Valuing ecosystem services and services to ecosystems from seaweed harvest and cultivation – ValueSea

Denmark.- Applications are invited for a PhD fellowship/scholarship at Graduate School of Science and Technology, Aarhus University, Denmark, within the Environmental Science programme. The position is available from 1 August 2017 or later.


Valuing ecosystem services and services to ecosystems from seaweed harvest and cultivation -ValueSea

Research area and project description:

Further development and expansion circular bioeconomy is a top priority for the future research and technology promotion in Europe, and a focus area for Aarhus University. The PhD position is part of the and MAB4 research project on sustainable development of aquaculture systems as provider of seaweed biomass for multiple biorefinery production lines into cosmetics, food ingredients, pig cattle and high value aquatic fish feed. Ecosystem services from the use of emissions as a resource for seaweed production, as well as sustainable harvest of natural seaweed stocks, ranging from climate buffer, water quality restoration and associated biodiversity to the value of the biomass as a source of raw material for feed, food and non-food high value biobased components and products.

An important aspect of the project is developing life cycle-based analysis to evaluate the environmental and economic costs and benefits of individual actors and complete industrial ecology system at different scales and of varying complexity (i.e. processing steps). Sustainability assessment of civil society seaweed gardens, business case for start-up seaweed farms and expansion of existing business including seaweed or seaweed extracts will be performed in close collaboration with companies, local authorities and stakeholders. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Societal Life Cycle Costing (S-LCC) will be combined to consider both economic and environmental impacts of seaweed harvest and cultivation at eco-industrial system level. The PhD study will be supported by input data produced within the research projects, MAB3 and MAB4.

In particular the study will involve the development of system diagrams including all actors of the biovalue chain and Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) databases for sub-systems and technologies; the input and output data representing energy, substance and mass flows for the whole production chain will be collected in collaboration with other project partners. A special focus will be dedicated to systems optimizing regarding ecosystem goods and services obtained from the use of seaweed as a source for biobased production. Sensitivity analysis according to seasonal variation in the biomass characteristics (biomolecular composition and chemical quality) and across species type will be one element of the systems optimization. Multiple value chains across sectors will be case studies for analyzing the consequences of transforming existing linear production systems into circular bioeconomy models of varying dimension and complexity.

Qualifications and specific competences:

The ideal applicant to the PhD positions must have a relevant Master’s degree in (for example) Environmental Science, Environmental Systems Science, Environmental Engineering, Environmental and Natural Resource Economics (or graduate in the very near future – documentation for final thesis and date of examination must be enclosed in the application) or equivalent.

Previous experience and/or documented knowledge in one or more of the following areas are required:

· Water/Bioresource/Waste/Environmental Management

· Biobased production systems

· Life Cycle Assessment methodologies, cradle to cradle principles, ecosystems services assessment

· Sustainability indicators and the assessment of aquacultural systems

Good knowledge of spoken and written English is required. The knowledge of another community language would be an advantage.

Place of Employment and Place of Work:
The place of employment is Aarhus University, and the place of work is Department of Environmental Science, Frederiksborgvej 399, 4000 Roskilde, Denmark.

Main supervisor will be Professor Marianne Thomsen, co-supervisor will be Senior Researcher Annette Bruhn.

Applicants seeking further information are invited to contact:

Professor Marianne Thomsen, tel.: (+45) 22292627, e-mail:

More information:

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