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Doctoral Researcher In Land Use Planning

Published date 3 days ago
Posted: 3 days ago
Company Aalto University
Company: Aalto University
Location Espoo
Location: Espoo

Aalto University in Espoo Finland is a community of bold thinkers where science and art meet technology and business. We are committed to identifying and solving grand societal challenges and building an innovative future. Aalto has six schools with nearly 11 000 students and a staff of more than 4000, of which 400 are professors.

Aalto University School of Engineering, Department of Built Environment invites applications for


The Spatial Planning and Transportation Engineering research group is seeking a highly motivated and creative doctoral researcher who would undertake research in 15 min cities.

General information on the Doctoral Network

The selected candidate will be part of the SUNSET Doctoral Network, a Horizon Europe project funded by Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Doctoral Networks (MSCA DN). The SUNSET Doctoral Network is built around a community of leading scholars and 10 doctoral candidates (DCs) delivering insights into how universities and their host cities can collaborate and interact to achieve the digitalization and sustainability goals set out by current European and global policy agendas. The network is purposefully international, intersectoral, and interdisciplinary. It consists of 6 academic and 16 non-academic partners in 5 European countries (Belgium – The Netherlands – Finland – Norway – Estonia). SUNSET emphasizes cooperative research and includes international mobility and intersectoral secondments to maximize the career potential of all DCs. 

Individual PhD project information

Host institution: Aalto University, Finland 

Supervisory team: Prof. Marketta Kyttä (PhD main supervisor, Aalto University), Prof Ben Derudder (co-supervisor, KU Leuven), PostDoc Tiina Rinne (second co-supervisor, Aalto), and the representatives of the cities of Lahti and Espoo. 

Enrolment in Doctoral School: Doctoral Programme in Engineering, Aalto University

The positions should start in autumn 2024 and is intended for full-time work. The doctoral researcher will be granted a 3-year contract (with a probation period of 6 months). The successful applicant will have possibility to cooperate with world-class researchers, as well as to attend scientific conferences and meetings. Moreover, the research group provides strong support and academic freedom, with possibilities for interdisciplinary collaboration, both internationally and within Aalto University. Please note that the applicants are not expected to apply to the Aalto doctoral programme at this point – only the successful candidate will do this at the next application window (but is expected to take up the position already before that).

PhD project description

The PhD project will investigate how the online public participation GIS (PPGIS) methodology can be utilized to analyze how citizen use urban space in their habitual behavior and what are the related carbon footprint outcomes. The project will also demonstrate the value of PPGIS within the context of the 15-minute city concept and identify various urban lifestyles and the possible health and wellbeing outcomes. The expected results include the identification how individuals differ in their ways of using urban space depending on socio-economic background and individual lifestyles as well as the identification of urban structural characteristics that promote the accessibility of resources, especially with active travel modes. The project will also demonstrate how ‘soft’ place-based user knowledge is integrated with other ‘hard’ knowledge layers of the city to support knowledge informed planning. 

Planned secondments: 

  • KU Leuven, Belgium (3 Months 29-31): Visiting fellowship at the Public Governance Institute and KU Leuven Urban Studies Institute (LUSI) 

  • City of Espoo (1,5 Months 21-22): experiment with the PPGIS Methodology

  • City of Lahti (1,5 Months 23-24): experiment with the PPGIS Methodology

Essential requirements

  • A master's degree in urban planning, geoinformatics, geography, architecture, psychology, computer sciences or in a related area.

  • Fluent written and verbal communication skills in English are required, knowledge of Finnish is an advantage.

  • The ability to work independently as part of a group in an international environment is essential.

  • Appreciated skills include deep knowledge in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and statistical analysis skills.

  • Previous knowledge in the 15 min cities -concept is an advantage.

Other requirements

  • If you finish your master’s degree in the spring of 2024, you are also welcome to apply 

  • You have a keen interest in urban studies, the digital and green transitions, and European public policies  

  • You are ambitious, well organized, a team player, and have excellent communication skills 

  • You are proficient in English, both written and verbal 

  • You did not reside or carry out your main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Finland for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date. Compulsory national service, short stays such as holidays, and time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status are not taken into account 

  • Candidates must be in the first four years of their research careers and cannot hold a doctoral degree 

  • You have the ability to work independently and have a critical mindset 

  • You are a pro-active and motivated person, eager to participate in network-wide training events, international mobility, and public dissemination activities. 


The selected candidate will receive a salary in accordance with the MSCA regulations for Doctoral Researchers. The exact (net) salary will be confirmed upon appointment and is dependent on local tax regulations and on the country correction coefficient (to allow for the difference in the cost of living in different EU Member States).

The salary paid to the recruited researcher consists of a living allowance and a mobility allowance (and a family allowance, if applicable). The employee's and the employer's mandatory charges, as well as tax, will be deducted from the gross salary (according to the local tax and employment regulations).

The guaranteed PhD funding is for 36 months (i.e., funding from the European Commission); additional one year funding is possible to apply from the School of Engineering of Aalto University. The additional one year funding is probably needed because the doctoral studies in Aalto normally take 4 years.

How to apply

To apply for the position, please submit your application electronically through our online recruitment system and provide the following documents:

  • a CV, describing at least education, employment history and relevant skills

  • academic certificates and transcripts

  • a personal statement outlining motivation, interest, and eligibility for the post (maximum two pages)

The deadline for applications is no later than 15th of April 2024, at 23:59 Finnish time (UTC +2). Possible interviews (via MS Teams) will take place during May.

Aalto University reserves the right for justified reasons to leave the position open, to extend the application period, and reopen the application process.

Further information

For more information on the positions, please contact Prof. Marketta Kyttä, tel. +358 505124583 (email: [email protected]). For more information on the process, please contact HR Generalist Jenna Koskenniemi (email: [email protected]).

The project descriptions, essential requirements and link to the positions on the university websites for all 10 PhD positions can be found via the website of SUNSET:

Other information:

Doctoral Programme in Engineering

The Spatial Planning and Transportation Engineering research group

More about Aalto University: