PhD Candidate in Environmental Change with Orientation towards Security Studies

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)
Linköping, Sweden
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
University/Academia/Research/Think tank
Experience Level: 
Not Specified
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


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Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), in collaboration with Tema Environmental Change at Linköping University, is looking for a talented and motivated PhD candidate to work within the research programme ‘Sustainable Development in a Changing Geo-Political Era: Challenges and Opportunities for Sweden’ (MISTRA Geopolitics), funded by the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research (MISTRA). The ideal candidate has a master’s degree in political science, international relations, anthropology, geography or sustainable studies and a demonstrated interest in critical environmental policy and security studies. The PhD candidate will be employed at SIPRI, an independent international institute whose core mission is to undertake research and activities on security, conflict and peace, and will be enrolled in the PhD programme at Tema Environmental Change at Linköping University. The position is funded for four years.

Project description

The research programme MISTRA Geopolitics aims to critically examine how the dynamics of geopolitics, human security and global environmental change interrelate in an epoch referred to as the ‘Anthropocene’. The programme deals with how our society needs to be reformed in order to address increasing resource scarcity while securing positive development and political stability in the 21st century. The programme consists of six core Swedish partners: Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), and the universities of Linköping, Lund, Stockholm and Uppsala. In total, eight PhD candidates will be enrolled in MISTRA Geopolitics. These candidates are expected to participate in the MISTRA Geopolitics graduate school, which will provide courses and seminars.

The PhD candidate employed at SIPRI, in collaboration with Tema Environmental Change at Linköping University, will conduct his/her work within the work package ‘Geopolitics and Security in the Anthropocene’. This work package investigates how the political drivers, risks and security implications of global environmental change are construed in academic and policy discourse, and what the implications are for our understanding of security and geopolitics. It is envisioned that the candidate will analyse how state, interstate and non-state actors and institutions understand and represent contemporary environmental and sustainability challenges, and what the implications are for these actors’ interests, objectives and long-term political strategies. A core interest is how these actors interpret the geopolitical dynamics of the Anthropocene and to what extent this ‘new era’ is shaping their policy thinking, discourses and practices. The actors and institutions studied will be selected to cover multiple geographies, policy contexts and thematic areas. Methodologically, the candidate is expected work with different forms of document analysis, interviews and observation studies. Three longer field trips (2–3 months each) are expected to take place, to conduct an ethnographic form of analysis of actors and institutions.

The PhD position

It is envisioned that the PhD candidate has a master’s degree in political science, international relations, anthropology, geography or sustainable studies or equivalent. It is important that the candidate has a demonstrated interest in critical environmental policy and security studies, and is familiar with qualitative methods such as interviews and participant observation studies. Analytical capacity and curiosity, as well as excellent writing skills, are core qualities for the candidate.

Main tasks and responsibilities

The PhD candidate will be responsible for:

  • Conducting, writing and disseminating high-quality research;
  • Communicating research findings through a compilation thesis including at least four journal articles and a comprehensive summary;
  • Attending the PhD programme at Tema Environmental Change and participating in the MISTRA Geopolitics graduate school; and
  • Networking with the MISTRA Geopolitics programme consortium, the scientific community through conferences, and policy makers and media when appropriate.


At a minimum, the PhD candidate should have the following experience:

  • A university degree at master’s level in political science, international relations, anthropology, geography or sustainable studies or equivalent (see specific criteria below);
  • A demonstrated interest in critical environmental policy and security studies;
  • Strong analytical skills, curiosity and openness;
  • The ability to collaborate as well as to work individually; and
  • Excellent oral and written English.

The following qualifications are of merit:

  • Experience in interview and participant observation studies;
  • Experience in critical and interpretative research traditions; and
  • Experience in analysing or working in international organizations.


The position is based in Stockholm, but will involve regular travel to Linköping for compulsory PhD courses and seminars at Tema Environmental Change. As part of the PhD project, the candidate will also conduct three longer international field trips (2–3 months each). In addition, travel is also expected for the purposes of short-term field research, and presenting and disseminating research findings at international conferences and seminars.

The PhD programme

Being employed at SIPRI as a PhD candidate presupposes that the candidate has the required qualifications to be enrolled as a PhD candidate at Tema Environmental Change at Linköping University. The candidate is expected to follow the PhD programme at Tema Environmental Change, involving courses and seminars and including a public defence of his/her PhD thesis after four years of full-time work.

Through the PhD programme the candidate will explore the causes, interpretation and governance of environmental problems. The programme is problem-oriented and strives for societal relevance. Accordingly, it takes an interdisciplinary approach that encompasses the physical environment as well as the social and political dilemmas that arise from natural resource use and governance. The programme also explores the multiple geographical and scalar links between environmental problems and other societal challenges. The aim of the programme is to prepare the candidate to make independent contributions to research and development. There are two main blocks in the programme: coursework (60 credits) and work in connection with the PhD dissertation (180 credits). For further information, please see the Tema Environmental Change webpage.


To be eligible for the position as a PhD candidate, the applicant must have an advanced degree, have completed a minimum of 240 ECTS, of which at least 60 ECTS are on the advance level. Furthermore, to be admitted to graduate studies in Environmental Science, the requirement is that at least 90 of the credits are in a subject matter related to that area (in this case e.g. political science, international relations, anthropology, geography, sustainable studies or equivalent).

Contract period

Starting on 21 August 2017, the appointment will be for four years. The post is full-time and the successful applicant will be expected to reside in Stockholm. PhD candidates should primarily devote themselves to their own education, but may engage in teaching, research and administration corresponding to a maximum of 20% of a full-time position. If the PhD candidate conducts such work, the time for the PhD programme is prolonged accordingly to compensate.

How to apply

Having reviewed the advertisement, candidates should submit:

  • A letter of intent specifying why you are applying for this position (1 page);
  • A CV listing degrees and other completed coursework, work experience, language skills and contact details for 2 referees;
  • Copies of diplomas for your master’s and bachelor’s degrees;
  • A research proposal (maximum 3 pages) describing:
    • Your project idea, including tentative research questions, methods and theoretical entry points;
    • How this idea speaks to MISTRA Geopolitics; and
    • What makes you suitable for the project in question.
  • Two examples of your writing (e.g. your master’s thesis and one additional publication or text).

The application should be submitted to: Please state ‘PhD candidate’ in the subject line of your email application. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

The closing date for applications is 16 May 2017. Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Interviews are expected to be held in early June.

For enquiries regarding the position, please contact:

Dr Malin Mobjörk, Manager of Climate Change and Risk, SIPRI, and co-supervisor,


Dr Eva Lövbrand, Associate Professor Tema Environmental Change, Linköping University, and main supervisor,

SIPRI is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture.

The trade union contact persons at SIPRI are Pieter Wezeman for ST ( and Annika Salisbury for Saco-S (