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Postdoctoral Fellow in Sustainable Urban Systems

Job Description

How to Apply

Applications are welcomed and encouraged from all qualified individuals regardless of background and identity. You may apply directly to professor Ben Goldstein by sending your CV and cover letter to benjgo@umich.edu, or apply through this online portal. 


The School for Environment and Sustainability is seeking a postdoctoral fellow in Sustainable Urban Systems. You will work with Professor Ben Goldstein, who will support your research in a number of areas related to urban sustainability. Potential topics could include:

  1. Urban Energy Use: You will work with various large datasets to advance previous research by myself and colleagues on urban energy use and decarbonization. Your work could explore inequities in energy use and related carbon emissions across urban areas; interlinkages between urban form, land use, and carbon emissions; and the broader sustainability of urban decarbonization given prevailing challenges with critical mineral supply chains.
  2. Urban Food Systems: You could help develop analytical architectures to capture interconnections between the urban and rural via food supply chains (urban foodsheds), including improved methods to quantify environmental and social change along those supply chains. Localization of agriculture through urban-regional food systems, including urban agriculture, to enhance urban sustainability and resilience could also be a research topic.
  3. Corporate Supply Chain Analysis: Continue developing scalable methods to map the supply chains that underpin modern cities and to quantify environmental change along those supply chains. You will help advance a multi-scalar understanding of urban sustainability as a way to improve environmental justice both within cities and in urban hinterlands. Topical foci could include agri-commodities (e.g, palm or rubber), meat, crops, or critical minerals.

While these are the primary focus areas for research in the field, there is flexibility to work on adjacent or completely different topics that motivate you. In addition to conducting research, you will also help develop competitive applications to external funding agencies.

Mission Statement

The School for Environment and Sustainability (https://seas.umich.edu/) is a collaborative and interdisciplinary school. Our mission includes contributing to the protection of environmental resources and the achievement of a sustainable society. We accomplish this by generating and sharing knowledge, contributing to policy and engaging managers and stakeholders. The University of Michigan is a top-ranked public university with excellence in research and teaching.  Ann Arbor, home to the University of Michigan, is a town known for arts, culture, parks and restaurants.

SEAS is committed to creating and maintaining an inclusive and equitable environment that respects diverse experiences, promotes generous listening and communications, and discourages and restoratively responds to acts of discrimination, harassment, or injustice. Our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is deeply rooted in our values for a sustainable and just society.

Why Work at Michigan?

In addition to a career filled with purpose and opportunity, The University of Michigan offers a competitive salary and comprehensive benefits package to help you stay well, protect yourself and your family and plan for a secure future. Benefits include:

  • Generous time off
  • A retirement plan that provides two-for-one matching contributions with immediate vesting (Confirm position is eligible)
  • Many choices for comprehensive health insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Long-term disability coverage
  • Flexible spending accounts for healthcare and dependent care expenses


You will conduct research in Sustainable Urban Systems, working with your mentor and other members of the University of Michigan research community to collaborate on publications relevant to the aforementioned topics. You will also assist in the development of grant proposals to support further research in Sustainable Urban Systems.

Required Qualifications*

  • Recently obtained or expected PhD in industrial ecology or allied engineering field (e.g. systems engineering), geography, urban planning, urban informatics, data science, systems ecology, ecological economics, sustainability science, or other related field
  • Experience manipulating large datasets, including spatial data, using various data management and analysis tools
  • Experience with or a willingness to learn quantitative sustainability assessment tools (life cycle assessment, material flow analysis, or carbon footprinting, for example)
  • Noted interest in applying mixed-method approaches that combine the quantitative with the qualitative to explore questions of equity and justice in cities

Additional Information

This position will be a one year term limited research fellow appointment with the possibility of renewal.

Salary will be determined based on experience.

Remote and flexible work agreements may be made to support partial off-site work at a remote location.

Application Deadline

Job openings are posted for a minimum of seven calendar days.  The review and selection process may begin as early as the eighth day after posting. This opening may be removed from posting boards and filled anytime after the minimum posting period has ended.

Applications will be reviewed as received throughout the posting period and continue until the position is filled

U-M EEO/AA Statement

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.

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