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Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, Faculty of Science at University of Copenhagen is offering a PhD scholarship in geography commencing 01.04.2018 or as soon as possible thereafter.  
Description of the scientific environment  
The successful candidate will be attached to the EU funded Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN): Operationalising telecouplings for solving sustainability challenges related to land use (COUPLED) and based in the research group ‘Environment and Society in Developing Countries’ at the Section of Geography, Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management. The group is interdisciplinary and works on a wide range of issues related to complexities of land use and land cover change, natural resource management, earth observation and societal processes. It is composed of eight permanent scientific staff and more than 25 PhD students and Post Docs.  
In order to be eligible, each applicant must fulfil the following criteria at the time of recruitment:  
  •  Mobility: At the time of recruitment, the applicant must not have resided or carried out his/her main activity (work, studies, etc…) in the country of the host organization for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to his/her recruitment. Compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays are not taken into account.  
  •  Qualifications and research experience: The applicant must fulfil the requirements defined for Early Stage Researchers (ESRs): ESRs are researcher who, at the time of recruitment, has NOT yet been awarded the doctorate degree and is in the first 4 years (full-time equivalent) of his/her research career.  
 Project description  
The objective of this PhD is to understand how certification of palm oil affects deforestation in Indonesia and Malaysia. By studying the certified palm oil trade link between EU and Southeast Asia and the uncertified palm oil link between Russia and Southeast Asia, the project will evaluate whether certification may have unexpected and indirect effects across the complex and globalised commodity networks. Such effects may lead to the strengthening or even expansion of systems that are considered unsustainable (e.g. involving clearing of conservation-value forests, degrading management practices or land grabbing) and hence undermine the efforts made in terms of sustainability governance. The successful PhD candidate will apply field surveys, spatial analyses and network analyses to understand flows and institutions linking actors at all levels to processes and spatial outcomes. On that basis, the candidate is expected to develop and evaluate tools and approaches allowing assessment of the impacts of certification on telecoupled systems. The research will lead to (1) Creation of knowledge on how telecoupling processes affect the environmental outcome of certification interventions and on how unwanted outcomes may be avoided (2) Development of new approaches that integrate place-based data-sets of a multidisciplinary nature with network analyses and (3) Development of methodologies to attribute impacts to drivers in telecoupled land use systems.  
Principal supervisor is Associate Prof. Thilde Bech Bruun, Section for Geography, Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, , Direct Phone: +45 3533 3412. Co-supervisor is Prof. Peter Messerli, University of Bern, Switzerland  
Job description  
The position is available for a 3-year period and your key tasks as a PhD student at SCIENCE are:  
  • To manage and carry out your research project within the framework of the COUPLED project  
  • Attend PhD courses, including the comprehensive course programme offered through the COUPLED project  
  • Write scientific articles and your PhD thesis  
  • Disseminate your research  
  • Two secondments will take place during the PhD: at the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil Production, Malaysia and at the University of Bern, Switzerland.  
Formal requirements  
Applicants should hold an MA/MSc (or the equivalent degree), in Geography, Development Studies, Environmental Science or related fields with good results and good English skills. We expect a strong interest in land system science, conservation and sustainability problems. Experience with both qualitative and quantitative research is an asset. The willingness to travel to the Global South is mandatory and research experience in Southeast Asia is an asset.  
Terms of employment  
The position is covered by the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff.  
Terms of appointment and payment accord to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State.  
The starting salary is currently at a minimum DKK 312.879 including annual supplement (+ pension up to DKK 43.219). Negotiation for salary supplement is possible.  
Application Procedure  
The application, in English, must be submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.  
 Please include  
  • Cover Letter, stating which PhD project you are applying for and detailing your motivation and background for applying for the specific PhD project.  
  • CV  
  • Diploma and transcripts of records (BSc and MSc)  
  • Acceptance Letter for the relevant MSc Programme at SCIENCE, if any  
  • Other information for consideration, e.g. list of publications (if any),  
  • Full contact details (Name, address, telephone & email) of 1-3 professional referees  
The University wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.  
The deadline for applications is 24.11.2017, 23:59 GMT +1. Applications received after the deadline for applications will not be considered.  
After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Interview Committee. Afterwards an assessment committee will be appointed to evaluate the selected applications. The applicants will be notified of the composition of the committee and the final selection of a successful candidate will be made by the Head of Department, based on the recommendations of the assessment committee and the interview committee.  
The main criterion for selection will be the research potential of the applicant and the above mentioned skills. The successful candidate will then be requested to formally apply for enrolment as a PhD student at the PhD school of Science. You can read more about the recruitment process at  
For specific information about the PhD scholarship, please contact the principal supervisor Associate Prof. Thilde Bech Bruun, Section for Geography, Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, , Direct Phone: +45 3533 3412.  
General information about PhD programmes at SCIENCE is available at  

Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.


Application deadline: 24-11-2017
Employment start: 01-04-2018
Working hours: Full time
Department/Location: Institut for Geovidenskab og Naturforvaltning

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