PHOENIX Research Fellow (Geography or related disciplines)

Spatial Analysis & Geovisualisation Research Group at the University of Iceland

PHOENIX Research Fellow (Geography or related disciplines)

We are recruiting a
Research Fellow in Holistic Environmental/Ecological Innovations with experience in quantitative and qualitative geographic methods
Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Iceland

The Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences, in the School of Engineering and Natural Sciences at the University of Iceland, invites applications for the full time position of Research Specialist in Holistic Environmental / Ecological Innovations. This is a fixed-term 18 months position (0.8 FTE) in geography or related disciplines that involves the development and facilitation of a pilot study on citizen and stakeholder engagement in sustainable policies through participatory and deliberative practices. The position is advertised at post-doctoral level, but outstanding candidates without a PhD degree will be considered.

About the Position and the Project

This position is part of PHOENIX (Participation in HOlistic ENvironmental/Ecological Innovations: the Rise of Citizens Voices for a Greener Europe) an EU funded large Horizon 2020 project coordinated by the University of Coimbra (Portugal) and involving an international team of researchers across 15 partners across Europe (including the University of Iceland).

The project is aimed at engaging with the European Green Deal (EGD). The EGD transition pathway is a major challenge for Europe, whose targets were elevated following the pandemic outbreak. Its ambitions require joint efforts to harmonize diverse contexts and visions of humans/nature’s relation. Citizens’ engagement, as envisioned in the EU Democracy Action Plan, is a pre-condition for institutional policies and projects success, as behavioral changes and transformations in large populations’ lifestyles and expectations are vital for the EGD’s implementation. PHOENIX, anchored to the pictographic idea of a collective resurrection (stronger and more resilient) from the ashes of a shared tragedy, connects a multidisciplinary group of 15 partners from the different macro-regions of Europe. It builds on a rich, consolidated tradition of participatory processes and refined deliberative methodologies successfully experimented in different policy-making domains, considering they are necessary tools, but not sufficient ones, when it comes to facing the ambitious goals related to ecological transition patterns. Elaborating on their lesson learned, PHOENIX designs an iterative process to increase the transformative potential of Democratic Innovations to address specific topics of the EGD. Through a portfolio of sound methodologies and tools, we will enrich them, augmenting their quality of deliberation and the capacity to foster the readiness to change and the commitment of different actors.

The University of Iceland’s main contribution to PHOENIX (coordinated by Prof Jón Ólafsson and Prof Benjamin Hennig, representing the University of Iceland as a partner in the consortium) will involve the facilitation of a pilot study design a deliberative process on a national level as well as in the different communities around the country, creating the tools and coordination necessary to increase direct public involvement in the process of managing conservation efforts while articulating a common understanding of the value of Iceland’s (sub)arctic spaces. The University of Iceland is also collaborating with the University Groningen on the application of suitable socio-spatial simulations, including spatial microsimulation and agent-based models, and developing geo-visualization and social mapping outputs from across the outputs of the project.

The successful candidate will join the University of Iceland research team closely working with both local representatives based at the School of Engineering and Natural Sciences as well as the School of Humanities. A main emphasis on the role will focus on utilization of quantitative methods, especially working with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and other data analysis components of the project, and an active involvement in facilitating the local pilot through participatory approaches. The successful candidate will be taking a main role in coordinating the local partners working on the pilot study, both within and outside of the University of Iceland, and support the local project coordinators in liaising with the project consortium from across Europe. This includes taking a lead in writing up results as scientific manuscripts and project reports.


  • Take a leading role the Icelandic pilot study, including facilitation of workshops and other related activities to develop participatory and deliberative practices
  • Contribute to the main deliverables of the PHOENIX project in collaboration with the respective work package and task leaders, including reports and academic publications
  • Engage in all aspects of the PHOENIX project, including coordination of the local team and communication with the project consortium across Europe
  • Possible involvement in teaching and supervising students at undergraduate and graduate level in the Department of Geography & Tourism studies


  • PhD in the area of social sciences is desirable, but not essential
  • Experience in working with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and R.
  • Additional interest or practical experience in using qualitative methods, including Public Participation GIS (PPGIS) or other participatory approaches
  • Proficiency in both written and spoken English
  • A basic command of Icelandic, is an advantage
  • Strong collaborative and interpersonal skills

Application process

Application deadline is November 14th 2022. Please submit your application through For further information and informal inquiries, please contact Prof Benjamin Hennig ( and Prof. Jón Ólafsson (

Starting date is February 1st 2023, or as soon as possible thereafter.

Applicable salaries are in accordance with the Collective Agreement between the Ministry of Finance and the Association of University Teachers.

The salary depends on qualifications and work experience, starting at ISK 427.586 gross per month without PhD qualification and ISK 618.952 with a PhD gross per month for a full-time position at postdoctoral level. The position is a 0.8 full-time equivalent.

For more detailed information about living in Iceland and working at the University of Iceland, please check:

The application should include:

  • A motivation letter stating how the applicant fulfills the qualifications and the reason for applying (max 1 page)
  • Certificates of education
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • List of publications and other writing
  • Contact information of two academic references that could be contacted

Processing of applications, evaluation of applicants’ competence and hiring shall be in accordance with the Act on Public Higher Education Institutions no. 85/2008 and the Regulation for the University of Iceland no. 569/2009.

Appointments to positions at the University of Iceland are made in consideration of the Equal Rights Policy of the University of Iceland ( The University of Iceland has a special Language Policy (

The University of Iceland is the largest academic institute in Iceland and is ranked among the top 500 universities in the world and engineering and technology is ranked within the top 250 universities in the world by Times Higher Education. The university’s values are academic freedom, professionalism, and equality. There is an emphasis on flexibility and employee participation in developing study programs and research. At the School of Engineering and Natural Sciences, about 400 are employed in research and teaching and students are around 2000. The School offers an international working environment and a quarter of employees and graduate students are international.