One or more PhD Stipends in Sustainable Blockchain Technologies (20-17109)

At the Technical Faculty of IT and Design, Department of Planning, one or more PhD stipends are available within the general study programme "Planning and Development". The stipend(s) are open for appointment from 1 August 2018 or soon hereafter. The Department of Planning conducts research and teaching on development and planning in a broad sense, including social science aspects as well as more technical aspects of development, and with a focus on environmental, international as well as administrative dimensions.

Job description

The PhD Projects are funded by a Project I grant by the Danish Council for Independent Research – Social Sciences.

The projects will investigate what environmental and social impacts the Blockchain technology will have as alternative or substitute of currently available technologies. The Blockchain technology has been hyped substantially in media during the recent years, both in connection to its use in Bitcoin, but also as a technology in its own right. Blockchain technologies should secure free transactions of products based on the collaborative effort of a network of users and bring radical societal changes. Financial institutions, IT giants, and start-ups are dedicating much attention and resources to the development of Blockchain-based applications. However, the technology is not without problems. Bitcoin mining has raised concern regarding the environmental impacts of the high electricity consumption, and in general distributed ledgers are redundant systems where multiple parties need to be involved simultaneously and inefficiently. So what are the trade-offs of introducing Blockchain technologies? If Blockchain technologies bring environmental and social improvements, how can these be quantified? Should we move towards a Blockchain-based financial system? Can Blockchain applications for supply chain management substitute current environmental assessment and certification tools? Solid scientific studies to answer these questions are currently lacking and, due to the rapid widespread of the technology, are urgently needed in order to anticipate potential unwanted environmental and social consequences.


The successful candidate(s) will work on:

  • the mapping of existing and prospective applications of the Blockchain technology and their prospective technology assessment
  • the environmental assessment of mainstream financial applications of Blockchain technologies (e.g. Bitcoin) compared to existing ones.
  • the integration of Blockchain-based solutions for transparent and accountable supply chain management with tools for product environmental assessment, certification, and labelling.


This will require a mixed-methods inquiry approach and performing several different tasks such as data mining and analysis, stakeholders’ involvement and surveying, scenario analysis, Life Cycle Assessment modelling, etc. The candidate is also expected to disseminate project results via publications in international scientific journals and participation to scientific conferences.


The ideal candidate(s) for this highly interdisciplinary project has excellent academic qualifications, a strong self-motivation, and a true interest in environmental issues related to emerging technologies. Preferably, the candidate(s) should have a sustainability science background, although other backgrounds are acceptable as well. Advanced analytical skills, quantitative skills, and system-thinking skills are key requisites for the position, as well as the capacity to plan and work autonomously. Documented experience with any Blockchain-based application, with Life Cycle Assessment, and with programming for data science (R, python) will be considered a strong plus. Proficiency in English is a requirement, knowledge of Danish is an advantage.


The PhD student(s) will join the LCA group at the Danish Centre For Environmental Assessment – DCEA at the Department of Planning, Aalborg University. DCEA is an interdisciplinary and gender-balanced research group working with environmental assessment, its researchers have a variety of backgrounds ranging from environmental science and engineering to economics and sociology, and are skilled in qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research, from modelling and data analysis to stakeholder involvement and surveying.


To apply, please send the following documents (in English, pdf format):

- Motivation letter (1 page) outlining your qualifications and motivation to conduct this project

- Project plan (2 pages) addressing your understanding of the problem, the expected challenges and your ideas to overcome them

- CV including a list of scientific outputs (e.g. thesis, projects, papers, etc.) and contact info

for two academic references

- Copy of MSc diploma

- Copy of Master thesis (in any language)

- List of exams with ECTS and grades

- Recommendation letter (1 page)

A personality test may be applied in the selection process.

You may obtain further information from the appointed supervisor Associate Professor Massimo Pizzol, +45 9940 8369, concerning the scientific aspects of the stipends.

PhD stipends are allocated to individuals who hold a Masters degree. PhD stipends are normally for a period of 3 years. It is a prerequisite for allocation of the stipend that the candidate will be enrolled as a PhD student at the Doctoral School of the Technical Faculty of IT and Design, in accordance with the regulations of Ministerial Order No. 1039 of August 27, 2013 on the PhD Programme at the Universities and Certain Higher Artistic Educational Institutions. According to the Ministerial Order, the progress of the PhD student shall be assessed every six months. It is a prerequisite for continuation of salary payment that the previous progress is approved at the time of the evaluation.

The qualifications of the applicants will be assessed by an assessment committee. On the basis of the recommendation of the assessment committee, the Dean of the Technical Faculty of IT and Design will make a decision for allocating the stipend.

For further information about stipends and salary as well as practical issues concerning the application procedure contact by Bettina Wedde, or phone (+45) 9940 9909.

The faculty have a research school, The Technical Doctoral School of IT and Design: and a PhD association and network for PhD students at AAU

The application is only to be submitted online by using the "Apply online" button below.



Vacancy number



Thu Mar 01 00:00:00 CET 2018

Apply online

Online ansøgning - gode råd

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