Location: University of Ghana, and external Ph.D. at Wageningen University and Research in the Netherlands
Are you a Ph.D. interested in the coupled challenges of biodiversity loss, climate change, and food security? Are you interested in exploring how to scale up biodiversity-friendly behaviours, specifically consumption and production behaviours in the food system? Are you comfortable with both quantitative and qualitative research method? Are you interested in interdisciplinary research (particularly linking economics and system thinking)? Then, you could be the ideal candidate to join our project on “Transformative pathways for synergising just biodiversity and climate actions (TRANSPATH)”
TRANSPATH will engage with diverse stakeholders whose actions differentially affect and are affected by trade policies and associated ‘greening’ mechanisms. These include policymakers and practitioners, individuals, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and multinational corporations. Participatory methodologies will be used to understand the complex systems dynamics of interacting societal visions and pathways. The overall objective of TRANSPATH is: to use inclusive deliberative processes that identify leverage points and associated interventions for triggering and enabling transformative changes at the level of consumers, producers and organisations, thus accelerating diverse transformative pathways towards biodiversity-positive and climate-proofed societies, with sensitivity to social-cultural contexts and rights.
TRANSPATH case studies investigate key driver interactions within a range of diverse social-cultural contexts: Eastern Europe (case 1), Western Europe (case 2), West Africa (case 5), and Latin America (case 5). Case 5 specifically targets EU-teleconnection global commodity chains in West Africa and Latin America, and are thus both place-based and intervention-based. Case studies investigate the potential for social innovations, structural economic changes in global trade regulations, the EU’s financial sector, and drivers and interventions in global commodity chains.
Case 5: Teleconnected global value chain regulations and effects on land and forest protection/restoration: This case study investigates how to stimulate equitable, nature-based solutions with measurable benefits for both biodiversity and climate change. To what extent, and under what conditions, can nature-based solutions be driven by changes in the trade regime (case 3) or the financial sector (case 4)? What other value changes may be needed to trigger climate-proof, biodiversity-positive practices in these value chains? What are the boundary conditions for sustainable and equitable nature-based solutions to ensure that policies, including public procurement, do not infringe on people’s rights or lead to unintended consequences, such as land or water grabbing? This comparative case study will model the interactions of indirect drivers of change in a high-value global value chain (e.g., cacao) under different socio-economic and climatic environments, and subjected to different biodiversity policies. What is the future of restored land under scenarios of increased production in Africa (e.g., Ghana) and Latin America (e.g., Costa Rica)? Is there a risk of a boom-and-bust type of pattern in efforts to protect and restore biodiversity, and how can these be avoided? In addition, the criteria to judge successful restoration should be studied in the context of transformative change and community learning, focusing on removing the indirect drivers (structural and cultural) that caused degradation and deforestation in the first place.
The selected candidate will be situated at the University of Ghana and undertake an external Ph.D. at Wageningen University and Research in the Netherlands. This means that the selected candidate while situated at the University of Ghana will spend a couple of months at Wageningen University and Research in the Netherlands.
- you have completed a master’s degree in economics, environmental economics, agricultural economics, or a similar field; or are you a first-year University of Ghana Ph.D. student in economics, agricultural economics, or a similar field;
- you are interested in understanding how to shift the food system towards biodiversity-positive production and consumption;
- you want to explore the interventions that can trigger a transformation of the food system and the mechanisms through which those operate;
- you have experience with both quantitative and qualitative research methods;
- you are a team player who can communicate clearly and comfortably with scientists, consultants, and policymakers;
- you are interested in biodiversity, cacao value chains, the financial sector;
- you communicate well in English, written and orally;
- you have interest and demonstrable skill in publishing in renowned scientific journals.
How to apply
Send your CV and a one-page motivation letter to TranspathProject@gmail.com; the subject line should read Transpath Ph.D. application.
This vacancy will be listed up to and including Friday, December 2, 2022. We hope to schedule the first job interviews in the third week of December 2022.
The intended starting date is January 2023 or earlier (first year Ph.D.).