PhD Research Project “The assessment of the product lifetime in resource management”

The Institute of Environmental Science and Technology at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) is offering a Ph.D. scholarship to candidates who would like to pursue their Ph.D. studies at the Institute within the Strategic Research Programme ICTA-UAB, Units of Excellence ‘María de Maeztu’ Programme (MDM-2015-0552). The position is related to the call “Ayudas para contratos predoctorales para la formación de doctores 2018” of the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities (MICINN). Deadline for pre-applications is 10th September 2018, please write to for further information or to apply for the position.

Within the current call, successful candidate will be hosted at UAB Campus (Barcelona, Spain) and will develop their Ph.D. training in the project ‘‘The assessment of the product lifetime in resource management’’ (supervised by Prof.Xavier Gabarrell Durany, Dr. Beatríz Rodriguez-Labajos, and Dr. Laura Talens Peiró).


About the project:

How many years a tablet, a laptop, a washing machine, and a television last? Understanding the concept of the product lifetime and investigating methods to estimate them at different scales is crucial to advance towards more sustainable household electrical and electronic equipment. In the context of the EU circular economy strategies, an estimate of the lifetime of products is two-fold: it helps forecast the amount of end-of-life products that will reach recycling and it also helps quantify the amount of materials that can be potentially recovered. In addition, there are implications of the electronic product lifetime in terms on access to raw material resources, and exposure to socioenvironmental and economics risks of the resulting waste. Yet these topics have not received the same amount of attention than industrial solutions. This PhD thesis will fill this gap, by providing a more complete picture about how the product lifetime is linked to socio-economic factors, and substantiating it with an empirical assessment. To this end, methods for measuring product lifetimes will be combined with innovative approaches towards sustainable consumption, such as ‘the right to repair’, product guarantees, and ownership versus collaborative purchasing, among others.

Contract terms are detailed in the Call for “contratos predoctorales 2018”. Here are the main features for the previous call (note that quantities may slightly change):

  • This is a 4 year fellowship with an annual evaluation. The gross salary will be approximately 16.422€ (excluding social security). In the case the Ph.D. is completed and defended in 3 years, the fellowship will be renewed to a postdoctoral fellowship and the gross salary will be of 19.000€ (excluding social security).
  • The programme also includes a travel package per fellow to undertake research visits to other research centers during the duration of the fellowship.

Applicants should meet the requirements for PhD call “contratos predoctorales 2018” by the MICINN. As the call has not been published yet (expected month: September-October 2018), as basis you may read the call from the previous year.


At the time of submission the candidate:

  1. Should have not received funding from the Spanish Programme for Research with the aim to pursue his/her Ph.D. studies. Should be holder of a degree which would formally entitle him/her to embark on a doctorate for the academic course 2017-2018 (MSc Degree). It is preferable to have a master’s degree from industrial ecology, LCA, political ecology, ecological economics, environmental studies, environmental engineering, development studies or chemical engineering.
  2. Should have not been granted any other Ph.D. scholarship with a duration of 12 months or more, and should not have a Ph.D.
  3. Should be in the position to be legally accepted in the UAB Ph.D. Programme “Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Technology”:
  4. Knowledge of English is required, additional languages would be an asset.



The selected student would register in the Ph.D. program of Environmental Sciences and Technology Institute at UAB and be ready to start the fellowship next Autumn 2018 (November-December). She/he will be responsible for collecting data for the project and preparing it for analysis. Selected candidate will fully participate in the activities organized in the framework of María de Maeztu Research Programme. Candidate will present intermediate research results at  ICTA-UAB seminars/workshops and at international conferences.

The deadline for the application is 10th September 2018. There will be a preselection of candidates, including an interview phase.

This is an internal pre-selection of the best candidates. Then, the pre-selected students should be ready to apply in September-October 2018 through the MICINN on-line platform as soon as the call opens. The final evaluation will be done by the MICINN.


About ICTA-UAB María de Maeztu Unit of Excellence:

ICTA-UAB is implementing a Strategic Research Programme intended to consolidate its scientific capabilities, contribute to the leadership of Spanish research and act as an international pole of attraction for talent. The plan addresses major global environmental and sustainability challenges related to anthropogenic climate change, focusing on establishing the current state of knowledge on climate change and its socio-economic impacts, and on putting forward transformative solutions at the local and regional levels.