address questions such as: what are the impacts of Blue Growth to coastal fisheries and tourism? how can Blue Growth support fisheries, employment, tourism and local development and at the same time contribute to an equitable use of ocean resources?

We are looking for a candidate with a background in sociology, human ecology, human geography, anthropology or related social science disciplines and with experience in management or use of coastal natural resources, preferably fisheries. Knowledge and/or experience of collaborative participatory approaches to sustainable resource management and qualitative research methods is an asset. An enthusiasm to work as part of a collaborative team and an ambition to engage in multi- and transdisciplinary participatory forms of research and learning are essential. The candidate must be fluent in Swedish (or another Scandinavian language). Very good English language proficiency both orally and in writing is also a requisite.


Applicants must fulfil both general and specific entry requirements. An applicant meets the general entry requirements for third-cycle studies if they have obtained (Higher Education Ordinance Ch.7, Sec.39):

1. a degree at the second-cycle level,
2. at least 240 Higher Education Credits, of which at least 60 must be at the second cycle level, or
3. largely equivalent knowledge in other ways in Sweden or abroad.

An applicant meets the specific entry requirements for third-cycle studies if they have obtained (Higher Education Ordinance Ch.7, Sec.40) a degree at the second cycle level in a social and behavioural science discipline, including 30 higher education credits at either first- or second-cycle level that have an environment focus and a thesis at the second cycle with an environment focus. Applicants who have acquired largely equivalent knowledge in Sweden or abroad will also be considered to meet the specific entry requirements.


Applicants will be assessed based on the general and specific eligibility requirements and their estimated ability to benefit from the study programme. The assessment places particular focus on:

1. A CV summarizing relevant work experience, language proficiency, other skills and publication list if applicable.
2. A brief research proposal (max 1,200 words plus reference list) that formulates some preliminary ideas of how the applicant envisions that his/her PhD work will contribute to the research project in question.
3. A Master's thesis, academic papers and/or other relevant works. These will be used to assess the applicant’s ability to formulate and delimit research tasks and analyse and present research results.
4. Grades achieved in undergraduate and postgraduate studies.
5. Interviews will be held with shortlisted applicants.

The applicant’s skills, experience, creativity and excellence in research are also assessed on the basis of the points above.

Decisions on the shortlist will be made latest in mid-May and final decisions in June 2021.

The Head of Department is in charge of all admission decisions at the third-cycle level. This decision cannot be appealed.

For further information regarding the position

Please contact Milena Arias Schreiber, researcher in Environmental Social Sciences at the Scool of Global Studies, or Eva Maria Jernsand, researcher at the School of Business, Economics and Law (Handelshögskolan),

More information can also be found via the following link:
Coastal fisheries in Sweden: from a changing sea to a robust science-policy environment (SEA2POL+)


Union representatives at the University of Gothenburg:

Information for International Applicants

Choosing a career in a foreign country is a big step. Thus, to give you a general idea of what we and Gothenburg have to offer in terms of benefits and life in general for you and your family/spouse/partner please visit:

How to apply

In order to apply for a position at the University of Gothenburg, you have to register an account in our online recruitment system.

The application must include:

• a full CV
• a brief research proposal (maximum 1,200 words plus reference list)
• a Master’s thesis and/or any other relevant papers or publications. Submitted texts must be written in Swedish or English. Any translated versions must be accompanied by the original text
• copies of diplomas and/or academic transcripts verifying that the general and specific entry requirements stated above have been met
• evidence of other relevant qualifications

Please submit your application in English.

No reference letters will be considered.

It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that the application is complete. No changes or additions are allowed after the final submission date.

For questions regarding the handling of the application portal or technical problems, please contact

Closing date: 30 april 2021

The University of Gothenburg promotes equal opportunities, equality and diversity.

Salaries for doctoral students are regulated in a local agreement at the University.

Applications will be destroyed or returned (upon request) two years after the decision of employment has become final. Applications from the employed and from those who appeal the decision will not be returned.

In connection to this recruitment, we have already decided which recruitment channels we should use. We therefore decline further contact with vendors, recruitment and staffing companies.


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