PhD Project in Computer Modelling of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Agriculture and Land Use Change

University of Sussex - Geography

Application deadline: September 15, 2017

Supervisor: Prof. Joseph Alcamo

Project Description

A high priority for global climate protection is reducing greenhouse emissions from agriculture and land use change. These now account for around one tenth to one-fifth of all global greenhouse gas emissions. Hence, it is crucial to understand how different forms of sustainable and unsustainable agriculture influence the rate of emissions, and what can be done to reduce these emission rates.

Computer models are indispensable for these studies because they make a link between agricultural processes and emission rates. While several models have been developed that link agriculture and greenhouse gases, an open and important research question is the uncertainty of these models. The objective of this PhD project will be to implement a greenhouse gas emissions model in an existing continental-scale land use model (LandSHIFT) and to investigate the uncertainties of the model. Identifying the main sources of uncertainties will accelerate the improvement of this class of models and make them more useful for identifying strategies for reducing emissions from agriculture and other land use.

For this PhD studentship Sussex University is looking for a Masters’ graduate in informatics, computer science, geostatistics, or other discipline concerned with computational science. A strong interest in applying computational science to critical environmental problems is required, but prior experience in computer modelling is desired but not required.

The PhD project will include the following main components:

  1. Survey of existing models for modelling greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and other land use, and selection of appropriate models for linkage with LandSHIFT.
  2. Design, implementation, and testing of a greenhouse gas emissions model as a component of “LandSHIFT” (see above). Application to a test scenario.
  3. Usage of global sensitivity analysis techniques to quantify the uncertainties of different categories of land-related greenhouse gas emissions.

To accomplish these tasks the PhD student will work closely with the his/her Supervisor at the University of Sussex and with the LandSHIFT modelling team at the University of Kassel in Germany.

Please contact Prof. Joseph Alcamo for further details (

Studentship details

The studentship is for 3.5 years (full Home/EU fee waiver, stipend Research Council equivalent rate). Only full time students will be accepted. Applications are welcome from non-UK applicants on the understanding that the fee waiver is set at Home/EU rates only.

Funding and application notes

Apply for PhD in Geography, September 2017 entry via our online system:

Include a statement of interest (up to 2 pages) and a copy of your curriculum vitae/resume and transcripts. Mention Sussex Sustainability Research Programme funded studentship in the funding section.

Link to online application system:

For entry requirements please see:

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