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Opportunities at the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership

The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) is seeking postdocs for research opportunities on the global sustainability challenges facing business and society. The opportunities are primarily undertaking research for business groups for which the Institute is secretariat.

Individuals should have the ability to engage with companies and integrate academic knowledge into aspects of business practise. They should have experience writing concise research reports and making presentations on findings that are relevant and accessible to business.

Postdocs will be supported by an experienced team to coordinate the research outputs, and have an opportunity to have impact in the business community through their research.

The Institute is particularly interested to hear from postdocs working on research linked to the following broad research areas:

  1. Sustainable finance – How can we create a finance system that incentivises and rewards long-term thinking?
  2. Inclusive development – How can companies be agents of inclusive growth within the developing world and emerging economies?
  3. Natural capital – How can companies sustain the natural world and the resources it provides through their strategies and operating practices?
  4. Economic innovation – How will markets evolve in future decades in response to global challenges, and how should public policy act with business to smooth this path?
  5. Leadership - How can companies develop the leadership needed to shape the economy to deliver positive social outcomes, while at the same time ensuring successful and resilient organisations?
  6. Future cities – How can cities develop vibrant communities of healthy people, supported by clean, green energy, food, water and transportation systems?

There are two current research opportunities within the area of Natural Capital, with a focus either on soil or on water, for postdocs who can support the development of corporate performance measures (or metrics).

The postdoc working on soil should have broad knowledge of soil science, including the fundamentals of the subject, such as the biological, chemical and physical properties of soils, and their spatial and temporal variability across the landscape. Download the Terms of Reference here.

The postdoc working on water should have knowledge on the global causes and trends of water scarcity resulting from land use and how this relates to global supply chains. Please contact John Pharoah for further details.


CISL are also looking to pro-actively engage with postdocs that are already working within the research areas mentioned above on integrating impact within their existing research projects.

For example, in their sustainable finance team, CISL works with 50 financial firms across 5 continents as well as a number of financial services regulators to change finance and finance change.

If your research produces insights that you think can make finance more sustainable, please contact Dr Nina Seega, CISL research director for sustainable finance.  

How to apply

Please provide your details via this form if you would like to discuss any of the upcoming opportunities at the Institute.


Climate Emergency Website

This brief is for a project to develop a simple website where people can access an introduction and overview to the idea of a Climate Emergency.

This an information website, reflecting the work of others, not original work. It is not an organisation or activist initiative – though it will by definition, be supporting such an approach.

The project is being developed and funded by Paul Gilding, who is a corporate advisor, entrepreneur, author and a Fellow at the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership.  Paul has been an advocate for a climate emergency since co-authoring a paper “The One Degree War Plan” in the Journal of Global Responsibility in 2009.

The objective of this project is a website which reflects a range of different organisations and people’s views, from activist groups, to UN and Corporate leaders to the military and security communities, all of whom approach this issue in different ways but share the general view that climate should be seen as an existential risk and there should be an emergency style response.

Primary and initial focus:

 Desk top research that:

  • Identifies the organisations and individuals engaged in this approach (both to refer to their work but also to list them somewhere on the site). What they do and what information they have.
  • Identifies the available information and documents that can be referred to and/or reprinted on the website – at some stage approaching them and seeking permission.
  • Identifies key quotes and introductory material from the above for use on the site as an introduction to the topic.

Potential second focus:

Design and delivery of a website and any associated social media initiative.

If you are interested in finding out more about this consulting opportunity, please contact .


EPSRC-funded Placements for Physical Science & Technology

Funding is available to allow EPSRC-funded postdocs to take up short term placements in a partner organisation in industry, the public sector or third sector (not at other Universities).

The funding is intended to enable the postdoc to apply their research-based knowledge and expertise in a different context, helping the partner organisation innovate and the postdoc to gain valuable work experience.  

Funding is available to cover salary and travel costs for up to three months, full or part-time. Through the scheme, the postdocs must find a suitable company or organisation and obtain agreement with their PI to pursue the placement prior to applying for funding.

The choice of research topic is left open, and applications should show:

  • evidence of how the placement(s) will address an industry need
  • evidence that the placement activity will be focused on knowledge exchange between the postdoc and the partner organisation
  • evidence that the placement will enable further postdoc skills development in a non-academic setting.

The placement should be completed within 12 months of the award or by 31 March 2020, whichever is earlier. An agreement between the partner organisation and University will be required to cover intellectual property, confidentiality and other matters.

How to apply

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until March 2020 and should be submitted to using the IAA form together with a letter of support from the partner organisation confirming the details of their involvement.

« November 2018 »

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