PhD Studentship – SELFS

PhD Studentship, Sustainable integrated pathways for carbon-negative energy, land and food systems

We are looking for a highly motivated and talented individual to join our team and contribute to our cutting-edge research in energy systems decarbonisation and the linkages with future land and food systems decarbonisation. As a PhD candidate, you will have the opportunity to conduct independent research, collaborate with our team of experts, and publish your findings in top-tier journals.

This scholarship offers full funding for PhD fees at University College Cork for 4 years, a tax-free stipend of €18,500 per year, along with travel and other expenses.


Inadequate climate mitigation efforts will lead to a global overshoot of the 1.5C temperature target. To preserve the Paris Agreement commitments, countries will need to go beyond “net-zero”, into a state where carbon is being drawn down from the atmosphere. “Carbon drawdown” with require profound changes in energy, land and food systems. The SELFS (Sustainable integrated pathways for carbon-negative energy, land and food systems) project, funded by the Environmental Protection Agency, will develop a new national-level integrated assessment model of energy-land-food systems to explore these possible divergent futures, focussing on Ireland, and draw insights for long-term climate policy.

PhD research topic: Modelling sustainable integrated pathways for carbon-negative energy, land and food systems

The doctoral researcher will join the SELFS project, which has the overarching aim of developing new integrated energy-land-food systems modelling tools and capacity to support long-term climate planning and improve the evidence base for climate policy.  The researcher will contribute to achieving on the objectives of the SELFS project, which include:

  1. to quantify the potential fair level of CO2 emissions Ireland may be required to sequester in the period to 2100 under different global temperature goals, near-term mitigation efforts and non-CO2 emissions trajectories.
  2. to review the potential mitigation and carbon sequestration levers specific to Ireland, including both technology and behaviour change, quantifying their total sequestration potential, energy requirement and land use requirement.
  3. map the interactions, in particular the potential complementarities and conflicts, between deep decarbonisation and sequestration levers in each of the energy, land and food systems.
  4. review global, regional and national modelling approaches to assessing integrated pathways for sustainable land-food-energy systems, including reviewing which interactions are captured in existing Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs),
  5. develop a new modelling methodology, SELFS, to downscale global IAMs to a national scale and simulate long-time horizon integrated Sustainable Energy-Land-Food Systems scenarios under a range of demand and technology futures,
  6. model a range of divergent possible futures for Ireland using SELFS, integrating existing national modelling energy, agriculture and land use modelling frameworks, to inform long-term policy planning for climate mitigation.


  • A strong drive to understand and propose solutions to climate change and wider sustainability issues;
  • An academic background and good primary degree in a quantitative topic related to sustainable energy, food and/or land systems and knowledge of climate mitigation;
  • Intellectual curiosity, excellent research and analytical skills, and the ability to work independently;
  • Proven ability to communicate findings effectively, both in writing and orally.

Research group

The successful candidate will be supervised by Professor Hannah Daly in UCC’s MaREI Centre, the SFI Centre for Energy, Climate and Marine at the Environmental Research Institute. They will join her group of doctoral and postdoctoral researchers, working within the ERI Energy Policy and Modelling Group (EPMG), who develop high-impact energy systems models to inform and explore future decarbonisation pathways. UCC’s Environmental Research Institute (ERI) is an internationally-recognised institute for environmental research dedicated to the understanding and protection of our natural environment and to developing innovative technologies, tools and services to facilitate a transformation to a zero-carbon and resource-efficient society. Overlooking a protected natural reserve and the River Lee, the ERI is a welcoming, diverse and modern workplace.

Informal inquires can be directed to Prof. Daly at ei.ccu@ylad.h

To Apply

Applications should be emailed to Prof. Hannah Daly (ei.ccu@ylad.h) by 5pm on January 27th with subject: “SELFS PhD Application”. 

The application should contain the following documents:

  • CV
  • Cover letter outlining suitability for this role and motivation for undertaking a PhD
  • Academic writing sample (paper, report or project)

Closing date for receipt of applications is 12 noon (Irish Local Time) on Friday, 27 January 2023 CVs and handwritten forms will not be accepted.

Late applications will not be accepted.

Feature Project


The SELFS will develop a new national-level integrated assessment model of energy-land-food systems to explore these possible divergent futures, focussing on Ireland, and draw insights for long-term climate policy.

Find out More