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Advancing data uncertainty and quality management protocols for agri-food life cycle assessment research

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Nathan Pelletier
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Life cycle inventory (LCI) databases provide valuable resources for life cycle assessment (LCA) researchers undertaking to model the resource use and environmental implications associated with specific supply chain activities, as the availability of “background system” data for processes that are common across many supply chains obviates the need for every researcher to create full supply chain models from scratch. However, poor quality data and inconsistent data uncertainty reporting for such processes greatly undermines the predictive power of life cycle models. For this reason, data contributions to a common pool LCI data repository must necessarily be subject to strict data uncertainty management and quality protocols. Data uncertainty management for life cycle inventory modelling and impact assessment is a rapidly evolving research area. Broad consensus as to best practices in the field has not yet coalesced. Guidance and protocols specific to food system life cycle modelling are underdeveloped to date.

This four-year funded PhD project in the Food Systems PRISM Lab (www.prismlab.weebly.com) at the University of British Columbia – Okanagan Campus will focus on advancing statistical methods and best practices for data uncertainty and quality management in life cycle inventory and impact assessment research for food systems. The project will provide the core data uncertainty and quality management protocols for the Canadian Agri-food Life Cycle Data Centre.

This project will commence in January, May or September 2018. Interested students should e-mail me a description of research interests (referring, in particular, to how your interests and experience relate to the specific project you wish to work on), a CV (including two academic and/or professional references), and copies of unofficial transcripts. INCOMPLETE APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED. Please also indicate your interest in particular degree programs at UBCO, including in Biology or through the Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies Program. Also indicate your preferred start date (i.e. January, May or September 2018).

If you are an international student, please also self-assess your transcripts against the published requirements for admission to the UBC College of Graduate Studies (https://gradstudies.ok.ubc.ca/prospective/application-admission/admission-requirements/min-academic-requirements-international.html) and similarly self-assess your TOEFL test scores. Candidates not meeting these requirements will not be further considered.

Prospective students satisfying all of the above stated criteria may be contacted to schedule a Skype interview.


Application deadline to the UBCO College of Graduate Studies is June 2 for January admission, October 1 for May admission and January 31 for September admission. Prospective students are advised to correspond with Dr. Pelletier well in advance of this date in order to discuss their candidacy.

Funding Notes

This project is fully funded at CAD $25,000 annually over four years. Prospective candidates are also strongly encouraged to seek opportunities to supplement this funding through TAships and additional scholarship opportunities. See the "Prospective Students" page at www.prismlab.weebly.com for more details.


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