New postdoc and PhD positions (food security and biodiversity)

IMPORTANT UPDATE, 2 December 2014:

– Applications for all positions have now CLOSED.

By Joern Fischer

Identifying Social-Ecological System Properties Benefiting Biodiversity and Food Security:

Up to 4 PhD Positions and 3 Postdoc positions

Expressions of interest are being sought for up to four new PhD positions and three postdoc positions, starting between late 2014 (postdocs) and mid-2015 (PhD positions). Please register your interest and send your CV to Joern Fischer ( You will then be sent the official advertisement when it comes out. To all readers of this blog: please help distribute this note — thank you!         

The project

Ensuring food security and halting biodiversity decline are two of the most urgent (and interconnected) challenges facing humanity in the 21st century. Taking a social-ecological systems perspective, this project seeks to identify synergies between food security and biodiversity conservation. A multi-scale approach will be used to balance the trade-offs between depth and generality. First, we will develop a global database of social-ecological systems, relating their general properties to indicators of food security and biodiversity. Second, we will conduct in-depth workshops on 15-20 social-ecological systems worldwide to reveal in more detail the causal linkages between system properties, food security and biodiversity. Third, we will conduct an in-depth empirical case study on food security and biodiversity in Ethiopia. Aspects of this project were previously featured on this blog here and here. erc summary

Postdoc 1: Quantitative analysis and global databasing of social-ecological systems

This position requires an individual with highly developed quantitative and conceptual skills, who is able to apply these in an interdisciplinary context.

Postdoc 2: Conceptual mapping of social-ecological systems worldwide

This position requires an individual with highly developed workshop facilitation and systems mapping skills (e.g. causal loop diagrams), who is willing to travel frequently to conduct workshops in many settings worldwide.

Postdoc 3: Postdoc associated specifically with the Ethiopia case study

This position requires an individual who is able to conduct independent research and assist in PhD student supervision, with particular emphasis on the (interdisciplinary) case study in Ethiopia.

PhD 1 and PhD 2: Social aspects of food security and biodiversity conservation

These two positions are suitable for social scientists in the broadest sense. They will focus on social aspects in the case study region in Ethiopia. Tasks will include actor and network analysis, governance analysis, analysis of livelihood assets, and analysis of food flows and food security in different households and communities within the study area.

PhD 3 and PhD 4: Ecological aspects of food security and biodiversity conservation

These two positions are suitable for ecologists in the broadest sense, and also focus on the case study region in Ethiopia. Tasks will include mapping land cover and agricultural yields, biodiversity surveys and statistical distribution modelling, and assessment of ecosystem services. Potential target taxa include mammals, birds, butterflies, or plants. For all positions, both Ethiopian and non-Ethiopian candidates are encouraged to register their interest (please indicate which languages you speak in your CV). The specific description and combination of positions may change. A formal advertisement will follow. This project is funded by the European Research Council. It includes collaboration with Stockholm University (Dr. Kristoffer Hylander) and Addis Ababa University (Dr. Feyera Senbeta), as well as links with many other research groups worldwide, including the Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society ( . Although different projects components are partly independent, there will be large amounts of collaboration within the research team. A PDF FLYER SUMMARISING THIS POST IS AVAILABLE HERE: food and biodiversity expressions of interest


25 thoughts on “New postdoc and PhD positions (food security and biodiversity)

    • Hi, English is a requirement. Any of the languages spoken in Ethiopia would be an advantage. Typically, a Master’s degree is required, apart from countries such as Australia, where first class honours is the normal entry requirement for a PhD.

  1. Hi, please I am currently on a masters program which will be completed by early 2015. Is there a deadline for this application?

    • Hi Melvice, the official advertisement is yet to come out, and the PhD positions won’t start until mid 2015. So that means an early 2015 completion of the Master’s Degree is no problem. Cheers, Joern

  2. I count with a bachelor degree on biological sciences, and years of experience working on wildlife research projects on my natal country Uruguay, but also internationally (Namibia (2009, 2010, 2013), Germany and Argentina). I can apply for one of the PhD positions (Ecological aspects of food security and biodiversity conservation)? Thanks in advance and have a nice day!

  3. PD: I worked (HiWi job) and study (one semester, Master on Biological Oceanography) at the IFM-GEOMAR (Kiel, Germany)

    • The normal requirement in Germany is a Masters Degree. For countries where Masters degrees are uncommon (such as Australia), I expect exceptions are possible. I would need to find out on a case by case basis whether such exceptions are possible for individuals from other countries.

  4. Hi Joern, thank you for posting the postdoc position. I am an ideal candidate for the position. I graduated with my PhD from Bangor University, UK. I did my PhD research in Yayu area under the topic “Fragmented forests in the south-west Ethiopia: Impacts of land-use change on plant species composition and priorities for future conservation”. I have deep knowledge of the landscape and culture of Southwest Ethiopia. I am fluent in English and two Ethiopian languages Oromifa (mother tongue) and Amharic. I will send you soon my letter of interest and CV

    Currently, I am a Research and Teaching fellow in USA and will finish in August.

  5. Hi Joern, I am PhD student and staff of Center for Environmental Science, Addis Ababa University. I have finished the course work in June 2014. I have already developed concept note on Impact of tree crop interface on crop yield, soil nutrient, water efficiency, local biodiversity and micro-climate with old stands of indigenous tree in Ethiopia. Is there any possibility to take part on your proposed project

    • Dear Sileshi, in principle I am happy to find synergies, but for now, it’s not entirely clear yet where our field work will take place. This makes it difficult to give you a definite answer at the moment. Perhaps you could get in touch again in a few weeks (by email) and we could discuss it then? In the meantime, given the uncertainty, I’d encourage you to continue planning your work independently of ours. Best wishes, Joern

  6. Pingback: Postdoc 1 of 3: Quantitative analysis and global databasing of social-ecological systems | Ideas for Sustainability

  7. Pingback: Postdoc 2 of 3: Conceptual mapping of social-ecological systems worldwide | Ideas for Sustainability

  8. Pingback: Postdoc 3 of 3: Integrating food security and biodiversity conservation: case study in Ethiopia | Ideas for Sustainability

  9. Dear Joern,
    I am currently working on a post-doctorate in France. My contract expires in june 2015. Under this condition, is it still possible for me to apply for the postdoctoral research on “conceptual mapping of social-ecological systems worldwide” or am I missing the dead-line? Thank you in advance for your answer.

    • Dear Benjamin, thanks for your note. I think that’s a little late, so these particular job ads therefore may not suit you. Best wishes, Joern.

  10. Hi Joern, is there any dateline for presentation of interests in phd positions, being peruvian professional, forest engineer with MSc in Environmental management and auditing,

    • Hi Maria, most likely the official advertisement will come out in late 2014. I am hoping to fill this position at around June 2015 — so quite a bit of time still (unlike for the postdocs — job ads for those are out!). Cheers, J.

  11. Pingback: Four new PhD positions on the intersection of food security and biodiversity | Ideas for Sustainability

  12. Hi Joern
    I am very interested to take part in your research project and would like to apply for those PhD positions posted on your blog what will be the deadline that you will stop receiving applications?

    Thank you


  13. Dear Sir, I am graduate student from Nepal. I completed my MSc.Ag in 2011. I am working in “Climate Smart Village” project, a pilot project of ICIMOD in Nepal. I am looking for opportunities in Climate Change Field for my PhD. Can you please suggest me how I can search for this to hone my skills. Also please have a look of my project:

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