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PhD fellowship "la Caixa INPHINIT" in integrated climate modelling for instrument comparison and synergy


Research Field
Natural sciences
Funding Type
Career Stage
European Research Programme
Not funded by an EU programme




Group Leader: 

Prof. Jeroen van den Bergh

Research Project / Research Group Description

There is currently fierce debate on how climate policy should be designed. Disagreement is reflected by countries having distinct instrument packages in place. It is difficult to judge which of these perform better as their stringency is still weak. As a result, debate is dominated by ideology rather than sound scientific information. The proposed research aims to contribute to a more productive debate. To this end, it develops an integrated model for systematically comparing instruments against a set of key criteria, and assessing positive and negative synergies among particular instrument combinations. The findings of both steps are then used to model effective policy packages that perform well on all criteria. As a neglected criteria the project will consider the international dimension, i.e. if instruments can be easily harmonized among countries to reduce free-riding and competitiveness concerns. In addition, a questionnaire survey will be undertaken among social and policy scientists, natural climate scientists, and policy-makers to assess diversity of opinions and how these relate to disciplinary backgrounds and other respondent characteristics. In addition, results will be compared with received scientific insights. The research will be part of the research group directed by ICREA professor Jeroen van den Bergh. It uses various methods to study interactions between the climate and society, such as integrated modelling and assessment, evolutionary and agent-based modelling, experimental techniques, questionnaire surveys and statistical analysis. The group is supported by a prestigious ERC grant. Prof. van den Bergh (background in operations research & econometrics) has extensive supervision experience as reflected by over 30 PhD students graduated under his supervision, is among the most cited environmental scientists in Europe and was awarded various academic prizes.

Job position description

The researcher will work on a PhD thesis about integrated modelling and evaluation of climate policy instruments. S/he will be intensively supervised, and form part of a team consisting of 4 seniors and 6 junior researchers, all of whom work on certain aspects of climate policy. Hence s/he will be doing research in a setting with many opportunities for collaboration and mutual learning. To achieve its goals, the project will undertake the following steps: (1) survey the relevant literature on performance and synergy of instruments, (2) develop a set of performance criteria, (3) undertake a questionnaire survey, (4) design a general integrated model for instrument comparison and analysis of positive/negative synergies, and (6) on the basis of the results of the foregoing steps design fitting policy mixes. This is intended to lead to several articles in reputed international academic journals, which together will be defended as a PhD thesis. The research will further be presented in international conferences and workshops. Funding for relevant data, surveys and travel is available. Suitable candidates have completed university studies at bachelor and master levels (300 ECTS credits). They ideally have a background in environmental sciences, applied mathematics or economics. Other social, natural and engineering science backgrounds will also be considered, as long as candidates have good analytical skills and an interest in the use of quantitative methods. Candidates should have an outstanding level of communication and writing in English language.

What is funded

Salary is €34.800 gross, plus €3.564 per year for additional costs (conferences, courses, etc.). An additional prize of €7.500 is paid upon completion of the PhD.


3 years


The selection process is very competitive and candidates should have an excellent academic record.

The candidate will apply through “la Caixa” foundation. Deadline 4 February 2021 at 2 pm (Central European Time - CET).…


Eligible candidates must have resided or carried out their main activity in Spain for less than 12 months in the last 3 years, have a B2 English degree, and have a higher education degree that gives access to doctoral studies.


The Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA-UAB) of the Autonomous University of Barcelona is a research centre accredited with the Spanish Seal of Excellence María de Maeztu in 2020, the perfect place to carry out your PhD project through an INPhINIT Incoming fellowship.

For more information, please contact Ms Silvia Martínez (silvia.martinez.sinibaldi AT


Organisation name
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Organisation Country
More Information

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