PhD Sustainability Systems Assessment

The Cluster of Excellence livMatS develops completely novel, life-like materials systems that adapt autonomously to various environments and harvest clean energy from their surroundings. The intention of these purely technical – yet in a behavioral sense quasi-living – materials systems is to meet the demands of humans with regard to pioneering environmental and energy technologies. The societal relevance of autonomous systems and their sustainability will thus play an important role in their development. The research program of livMatS is characterized by highly interdisciplinary collaboration between researchers from a broad range of fields including engineering, chemistry, physics, biology, psychology, the humanities, and sustainability sciences.

The livMatS Cluster of Excellence is offering 1 PhD position for the project:

Sustainability Systems Assessment of the livMatS Materials Systems for enabling sustainability transitions towards a resource-efficient and resilient infrastructure

Envisaged start date is 01 September 2023

Project description
The goal of the project is to develop a methodological framework that allows livMatS materials systems and their potential applications to be evaluated in terms of their ability to empower sustainability transitions processes in key industry sectors. Moreover, the new methodological framework will also be inspired by lessons learnt from biological evolution and fitness and tested by existing bio-inspired demonstrators.

In this context, the methodology development starts with a gap/needs analysis focusing on technologies and systems that are required for a digital transformation in selected basic supply sectors (e.g., the energy system) towards a resource-efficient and resilient infrastructure. Based on this groundwork, existing assessments systems will be reviewed and a first outline of the new assessment framework will be created. In order to test its practicality, the newly developed methodological framework will be applied in up to three case studies covering newly developed livMatS materials systems on a demonstrator level. Based on the results of the analysis, strategic potentials for optimization and valorization of the investigated demonstrators are proposed and the findings are condensed with regard to priority future innovation activities for the livMatS Cluster.

Candidate profile
Applicants must hold a Master’s degree in engineering or natural sciences and should also have expertise in systems analysis and innovation/transition management. Knowledge of digitalization technologies and/or energy technologies would be an advantage. In addition, applicants should be familiar with the methodology of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), as well as the corresponding modeling software and databases, and should have carried out LCA studies according to ISO 14040 or sustainability assessments in their final theses or follow-up work. The ability to work in a team environment, an outgoing personality, as well as excellent verbal and written communication skills are also important qualifications. In that regard, excellent English language skills are required, good knowledge of another language (e.g. German or French) would be beneficial.

Please hand in
• Letter of intent detailing why you are interested in this specific project and how your previous research qualifies you for the project (up to 1,500 words)
• Curriculum Vitae with list of publications (if applicable)
• Certified copies of your university degree(s) with grades (BSc and MSc certificate / Diploma certificate and transcript)
• Short summary of your master’s thesis (up to 1,000 words)
• Work sample (chapter from recent thesis or journal article, up to 5,000 words)
• Suggestion of two referees with contact details

Your documents will not be returned after the application process. For this reason, please submit copies only. This position is funded until 31 December 2025 and an extension is possible. The salary will be determined in accordance with TV-L E13. We are particularly pleased to receive applications from women for the position advertised here.

Please send your application in English including supporting documents mentioned above citing the reference number 00003046. Application deadline is 15 June 2023.

Application is to be emailed as one MERGED PDF file to

For questions about the project, contact Dr. Martin Möller at