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Researcher European Landscape Transitions

Vacancy #:   3990
Unit:   EU Nature-Based Solutions
Organization:   International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Location:   European Regional Office, Brussels, Belgium
Reporting to:   EU Programme Manager Nature-Based Solutions, SP
Work percentage:   100%
Grade:   A2
Expected start date:   01 October 2019
Type of contract:   Fixed-term
Closing date:   15 April 2019
PhD student managing trade-offs in agricultural landscape transitions: protecting cultural heritage versus rewilding

Do you want to make a contribution to the sustainable management of European Landscapes and do research as part of the European project TERRANOVA at the IUCN European Regional Office?

The TerraNova project aims to train Early Stage Researchers (ESR) working with policy makers and society with a deep appreciation of a wide range of sectors affecting landscapes, and to form a new generation of professionals and experts, capable of coproducing responses to the interdisciplinary challenges of land management that balance ecosystem services, cultural heritage and economic development with climate, environmental and social change, providing options for the future transition to a low carbon society.

Transitioning to a low-carbon future requires nature conservation, ecosystem restoration, rewilding, and implementation of nature-based solutions at landscape scale to contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation. Sustainable land use and management to secure food and energy supply and restoring the connection between people and nature are essential as well for making this transition. This requires landscape plans and policies that take into account planetary boundaries and an understanding of the benefits ecosystems provide, as well as trade-offs between various sectoral priorities, including biodiversity, climate change mitigation, sustainable food and energy supply, and cultural heritage.

Location: IUCN European Regional Office, Brussels, Belgium
Duration: The appointment will initially be for 1 year full time. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract can be renewed.
Expected starting date: 1 October 2019

Job description

The PhD position is part of the European Training Network TERRANOVA (H2020 ITN) in which 15 PhD fellows will collaborate to increase long-term understanding of landscape histories and land use strategies in Europe.

The objectives of this ESR position are to: (1) identify the geographic distribution and rewilding potential of abandoned agricultural land across Europe; (2) analyse the potential and constraints to alternative development trajectories of these areas particularly in relation to high risk cultural heritage or agro-biodiversity values; (3) conduct agent-based model analysis of abandonment areas at EU scale and of archaeological data generated by other researchers in the Terranova research project at regional scale to understand how changing human-environment interactions lead to alternative development pathways.

As a result, this ESR position will create an inventory of the costs of land abandonment for agro-biodiversity and cultural heritage, scientific papers documenting the drivers of alternative abandonment trajectories, an operational agent-based model to assess the human-environment interactions that lead to abandonment, and evaluated instruments and policies to guide the transition in directions that minimise negative trade-offs.

The ESR will be jointly supervised by Chantal van Ham (IUCN, Brussels), Marie-Alice Budniok (ELO, Brussels) and Prof. Peter Verburg (VU Amsterdam, Netherlands). Three secondments will take place: one at the European Landowners’ Organisation (ELO) on decision making and planning (3 months), one at the Martin Luther University in Halle-Wittenberg for training in ecology and rewilding (2 months), and one at VU Amsterdam, Netherlands, for experience in land system analysis (3 months). The candidate will be enrolled at VU Amsterdam for the doctoral degree.

Your duties

Under the direct supervision of the IUCN European Programme Manager Nature Based Solutions, the ESR will complete the research needed for the doctoral degree, participate in secondments and training required by the Terranova research project, and assist with other tasks as necessary. This assignment will include the following tasks and responsibilities:

• Complete the research tasks specified above and fulfil the requirements of the doctoral programme at VU Amsterdam;
• Analyze literature, conduct regional analysis and agent-based modelling;
• Publish scientific papers and deliver synthesis;
• Interact and collaborate with other PhD students in the project;
• Interpret and reconstruct scientific analysis in terms of landscape histories and (shifts in) climate and energy regimes;
• Participate in secondments, field schools and collaboration required by the Terranova project;
• Attend relevant agriculture, land use, climate change and nature conservation events and workshops as necessary;
• Follow relevant EU and international policy developments related to rewilding, nature conservation, agriculture, climate change and land use and interact on a regular basis with key actors in these fields.

Application Steps
• Check that you meet the conditions specified in “Eligibility Criteria” to qualify for applying: http://change-itn.eu/vacancies/eligibility-criteria/
o All researchers recruited in a Marie Sklodowska-Curie ITN must be Early-Stage Researchers (ESRs). A ESR shall, at the time of recruitment by the host organisation, be in the first four years of their research careers and not yet have been awarded a doctoral degree. The four years start to count from the date when a researcher obtained the degree which would formally entitle him/her to embark on a doctorate.
o Researchers are required to undertake transnational mobility (i.e. move from one country to another) when taking up their appointment. One general rule applies to the appointment of researchers: At the time of recruitment by the host beneficiary, researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of their host beneficiary for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the reference date. Note that the mobility rule applies to the beneficiary where the researcher is recruited, and not to beneficiaries to which the researcher is sent or seconded.
o For all recruitment, the eligibility and mobility of the researcher will be determined at the time of their (first) recruitment in the project. The status of the researcher will not evolve over the life-time of a contract.
• Please provide evidence that you meet the above mentioned eligibility requirements as an annex of your CV.
  • A Master’s degree in sustainable development, ecology, environmental science, geography or related topics;

• Strong interest in nature conservation, sustainable land use, climate change, social-ecological systems and/or cultural heritage;

• Skills in GIS and spatial analysis, experience modelling and quantitative data analysis;

• Good understanding of EU nature conservation, agriculture, climate change and land-use policies;

• Experience and ability to work in a multi-cultural environment, with a diversity of experts and stakeholders;

• Good communication, organizational and reporting skills;

• A motivated self-starter with an ability to work independently and meet tight deadlines without compromising the quality of outputs;

• Excellent written and spoken English skills (other languages are an asset);

• Good knowledge of Microsoft Office applications;

• EU citizenship or holder of an EU work permit.

Applicants are requested to apply online through the HR Management System, by opening the vacancy announcement and pressing the "Apply" button.

Applicants will be asked to create an account and submit their profile information. Applications will not be accepted after the closing date. The vacancy closes at midnight, Swiss time (GMT+1 / GMT+2 during Daylight Saving Time, DST). Please note that only selected applicants will be personally contacted for interviews.

Other job opportunities are published in the IUCN website: http://www.iucn.org/involved/jobs/

About IUCN

IUCN is a membership Union uniquely composed of both government and civil society organisations. It provides public, private and non-governmental organisations with the knowledge and tools that enable human progress, economic development and nature conservation to take place together.

Created in 1948, IUCN is now the world’s largest and most diverse environmental network, harnessing the knowledge, resources and reach of more than 1,300 Member organisations and some 10,000 experts. It is a leading provider of conservation data, assessments and analysis. Its broad membership enables IUCN to fill the role of incubator and trusted repository of best practices, tools and international standards.

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Working with many partners and supporters, IUCN implements a large and diverse portfolio of conservation projects worldwide. Combining the latest science with the traditional knowledge of local communities, these projects work to reverse habitat loss, restore ecosystems and improve people’s well-being.