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Job ID: 211526

Doctoral Researcher in Spatial Data Science and Sustainable Mobility
Aalto University

Date Posted May 25, 2023
Title Doctoral Researcher in Spatial Data Science and Sustainable Mobility
University Aalto University
, Finland
Department T213 Built Environment
Application Deadline Open until filled
Position Start Date Available immediately
  • Graduate Student
  • Computer/Information Sciences
Aalto University is where science and art meet technology and business. We shape a sustainable future by making research breakthroughs in and across our disciplines, sparking the game changers of tomorrow and creating novel solutions to major global challenges. Our community is made up of 13 000 students, 400 professors, and more than 4 500 other faculty and staff working on our dynamic campus in Espoo, Greater Helsinki, Finland. Diversity is part of who we are, and we actively work to ensure our community’s diversity and inclusiveness. This is why we warmly encourage qualified candidates from all backgrounds to join our community.

Aalto University School of Engineering, Department of Built Environment invites applications for


The GIScience for Sustainability Transitions (GIST) Lab at the Department of Built Environment is seeking highly motivated and creative doctoral researcher who would undertake research in the area of Spatial Data Science (SDS) and Sustainable Mobility. The position is part of a research project (Grant number 354342 funded by Academy of Finland, 2023-2027) that focuses on mapping commute-related GHG emissions with high spatial and temporal granularity, using big mobility data and bottom-up modeling approaches. The researcher must have a high motivation for research and enjoy working in an international and cross-disciplinary team.

The preferred start date for this position is September 2023. The position is intended for full-time work, and we expect the researcher to work at the premises of Aalto University. The selected individual will work as part of a research team with approx. 10 members and the work is supervised by Assistant Professor Henrikki Tenkanen. The position involves research visits and collaboration with top European universities, such as University College London (UK). The successful applicant will have the possibility to cooperate with world-class researchers, participate in open-source GIS tool development targeted for practitioners, and attend scientific conferences and meetings. Moreover, the research group provides strong support and academic freedom, with possibilities for transdisciplinary collaboration with national and international partners from academia, industry, and public sector.

Research area, Requirements, and expectations

The work will be done as part of the “MAPICO” project that aims to develop novel methods for quantifying carbon emissions in urban areas due to the daily commute of people on a statistical grid-level. In the project, we will test the methodologies in practice by mapping the commuting-related carbon footprints on a monthly temporal scale in various cities in Finland, Sweden and Norway. We will also investigate how such information could be used in practice for transport planning that could help to achieve more sustainable travel behavior.

The research plan for the PhD dissertation will be formulated together with the researcher. The plan is expected to be in line with the project goals, but we will also consider the applicant's interests and expertise. A prospective researcher is expected to fulfill (many of) the following requirements:
  • Timely completion of a Master’s degree in one of the following (or related) fields: GIScience, Spatial Statistics, Geography, Complex Systems, Data Science, Mathematics/Physics.
  • Knowledge of quantitative methods used in GIScience
  • Experience from spatial network analysis and/or accessibility modeling approaches
  • Experience from working with spatial mobility data
  • Good programming skills (preferably Python)
  • Ability to work in a team
  • Willingness to learn
  • Very good English proficiency
  • Knowledge of probabilistic modeling approaches is considered as an asset

The applicant is expected to:
  • Have a good and friendly attitude and work in a team towards common goals
  • Publish in journals and scientific conferences
  • Participate in open-source tool development
  • If applicable, teach in the master’s program

Duration, financing, and salary

The doctoral studies at Aalto University take approximately 4 years. The doctoral degree is granted after completing selected PhD level courses (40 ECTS), writing a summary for the doctoral thesis (based on the student’s publications) and public defense.

Currently, the starting gross salary for doctoral researcher is around 2600€ per month, and it is increased as the work progresses to over 3300€ per month. The doctoral researcher will be granted a one-year contract first, followed by an evaluation and extension for the remaining three years (in total 4 years) depending on the achievements during the contractual periods. The contracts include occupational health services, and Finland has a comprehensive social security system. Among European cities, Helsinki is special in being safe, clean, and close to nature, with a high quality of life. English is spoken everywhere. For more information about living in Finland:

How to apply

Applicants must have completed a Master’s degree in a related field (applicants completing their studies during summer 2023 will also be considered). Proficiency in English is mandatory.
To apply, an application must include:
  • Motivation letter with contact information and preferred starting date (max one A4 page)
  • CV and contact information for 2 reference persons (max two A4 pages)
  • Text example from the candidate: e.g. Master’s Thesis, a scientific publication, or other relevant research work done by the applicant
  • Highest degree certificate and transcripts of studies (with clear explanation on the grading scale)
  • Link to a Github/Gitlab etc. repository demonstrating applicants analytical/programming skills

The candidates are evaluated based on their performance in Master’s degree, their research potential for supporting the given research project and finishing a PhD dissertation, as well as motivation to work at Aalto University. 

All material should be submitted in English in a single pdf-file (compiled with the order specified above). The application should be sent through the eRecruitment system (link ‘Apply now’ below) by 31 July 2023. Email applications will not be taken into account. Aalto University reserves the right to leave the position open, to extend the application period and to consider candidates who have not applied during the application period.

For more information

General information about doctoral studies at Aalto University can be found at the “Into” page ( For additional information, please contact Assistant Professor Henrikki Tenkanen. In recruitment process related questions please contact HR Coordinator Kirsi Kärkkäinen. E-mails:

More about Aalto University:

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