A global model of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and land use change. (2017)

A high priority for global climate protection is reducing greenhouse emissions from agriculture and land use change. These now account for around one tenth to one-fifth of all global greenhouse gas emissions. Hence, it is crucial to understand how different forms of sustainable and unsustainable agriculture influence the rate of emissions, and what can be done to reduce these emission rates.

Computer models are indispensable for these studies because they make a link between agricultural processes and emission rates. While several models have been developed that link agriculture and greenhouse gases, an open and important research question is the uncertainty of these models. The objective of this PhD project will be to implement a greenhouse gas emissions model in an existing continental-scale land use model (LandSHIFT) and to investigate the uncertainties of the model. Identifying the main sources of uncertainties will accelerate the improvement of this class of models and make them more useful for identifying strategies for reducing emissions from agriculture and other land use.

The PhD project will include the following main components:

Survey of existing models for modelling greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and other land use, and selection of appropriate models for linkage with LandSHIFT.

Design, implementation, and testing of a greenhouse gas emissions model as a component of "LandSHIFT" (see above). Application to a test scenario.

Usage of global sensitivity analysis techniques to quantify the uncertainties of different categories of land-related greenhouse gas emissions.

To accomplish these tasks the PhD student will work closely with the his/her Supervisor at the University of Sussex and with the LandSHIFT modelling team at the University of Kassel in Germany.

Type of award

Postgraduate research award.


HEU fee waiver and RCUK stipend equivalents for 3.5 years.


For this PhD studentship Sussex University is looking for a Masters' graduate in informatics, computer science, geostatistics, or other discipline concerned with computational science. A strong interest in applying computational science to critical environmental problems is required, but prior experience in computer modelling is desired but not required.

Non UK applicants will also need to demonstrate IELTS qualification with 6.5 overall and not less than 6.0 in each section (or equivalent.)

Please note that applications are welcome from non-UK applicants on the understanding that the fee waiver is set at Home/EU rates only.


15 October 2017 23:59 (GMT)

How to apply

Apply for PhD in Geography, September 2017 entry via our online system:


Please make it clear in the application that you are applying for the LAND USE CHANGE PhD.

Mention name of Prof Alcamo in "suggested supervisor" section. In funding mention sponsored or seeking funding. In Award details mention Sussex Sustainability Research Programme funded studentship.

Include brief statement of interest (up to 2 pages) plus CV/resume, two academic references, UG/PG transcripts and IELTS/TOEFL as appropriate.

Only full time students will be accepted. We reserve the right to reject incomplete applications.


Further information about the work of the Sussex Sustainability Research Programme can be found from:


Contact us

Please contact Prof. Joseph Alcamo for further details: joseph.alcamo@sussex.ac.uk

For guidance on the application process please contact: globalresearch@sussex.ac.uk


The deadline for applications is 15th September 2017. Shortlisted applicants will be informed as soon as possible after that date and may be required to undertake an interview (either in person or via SKYPE.)


At level(s):
PG (research)

Application deadline:
15 October 2017 23:59 (GMT)
the deadline has now expired