Postdoc position at the Autonomous University of Barcelona

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Postdoc position at the Autonomous University of Barcelona

Postby villamen » Fri Nov 11, 2016 2:05 pm

There are two positions open for a postdoc at the Autonomous University of Barcelona at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology. The second one offered (see below) is addressed to WRF-users:

Topic description
Optimizing and evaluating the urban biosphere in the context of Industrial Ecology

Urban areas are increasingly larger and more numerous. They use nearly 70% of energy and are responsible for 75% of world GHG emissions. Urban areas are strongly dependent on outside sources for food, water, and energy, making them vulnerable and responsible for high environmental impacts. These three resources are strongly interrelated. The production of energy requires large volumes of water while the supply of water depends on energy for treatment and distribution. Furthermore, the emerging biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel, generally regarded as ideal substitutes for the gasoline for the transportation industry, require large amounts of water for irrigation and production. This is further burdened by the need to reduce fossil fuel emissions to reduce carbon emissions. Food production relies on energy (particularly for transportation) and water, which depends on energy for its treatment and transportation. Clearly, there is a growing urgency to combine energy, water, food and environmental factors as synergetic research topics at the city level to support decision and policy design. The Sostenipra research group ( has dedicated its research efforts in promoting more sustainable urban areas by optimizing the use of resources at city level. Within the project Fertilecity ( funded by the Spanish Ministry of Environment (CTM2013-47067-C2-1-R), the group developed a state-of-the-art horticultural production roof top greenhouse (RTG) in a building, using multi-disciplinary tools such as life cycle assessment (LCA) and life cycle costing (LCC), to optimize energy, water and carbon via the symbiosis of the greenhouse and the building. The EU-funded project UrbanCO2Flux led by Sostenipra aims to use atmospheric models to quantify greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that result from the metabolism of resources at city level, and determine the contribution of the urban biosphere to the carbon budget.
The aim of the Urban Agriculture in the Industrial Ecology Framework project is to advance the ongoing research in the water-energy-food nexus carried out by Sostenipra. The overall objective is to learn how to design and manage cities or neighbourhoods in a more sustainable manner, addressing: 1) the challenge of food security and quality in cities through sustainable food production, and/or 2) quantifying GHG emissions at city level, and determining the contribution of sources (fossil fuels) and sinks (urban biosphere). The first topic will focus on buildings and the use of integrated RTGs, applying tools such as LCA, LCC, and Social LCA (SLCA). The goal is have a functional validation of greenhouse-building integration system which exchange flows of energy, water and CO2 to produce food at higher efficiency and with reduced inputs, lower environmental impacts and enhanced food quality. The second topic addresses the question of how efficient green space initiatives are in reducing GHG emissions at city level by understanding the impact of the urban biosphere on the net flux of CO2 from cities into the atmosphere.

Project supervisor & hosting group
Gara Villalba in the Department of Environmental, Biological and Chemical Engineering of UAB and researcher at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA). ICTA was accredited as ‘María de Maeztu’ Unit of Excellence 2015 (MDM-2015-0552) by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. The award is the highest institutional recognition of scientific research in Spain and confirms ICTA-UAB as a leading research institute focused on environmental science and global change. Her research group, Sostenipra, is one of the leader researcher groups in the world in the Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) field, based on the bibliometric analysis of LCA published in The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment April 2015; as well as in the Industrial Ecology field (Collaboration patterns in industrial ecology research: 2015 update, Jonathan S. Krones, on ISIE 2015, UK,). More recently and funded by Horizon 2020, Sostenipra aims to integrate atmospheric modelling for improving the understanding of the metabolism of cities. For more information on past and present projects related to the topics offered, please visit

Planned secondments
Secondments planning will be stablished according to the degree of development reached, for Fertilecity project, MinFuture, and Quantifying the impact of the urban biosphere on the net flux of CO2 from cities into the atmosphere project, when the candidate joined our research group. The relevant collaborations with external organizations are:
Newcastle University’s Sir Joseph Swan Centre for Energy Research (UK);
University of Toledo (USA); Western State Colorado University (USA);
Universidad Federal de Sao Carlos (Brazil); Universidad de Sao Paulo (Brazil);
INRA-Agroparistech (France).

Candidate’s profile
Applicants must have a Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences or Environmental Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Environmental Modelling, Industrial Ecology, and have advanced knowledge of, and experience in, at least one of the following areas: Industrial Ecology and/ or atmospheric modeling.
Specific abilities and skills : Atmospheric or chemical transport modelling such as WRF; Life Cycle Analysis; impact indicators; urban sustainability; CFD; LCA software; environmental databases.
The profile has to be multidisciplinary, proving that the chosen person can work on different disciplines and work teams; ability to work as an independent researcher and to participate in a research group in an international atmosphere; fluent English (speaking and writing); motivated, team-oriented, organised and capable of project management; ability to work as an independent researcher and to participate in a research group in an international environment; experience in the following areas is advantageous: SimaPro (advanced user) and Gabi -Step-(advanced user); MonteCarlo simulation; LCI database; Fortran, python, and graphical tools such as NCL or GRads; ArcGIS; Spanish (speaking and writing), and other languages; agronomy and fisheries.
The candidate is expected to effectively and actively contribute to UAB post graduate programs, by participating in specialized seminars, and supervision of master and PhD students, and Sostenipra’s research projects.

If you are an eligible candidate interested in applying, please do contact to get you in contact
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