PhD fellowship "la Caixa INPHINIT" in limits to growth revisited

Save to favorites

    Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
    Natural sciences
    First Stage Researcher (R1) (Up to the point of PhD)




Group Leader: 

Prof. Giorgos Kallis

Research Project / Research Group Description

In 1972, a team of engineers at the M.I.T. produced a model and report that shifted the debate on the interaction between ecological and economic systems and the prospects of progress in the light of resource limitations. The report ‘Limits to Growth’ spurred a wealth of new studies and integrated models simulating complex interactions between population, production, consumption and resource variables. While some have argued that the predictions of the model failed to be realized, others are pointing that current trends in resource use are in line with model runs that predicted a crash in 2050. A major omission of the M.I.T model was the lack of accounting for carbon emissions, as climate change was not perceived as a problem at the time. More recent models, such as the Eurogreen model developed by D’Alessandro et al. for France provide complex forecasts of economic and climatic futures, and the ways economic growth may impact climate mitigation. These are national level models though, and there are few studies that can directly contribute to the global scale of interest of the IPCC models.

The proposed research aims to contribute to a better understanding of the new ways limits to growth may emerge in relation to climate change. We are interested on the ways climate mitigation pathways may limit growth, policies and mechanisms involved and the way continued growth, without limitations, may come crashing down because of climate impacts. The research will be part of the ecological economics SGR group directed by Prof. Giorgos Kallis (background in chemistry and environmental engineering), who has extensive supervision experience as reflected by over 10 PhD students having graduated under his supervision, being among the most cited ecological economists in Europe, and by the various awards received and academic distinctions. The hired PhD researcher will be able to benefit from the expertise of him and the other researchers in the group.

Job position description

The researcher will work on a PhD thesis about limits to growth. S/he will be intensively supervised, and form part of a team consisting of 6 seniors and 15 junior researchers, all of whom work on different aspects of ecological economics. Hence s/he will be doing research in a setting with many opportunities for collaboration and mutual learning. Our group is an interdisciplinary environment, and we expect candidates who can work across the natural and social sciences, and are capable with different methodologies and techniques, including statistical analysis, modeling, as well as qualitative research.

Suitable candidates have completed university studies at bachelor and master levels (300 ECTS credits). They ideally have a background in environmental sciences/studies/engineering. Other social, natural and engineering science backgrounds will also be considered, as long as candidates have good analytical skills and an interest in use of mixed, quantitative and qualitative 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 uab.cat).



The responsibility for the funding offers published on this website, including the funding description, lies entirely with the publishing institutions. The application is handled uniquely by the employer, who is also fully responsible for the recruitment and selection processes.