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KLI Writing-up Fellowships in Sustainability Science
5 KLI Writing-up Fellowships in Sustainability Science

Call for Applications

The Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research (KLI) in Klosterneuburg (Austria, close to Vienna) announces 5 Writing-Up Fellowships for late-stage PhD students working in inter and transdisciplinary sustainability science with a focus on theoretical dimensions (conceptual, methodological, and epistemological) of sustainability research.

Aspiring applicants fill in the Contact Form. If you have problems with the form, please contact us via email (


About the KLI

The Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research (KLI) is an independent center of advanced studies in the life and sustainability sciences. The mission of the KLI is to enable scientific reasoning that can contribute to understanding and sustaining life in its biological, cognitive, social, and cultural diversity.

At the KLI, we are committed to contribute to addressing pressing social-environmental challenges of our time through inter and transdisciplinary research. We especially support conceptual and formal research as well as philosophical and historical work that addresses broad and interrelated questions about life:

  • How and why has life evolved in the past? And how is it evolving in the present and into the future?
  • How can we sustain life on earth to meet the need of current and future generations within the limits of the natural world?
  • What roles has cognition played in the evolution of life and what roles can it play in its future developments?

Over almost 30 years of existence, the KLI has supported many early career researchers working on interdisciplinary projects bringing together approaches from the natural and social sciences as well as from the humanities and cultural sciences.


KLI Writing-up Fellowships in Sustainability Science

Research in sustainability science investigates the global and local interactions between human, environmental, biological, cultural, technical, and institutional systems with the goal of understanding and (contribute to) solving complex challenges of our time. Examples of sustainability challenges are climate change, loss of biodiversity, land degradation, water scarcity, and rapid urbanization. The 5 KLI Writing-up Fellowships are not restricted to specific topics or approaches in the vast field of sustainability science. Though not exclusively, we look forward to receiving applications especially from the following research areas:

  • Social-ecological research
  • Innovation research
  • Inter and transdisciplinary sustainability research
  • Transformation and transition research
  • Environmental humanities, environmental history, and environmental ethics
  • Geography, environmental economics, political economy
  • History, philosophy, and social studies of environmental and sustainability research.


The 5 KLI Writing-up fellowships aim to support excellent doctoral students in the final stage of their PhD research. Writing-up fellowships are individual fellowships awarded to work independently on the applicant’s research project supervised by their advisor in the home university. As A Home to Theory that Matters, the KLI privileges theoretical, conceptual, and formal as well as philosophical, historical, and reflexive work in the life and sustainability sciences.Thus, the 5 fellowships are especially well-suited for two categories of late-stage PhD students:

  • Those who have completed empirical research and wish to use the Writing-up fellowship to elaborate on the (conceptual, epistemological, and methodological) underpinnings and implications of their work.
  • Those whose research deals with the historical, philosophical, and conceptual foundations of sustainability research at the science/society interface.


Details of the fellowships:

  • Duration: KLI Writing-up fellowships are awarded for a period of maximum 6 months. The minimum fellowship duration is three months.
  • Starting date: Fellowships must be started within the calendar year 2020. Ideally, a start date in September 2020 is encouraged.
  • Eligibility criteria:
    • Applicants must be enrolled in a PhD program.
    • Applicants are in the final stages of their PhD work (as certified by their advisor).

Benefits of working at the KLI:

  • Being part of the KLI Resident Fellowship Program: Students awarded a KLI Writing-up fellowship will be part of the KLI Resident Fellowship Program and will enjoy all the benefits connected to this position.
  • Relocation Allowance: The KLI will cover transportation costs for the move to Vienna or Klosterneuburg. The KLI will provide accommodation in the vicinity of the institute for the first two weeks of the fellowship.
  • Travel Budget: KLI Writing-up Fellowship provides a travel budget to attend scientific events related to the project.
  • Use of KLI facilities and library: Each fellow will have a desk in the beautiful facilities of the KLI.


Application and Selection Procedure


Step 1

Aspiring applicants fill in the Contact Form. Please specify “Sustainability Science Writing-Up Fellowship” in the motivation section of the form.


 Deadline: January 30


Step 2

The KLI selection committee will notify the aspiring applicant. The successful ones will be invited to submit a full application.


  Between January 30
February 15


Step 3

Applicants will submit their application to the following email address: 


 Deadline: February 29



Step 4

The selection committee will send out the application to external referees.


 Between March 1 and
 April 15

Step 5

The KLI Board of Directors will make a decision about the applications and invite the successful ones for an interview.


 End of April

Step 5

The interview will take place at the KLI, if possible, or using video conference technologies.


 First half of May


Step 6



The KLI Board of Directors will make a final decision on the application.


 By the end of May  


Important: Forms and detailed procedures for the full application will be provided only to applicants who have successfully gone through Step 1.


A full Application will comprise:

  • Summary of the PhD project
  • Description of the part of the PhD project to be pursued at the KLI during the Writing-up Fellowship
  • Motivation statement
  • Reference letter from the applicant’s PhD advisor.


The applications will be selected using the following criteria:

  • Scientific excellence
  • Societal relevance
  • Feasibility
  • Fit with the KLI mission and vision