Context of intervention
As part of a Research and Technology Organization (RTO), the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), the work of the Environmental Research and Innovation (ERIN) Department tackles some of the major environmental challenges our society is facing today, particularly climate change mitigation, sustainable energy systems and the efficient use of renewable resources.
LIST is offering a 36 months (that can be extended up to 48 months) PhD position in the topic of Life Cycle Assessment of green funds, in the larger domain of Sustainable Finance.
The successful candidate will join the Environmental Sustainability Assessment and Circularity (SUSTAIN) Unit of the Environmental Research and Innovation (ERIN) department of LIST, which is developing knowledge, transferable technologies (e.g. software) and practical methods for the integrative evaluation and management of the sustainability of human driven systems. Within the SUSTAIN Unit, the applicant will be incorporated in the Life Cycle Sustainability Analysis (LCSA) Group. The activities conducted within the Life Cycle Sustainability Analysis group mainly consist in the development and application of methods, metrics and tools to assess the sustainability performance of products, technologies and policies for both industrial organisations and policy makers. The PhD student will be enrolled in the University of Luxembourg.
Despite the growing importance of sustainable investments and the current positive political will, there are still several unresolved issues that need to be answered from a research and innovation standpoint in order to fully exploit the potential of sustainable finance. Investors willing to create environmental value are looking for robust estimates of the expected positive impacts of sustainable investments. Environmental impact quantification of sustainable finance instruments remains to be clearly defined from a lifecycle environmental impact assessment perspective.
The PhD is part of a larger research project, REFUND, funded by the Luxembourgish National Research Fund (FNR). REFUND aims at assessing the environmental sustainability of Green funds and bonds as well as integrating life cycle environmental metrics in in the risk quantification and management of financial portfolios. REFUND is led by a team of 4 experienced scientists and includes an advisory board composed of several experts in Sustainable Finance from the private sector.
The main objective of the PhD project is to develop an operational methodology to assess the lifecycle environmental performances of mutual funds. The methodology will be based on the combination of: databases including financial historical data (e.g. Factset) and Life Cycle inventory data (based on EXIOBASE3 or another MRIO database and ecoinvent) as well as different MRIO/EEIO models. Main research questions to be addressed will be relative to data (dis)aggregation and harmonisation, model selection, calibration and validation (by matching of EEIO data with publicly available reports from companies and third-party data such as the Carbon Disclosure Project – CDP), result interpretation and visualization. Additionally, the assessment methodology developed by the candidate should be flexible enough to cover a large spectrum of economic sectors. Finally, the work will focus also on the development of non-GHG metrics in order to enlarge the sustainability assessment beyond climate change, which is currently overrepresented in environmental corporate disclosure initiatives.
During the project the PhD student will be visiting the Nice Business School (EDHEC) for short research periods. She/he will be asked to present the results of the project at meetings and international conferences, write scientific articles and give short seminars.
- The ideal candidate (M/F) holds a MSc. Degree in international business management with finance specialization focus
- Candidate shall demonstrate a genuine interest in sustainability transition
- Knowledge of finance instruments and datasets (e.g. Factset)
- Knowledge of Environmentally Extended Input Output modelling and databases
- Programming skills in at least one of the following languages: Java, Python, R or Matlab are an asset
- Good command of SQL language
- Proven organizational skills and interdisciplinary thinking, a problem-solving mind-set, and a strong team-working capability
- Capability to work also independently and creatively
- Flawless knowledge of English (both spoken and written) is required
- Knowledge of German, French or Spanish is considered as an asset