PhD offer for ECO-TraceFOOD project

UNESCO Chair in Life Cycle and Climate Change

To reinforce our team, the UNESCO Chair in Life Cycle and Climate Change, hosted at the ESCI-UPF in Barcelona, is opening a position for a full-time Junior researcher and PhD fellowship, financed by the National Competitive Project “ECO-TraceFOOD” (Towards More Resilient and Sustainable Food Supply Chains trough Ecolabelling Traceability). We offer further education and professional development in cooperation on an excellent collaborative R&D&I project, leading to the development of a doctoral thesis. The role of the Junior researcher at UNESCO Chair is to manage the project under the supervision of a Senior Researcher.

Location: This position is based at the Chair’s office in Barcelona at ESCI-UPF. Some days of a home office may be negotiated
Duration of the contract: 1 year, with one-year extensions depending on the performance until the end of the three-year project
Salary: 20.000€
Starting date: ASAP

ECO-TraceFOOD Project

ECO-TraceFOOD, dealing with eco-labelling, is subproject 2 of the coordinated project Smart-FOOD Print, led by the University of Cantabria. This project may be seen as a continuation of two previous ones, CERES (2017-2021) and KAIROS-BIOCIR (2020-2024). Ecolabelling is a voluntary method of environmental performance and certification to identify products or services that are environmentally preferable within a specific category. According to ISO, there are three types of environmental labelling. Type 2 are self-proclaimed declarations, mainly by producers. Type I and Type III are multicriterial, based on LCA information acquired following specific rules for each product category and are externally verified. Type I award products better than the rest, and Type III show quantitative information without judging. The food sector has been labelled for organic agriculture, animal welfare, traceability, etc. Knowing the high impact of food, more interest has been raised to assess its product's environmental profile through eco-labelling.

Main tasks may include

The main results of subproject two and, therefore, the main scientific tasks of the PhD are:

  • Development of product category rules, particularly for the fishing sector
  • Development and application of analysis methods of recyclability of packaging
  • Development of a labelling system for restaurants, including the work done with food products and packaging
  • Development of a NEXUS (water-energy-carbon-nutritional) footprint methodology for food products, combining environmental, social and economic impacts
  • Development of a draft online application for food impact labelling

Other learning tasks may include

  • Help develop the Chair’s portfolio of projects in the food sector.
  • Participate in the design of new research proposals in the food sector. 
  • Help in management tasks, especially for the ECO-TraceFOOD project.
  • Draft preparation of detailed interim and final reports. 
  • Ensure that project implementation and project proposal/activity plan align.
  • Create and maintain comprehensive project documentation.
  • Present assigned project activities in some events and write scientific papers.


  • Residency in Barcelona or fast access to visa and residence.
  • University Master's Degree with access to PhD.
  • Bachelor's or Master's degree in environment, agrifood, or comparable degrees with enough experience in those topics.
  • High proficiency in English and Spanish (oral and written).
  • High proficiency in MS Office tools (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.).

Additional criteria

  • Experience in writing research papers in scientific journals.
  • Knowledge in life cycle assessment, ecodesign and/or eco-labelling.
  • Ability to work in multicultural environments. 
  • Exceptional organisational skills and high attention to detail. 
  • Ability to cope with tight deadlines. Team spirit and the ability to work independently. 

To apply for this position, please send your CV and motivation letter (both in English) before December 21st, 2023.


Kindly understand that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. The Chair strives to be an equal opportunities employer. It undertakes that there shall be no discrimination in employment policies or salaries based on race, ethnic origin, gender, disability, religious or similar belief, sexual orientation, age, gender reassignment or marital and civil partnership status.

All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence. The UNESCO Chair will perform an initial desk evaluation. Two finalists will be interviewed. The result will be communicated only to the two finalists within five more days. The rest of the candidates will implicitly know they were not chosen.