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Website Ghent University

Job description
The Sustainable Systems Engineering (STEN) group of Ghent University welcomes a candidate for a full time PhD position on Circular Design and Business Models for Sustainability of the next generation heat pumps. The PhD student will be appointed in the framework of the Ghent University – Daikin partnership (

There is an important knowledge gap concerning the circular design and circular business models for heat pumps (HP). Optimal Circular Economy (CE) strategies should be identified, and linked with various R strategies. A second challenge is the choice of sustainability indicators to be chosen in supporting the selection of the CE strategy. A third challenge is that the opportunities for certain circular economy strategies may be at the business implementation level, i.e. beyond an intervention at one single life cycle stage within one company but may require involvement of other actors along the value chain, e.g. waste processors.

The goal of this project is to build a decision support guidance on circular design and business models for sustainability of the next generation heat pumps. Understanding the potential sustainability impacts and indicators relevant to measure the impacts from a product and company perspective are essential, e.g. indicators related to environmental, economic and social impacts, but potentially also indicators related to the circularity and criticality of the involved materials. Innovative scenarios for new circular business strategies have to be identified that have the potential to achieve the intended circularity and sustainability strategy and targets.

In this PhD position, you will work in close collaboration with other STEN colleagues at Ghent University and with experts at Daikin. Part of the work can be done via teleworking.

The scientific findings should lead to publications in international peer reviewed journals and should be presented at international conferences.

The start date is planned at October 1st 2024. The PhD duration is four years.

Job Profile

Candidates are expected to have a background in engineering and/or an affinity for sustainability analysis, sustainable use of materials and circular economy. We are looking for candidates with a critical and analytical attitude and a sense of initiative.

Other profile requirements:

  • You hold a master’s degree in environmental engineering, bioscience engineering, chemical engineering, materials engineering, environmental technology, sustainable energy, product design or equivalent.
  • The degree requirements must be met at the start of the appointment;
  • You have an interest in scientific research;
  • You have a solid understanding of sustainability principles, circular economy concepts, and their application in product design.
  • You have enthusiasm for environmental stewardship and a passion for creating sustainable solutions.
  • You have a strong interest in energy technologies and want to actively contribute to achieving the goals of the Green Deal.
  • You are a person with a strong technical interest, willing to lead and follow-up a project.
  • You can operate both independently and in a multidisciplinary team;
  • You have organisational/managerial skills and are highly motivated;
  • You have good writing and presentation skills;
  • You master the English language, written and orally, in an academic context;
  • Having experience with quantitative and/or qualitative research is essential;

Additional requirements:

  • You have experience with LCA software such as SimaPro, openLCA, GaBi, etc.;
  • You have experience with circularity indicators;
  • You have experience with the development and comparison of different value chain scenarios;

How to apply

Apply by sending ultimately June 17th an email to [email protected] as follows:

  • Mention in subject line: “Daikin – Application name surname”.
  • Attach into 1 single pdf file:
    • Item 1: Cover letter
    • Item 2: CV
    • Item 3: contact details of 1 or 2 reference persons.
    • Item 4:  ‘Diploma’ items, e.g. an overview of your study results, transcript of the required degree (if already in your possession). If you have a foreign diploma in a language other than our national languages (Dutch, French or German) or English, please add a translation in one of the mentioned languages.

Note that the maximum file size is 10 MB.

Selection procedure:

1. Preselection based on the provided documents.

2. Selection based on interviews.

As Ghent University maintains an equal opportunities and diversity policy, everyone is encouraged to apply for this position.

For more information about the content of this position, please contact [email protected].

To apply for this job please visit

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