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Call for Applications: PhD position on international agricultural policy and environmental governance at the University of Kassel – apply by December 21, 2020

The University of Kassel is offering a PhD position to candidates who are interested in Nature´s Contribution to People (NCP) especially its role for human well-being. The focus will be governance and institutions in the Kilimanjaro Social-Ecological System.

About the project

The research project “The role of nature for human well-being in the socio-ecological system of Kilimanjaro Kili-SES” aims at understanding major components of the feedback loop between nature and people, including biodiversity, NCP, human well-being, governance and indirect and direct anthropogenic drivers. It applies a fully integrated, interdisciplinary approach to understand major components of the social-ecological system on the Southern slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania under land-use, climate, and governance change. Among others, it investigates

  1. the influence of a broad range of biodiversity components on the supply of regulating, material, and non-material NCP,
  2. the supply of NCP in relation to the demand for them by major stakeholder groups, the values they attach to them and their impact on different constituents of human well-being, and
  3. the direct effect of land-management and conservation measures on biodiversity.

The newly project on “Governance and institutions as drivers of NCP supply and management” looks at changes over the last 25 years and will investigate the relations between land-use types, related NCP, and stakeholders. Further, the project will address the questions of what, how and why institutions and governance arrangements affected the formation and change of certain land-use types, and how these arrangements are interlinked across spatial and jurisdictional scales. Finally, the distribution of power among actors and its effects on land-use as well as the performance of governance of issues, like water, biophysically interconnecting land use will be explored.


  • Excellent degree in social sciences (political science, geography, sociology, economics, sustainability science, agricultural economics). The required degree must be available no later than the date of recruitment
  • Expertise and interest in researching the role of governance and institutions in socio-ecological systems (agricultural systems) in the Global South (Tanzania)
  • Fluent in English, both written and spoken; Knowledge of German is an advantage
  • Relevant experience with quantitative, qualitative and interdisciplinary research methods (social network analysis)
  • Suitability for the tropics
  • Ability to work in a team with great initiative
  • Flexibility and willingness to work in Tanzania for a longer period of time


  • Research experience in the Global South
  • Relevant publications
  • Good knowledge of institutional approaches and environmental and resource economics
  • Interest in conceptual work
  • Interest in method development
  • Experience in working on large joint projects
  • Interest in researching power relations in agricultural resource management

If you are interested in the position and meet the requirements apply by December 21, 2020 or share this call with friends and colleagues who might be interested. Read more about details and how to apply here.


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