PhD studentships in ecosystem management

Application deadline 2 May, 2012.

Project title
Effects of participation in ecosystem management: a comparative study of biosphere reserves

Project description
Over the last few decades, there has been a trend within biodiversity conservation towards more integrated approaches, focusing on ecosystems rather than red-listed species, and encompassing broader societal goals of development and learning.

In parallel with this trend, there has been a shift in governance towards broader stakeholder participation. The effects of these trends are debated, as are the contexts in which such approaches are more or less appropriate.

The overall project, in which the PhD project is a part, aims at analyzing effects of
different types of governance arrangements in a larger set of so called biosphere reserves. Biosphere reserves are areas designated by UNESCO as learning sites for the reconciliation of biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.

In 2008, the research team conducted a survey of 144 biosphere reserves in 55 nations which showed that a broad spectrum of governance approaches are represented in the reserves, and that reserves that were managed in collaboration with local user groups were more likely to achieve their goals of sustainable development.

In 2013, the survey will be repeated, in order to analyze changes in governance over time. In addition, ecosystem change in the 144 sites will be analyzed using satellite data.

As a complement to these quantitative studies, qualitative case studies will be conducted in ten strategically selected sites with varying degrees of stakeholder participation, with the aim of analyzing how governance arrangements and the effects of these play out on the ground.

The PhD student will mainly focus on the case studies, but will also have the possibility to compare these with patterns identified in the larger data set. Fieldwork will be conducted in collaboration with master students at the Stockholm Resilience Centre.

The combination of interviews, document analysis, surveys and analyses of satellite data requires a student with excellent ability to learn and apply new methods.

The PhD student will supervised by Dr Lisen Schultz <> and Dr Örjan Bodin<> and will work within a multi-disciplinary team of researchers in natural resource management, political science and education. A PhD student in political science will also be employed in the project.

Applications will be assessed based on the following criteria:
- theoretical knowledge relevant to the research project
- practical experience and knowledge of relevance for the project
- knowledge of scientific theory and method
- analytical ability as demonstrated by a scientific report, paper or degree project thesis
- the applicants personal references
- gender equality aspects

Transdisciplinary knowledge/experience in social sciences and use of qualitative methods including interviews is strongly meriting as is knowledge and experience in GIS.

Nature of positions
A Ph.D position lasts four years and is a full time position. After acceptance of the PhD project plan prepared by the student in cooperation with the supervisor, the student will be employed on a doctoral studentship of currently 22 600 SEK/month. Up to 20% teaching or other work may be included in the position, which will then be extended accordingly, at most to 5 years. Salary increases follow the relevant salary scale.

More details about the project can be requested from Dr. Lisen Schultz.<mailto:[log in to unmask]>

Union representatives are Anqi Lindblom-Ahlm (SACO), Lisbeth Häggberg (Fackförbundet ST), tel. 0046 8-16 2000 (switch board) and Gunnar Stenberg (SEKO), tel. 0046 70-316 43 41.

The application should contain a letter of intent (one to two pages that explain why you are interested in working on this project, why you are interested in studying for a PhD, what you hope to accomplish during your PhD studies, and what skills you can bring to this project), curriculum vitae, copies of degree certificates and transcripts of academic records (all attested), a list of two persons who may act as referees (with phone numbers and email addresses), and one copy of your undergraduate thesis and articles, if any.

The full application should be labelled 'PhD-studentship Dnr 12/2012' and sent as one pdf-file to [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]> no later than 2 May, 2012.

The University of Aberdeen is a charity registered in Scotland, No SC013683.