Research Associate/Postdoctoral Researcher, Bioeconomic Modelling and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) National University of Ireland NUI Galway, School of Natural Sciences Ireland

Research Associate/Postdoctoral Researcher, Bioeconomic Modelling and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), School of Natural Sciences, NUI Galway


Applications are invited from suitably qualified candidates for a full-time, fixed term (three year) position as a Research Associate/Postdoctoral Researcher in the Plant & AgriBioSciences Centre, part of the Ryan Institute, at the National University of Ireland, Galway.


This position is funded by the Irish Environmental Protection Agency and is available from April 2019 to March 2022.


Scenarios Quantifying land Use & Emissions Transitions towards Equilibrium with Removals (SeQUEsTER) is funded by the Irish Environmental Protection Agency and Department for Agriculture, Food and Marine to explore scenarios towards “carbon neutrality” in the agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU) sector in Ireland. The SeQUEsTER project combines expertise in GHG accounting and life cycle assessment (LCA) (Dr David Styles, NUIG), bioeconomic modelling (Prof. Cathal O’Donohue, NUIG) and transdisciplinary research (Dr Mary Ryan, Teagasc). We will apply a transdisciplinary approach to co-develop with relevant stakeholders potential pathways towards carbon neutrality by 2050 for Ireland’s AFOLU sector. Through stakeholder workshops, close collaboration with GHG accounting experts, and exploration of system boundaries applied in GHG accounting, the project will provide a definition of “carbon neutrality” and produce a road map towards this “horizon target”. Bioeconomic and land use models will be adapted with algorithms for GHG accounting and ammonia emissions used for national inventory reporting, drawing on experience of recent marginal abatement cost curve work undertaken by Teagasc. These models will be expanded, taking an LCA approach to account for, inter alia, possible international carbon leakage and cross-sectoral GHG offsetting via trade in agricultural commodities (e.g. fertilisers and animal feeds) and substitution of fossil fuels with biomass from Ireland’s AFOLU sector. The project will provide a uniquely comprehensive evidence base for stakeholders to guide the AFOLU sector towards a sustainable, carbon neutral future.


We are seeking a highly motivated researcher to join the experienced multi-disciplinary team working on this exciting project to deliver scientific excellence and policy impact.     


Job Description:

The successful candidate will contribute to the following objectives:

  • •               Compile a review of current evidence on GHG mitigation in AFOLU 

  • •               Derive operational definitions of the “carbon neutrality” concept in an AFOLU context

  • •               Initiate and maintain transdisciplinary cooperation among stakeholders

  • •               Develop indicative scenarios of (pathways towards) AFOLU carbon neutrality

  • •               Critically evaluate current models used to project AFOLU emissions and sinks

  • •               Develop existing bioeconomic models into an AFOLU bioeconomic modelling architecture

  • •               Apply AFOLU bioeconomic models to generate information on environmental (GHG and ammonia emissions, nutrient losses) and economic outcomes from business and usual and indicative carbon neutrality scenarios

  • •               Apply consequential life cycle assessment to evaluate possible downstream (inter-sectoral) and international consequences of specific pathways to carbon neutrality




Specific duties will include:

  • Collection and meta-analysis of data necessary to undertake economic and environmental assessment of AFOLU in Ireland

  • Organisation and facilitation of stakeholder workshops to define and assess potential pathways towards carbon neutrality, and ongoing liaison with relevant stakeholders

  • Developing and applying bioeconomic models to assess baseline and carbon neutrality scenarios within the Irish AFOLU sector

  • Applying consequential life cycle assessment to quantify the wider environmental effects of carbon neutrality pathways, including assessment of food, fuel and fibre value chains and substituted value chains

  • Contributing to a vision for carbon neutrality in AFOLU

  • Preparing peer-reviewed publications and reports, delivering conference presentations and communicating results in other ways 


Qualifications/Skills required:


Essential Requirements:

  • Honours Degree in a relevant subject area (Agriculture, Land Use, Environment, Environmental Economics)

  • Have or be near to the completion of a PhD in a relevant subject (Agriculture, Land Use, Environment, Environmental Economics)

  • Knowledge of livestock farming and forestry systems

  • Excellent numerical and data analytical skills

  • Experience in modelling or life cycle assessment

  • Proven track record or evidence of potential to write scientific publications

    • Ability to code in “R”, Stata or similar programmes
    • Proven track record of conference presentations
      • Ability to prioritise work load and work to deadlines


Desirable Requirements: Experience applying statistical methods to models and large datasets

  • Experience applying consequential LCA

  • Experience in using Input-Output Modelling

  • Proven track record in writing scientific publications

  • Experience communicating with industry stakeholders and convening workshops

  • Knowledge of greenhouse gas and ammonia emission sources

  • Knowledge of nitrogen and phosphorus flows

  • Ability to work as part of a team

    • Proven project management skills
    • Strong verbal and written communication skills




Salary: €39,530 per annum (pt. 1 of the Postdoctoral Researcher/Research Associate Salary Scale)


Start date: Position is available from 1st May 2019


Continuing Professional Development/Training:

Researchers at NUI Galway are encouraged to avail of a range of training and development opportunities designed to support their personal career development plans.  



Further information on research and working at NUI Galway is available on Research at NUI Galway


For information on moving to Ireland please see


Informal enquiries concerning the post may be made to Dr David Styles:  




To Apply:

Applications to include a covering letter, CV,and the contact details of three referees should be sent, via e-mail (in word or PDF only) to David Styles:   

Please put reference number NUIG-038-19 in subject line of e-mail application.


Closing date for receipt of applications is 5.00 pm (Irish time) Friday 22nd March 2019.



All positions are recruited in line with Open, Transparent, Merit (OTM) and Competency based recruitment


National University of Ireland, Galway is an equal opportunities employer.

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