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Two PhD student positions in Food Supply Systems, School of Engineering and Natural Sciences, Iceland


The Faculty of Industrial Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science at the School of Engineering and Natural Sciences at the University of Iceland, seeks applicants to fill two PhD positions in the research domain of Food Supply Chain Systems with a focus on Supply Chain Management and System Dynamics and application of research methodology to unravel the link between the complexity and diversity of the food systems and their efficiency, resilience and sustainability.

The PhD students will be a part of the European Union H2020 funded project ‘Understanding food value chain and network dynamics’, (VALUMICS - SFS-33-2016). VALUMICS is coordinated by University of Iceland and is carried out in collaboration with a consortium of leading universities, research institutes and stakeholders in Europe with trans-disciplinary competences in value chain analysis required to model and understand the dynamics within the diverse food supply systems. The overall objective of the VALUMICS project is to provide decision makers throughout food value chains with a comprehensive suite of approaches and tools that will enable them to evaluate the impact of strategic and operational policies to enhance the resilience, integrity and sustainability of food value chains for European countries.  The project will last until 1st of May 2021.     

The VALUMICS project, will apply causality-based system dynamics framework as a methodological approach, which will be implemented as a key driver of the project work through joint workshops with partners and stakeholders in order to construct a shared vision of the overall system, goals, and understanding. The PhD positions will involve work with the project partners to deliver a successful outcome for the project's workshops including evaluation and interpretation of the results, writing reports and scientific publications.

Field of work

PhD position 1 – Integrated dynamic modelling of the food supply system, using system dynamic methods.

The PhD student will be involved in food system analysis, the resilience and the impact of food chains on food security, and economic development to obtain predictive power beyond statistical models. The work involves doing systems analysis for problem identification and definition, conceptualization of complex systems, assisting in group modelling workshops, and modelling of the systems analysed using system dynamics simulation tools and applying systems analysis of the economic, strategic, contractual and regulatory incentives that drive the food value networks’ structure and operational dynamics.

PhD position 2 – Supply Chain Management including process-oriented modelling and assessment of food supply chain networks and logistics.

The PhD student will be involved in analysis of upstream and downstream products- and information flows with focus on interactions among and between different food value chains and networks and their members. Modelling of different transport modes in the selected food supply chains will be utilised, with data input from own and others’ data collections with a goal of capturing the economic, environmental and social trade-offs that occur in food supply chains. Quantitative techniques, including transportation modelling and agent-based simulation, will be used on selected food system value chains. An agile approach to software development will be used, allowing incorporation of requirements and specifications from other project parts as soon as they become available.

Qualification requirements

Requirement for position 1 is a master’s degree in industrial engineering or a comparable competence, with good ability to develop operational and quantitative models. Special competence in system dynamics and process-oriented industrial modelling is appreciated.

Requirement for position 2 is a master’s degree in industrial engineering or a comparable competence with focus on industrial logistics, supply or value chain management or similar competences. Competence in process-oriented industrial modelling and system dynamics is appreciated.

The two PhD positions will be part of the VALUMICS research team at the Department of Industrial Engineering.As PhD students the major responsibility is to pursue doctoral studies in relation to specific research aim aligned to the VALUMICS project and formulated with the main supervisors. The research conducted is defined by the VALUMICS research proposal and it is a requirement that the focus of the PhDs stays on that track without deviation. This will involve travel to partners and will require practical skills to conduct systems analysis of complex systems and system conceptualization, to be able conduct group modelling workshops with researchers and stakeholders with the aim to develop quantitative models. The project requires ability to work in teams with people from different countries, good social competence, as well as ability to individually digest and synthesize the information and knowledge gained. During the project, results will continuously be presented at seminars and international conferences. Written and oral communication in English is crucial

Desirable assets are:

  • The ability to work both independently and as part of a team.
  • Programming skills and experiences with the system dynamics modelling environment STELLA and some knowledge of a programming language (Fortran, C, Java or Python)
  • Strong communication skills in English (written and oral).
  • Creativity and problem solving skills.
  • Optimism and impetus

How to apply

VALUMICS project:

The successful applicant is expected to start the appointment before the end of July 2017.

Applications shall include i) A letter of motivation ii) CV (work experience, programming skills, publication list (if relevant) iii) Certificates attesting to education (BS and MS) iv) one page about the interest in the project v) Contact information about three references.

All applications will be acknowledged and applicants will be informed of the appointment when a decision has been taken.

The salary for the position will be in accordance with the current collective wage and salary agreement between the Union of University Teachers and the Minister of Finance.

Appointments to positions at the University of Iceland are made in consideration of the Equal Rights Policy of the University of Iceland.

At the School of Engineering and Natural Sciences 360 people are employed in research and teaching. The School offers an international environment, with the number of international employees and students increasing each year. Currently 25% of all employees and postgraduate students are international. There are around 2300 students at the School, divided into six faculties, thereof are 350 graduate students and 150 doctoral students. Research institutes at the school are the Science Institute that divides into the Institute of Earth Sciences and Institute of Physical Sciences, Institute of Life and Environmental Sciences, Engineering Research Institute and the Institute for Sustainability Studies which is an interdisciplinary institute and belongs to the five schools of the University of Iceland.

The University of Iceland is the largest teaching, research and science institute in Iceland and is ranked among the top 250 universities in the world by Times Higher Education.

Information on the University of Iceland here and Relocation Service here.

Further Information

Application Deadline : 15 May 2017

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Posted on 2017-04-15 03:56:29

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