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PhD scholarship in area-based conservation (ESR12)

Department of Food and Resource Economics, Faculty of Science at the University of Copenhagen is offering a PhD scholarship in area-based conservation commencing 1 September 2018 or as soon as possible thereafter.  
Description of the scientific environment 
The PhD student will be situated in the Section for Global Development, which forms part of the Department of Food and Resource Economics. The Section for Global Development hosts an interdisciplinary group of researchers who focus on understanding political, social, economic and institutional dynamics in relation to conservation and natural resources management. This PhD study will be part of the Marie Curie PhD network called Inspire4Nature and will include secondments to UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), a world leader in biodiversity knowledge and the executive agency of the United Nations Environmental Programme, UNEP, for biodiversity assessments, as well as BirdLife International, the world’s largest nature conservation partnership, whose work focuses on the conservation of birds, their habitats and global biodiversity. This is Project 12 out of 15 PhD positions currently available as part of the Inspire4Nature training programme, a EU Horizon 2020 MSCA-ITN project at the interface between the science and policy of international biodiversity conservation.
Project description 
While formal protected areas remain a cornerstone of present-day conservation practice, other forms of area–based conservation management, such as community-based governance approaches, are increasingly embraced. However, despite efforts to systematize and aggregate knowledge on these conservation areas outside formal protected areas, important knowledge gaps remain. No comprehensive global, regional or national datasets of such areas exist, and systematic information on their management regimes, governance structures, socio-political and geographic characteristics is lacking. Further, attempts at systematization and aggregation is challenged in some cases by poorly defined and dynamic boundaries of conservation areas and by the dynamic nature of their governance arrangements. Similarly, generalizable conclusions regarding the contribution of conservation areas to biodiversity conservation and sustainable development are evasive. In response to these issues, the PhD project will: (1) Review and describe existing databases and datasets with systematized and aggregated relevant data on conservation areas outside formal protected areas; (2) Review the literature on governance arrangements for and contributions of conservation areas outside formal protected areas to biodiversity conservation and sustainable development; (3) In one or more focal countries, collect and examine data on the location, extent and governance arrangements of conservation areas outside formal protected areas from various international and national databases and other sources and; (4) In at least one case country, assess the contribution of various conservation areas outside formal protected areas to the protection of biodiversity and sustainable development through a mixed methods approach that exploits existing systematized and aggregated datasets (e.g. on Key Biodiversity Areas, species distributions, ecoregions, and remote sensing data) as well as on-the-ground ethnographic field work. Read more about the project here
Principal supervisor is Professor Jens Friis Lund, Department of Food and Resources Economics, E-mail, Direct Phone: +45 3533 1767. 
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 through your research project and participate in network activities under the Inspire4Nature project 
  • Attend PhD courses 
  • Write scientific articles and your PhD thesis 
  • Teach and disseminate your research 
  • To stay at UNEP-WCMC and Birdlife for a total of around 11 months 
  • Work for the department 
  • At the time of commencement of the PhD study, applicants must not have been awarded a doctorate degree and must be within the first 4 years (full-time equivalent) of their research careers.  
  • Applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Denmark for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to their recruitment. 
  • Applicants must have an MSc degree or equivalent of relevance to the advertised position
Assessment criteria 
Applicants will be assessed on the basis of the following criteria: 
  • An MSc degree or equivalent of relevance to the advertised position with good results 
  • Good English language skills 
  • Experience with one or more of the following: (i) remote-sensing imagery analysis; (ii) quantitative data sets and statistical analysis and; (iii) ethnographic field work 
  • Experience with/knowledge of area-based conservation  
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 317.459 including annual supplement (+ pension up to DKK 43.852). Negotiation for salary supplement is possible. 
Application Procedure 
The application, in English, must be submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.  
Please include:  
  • The Inspire4Nature joint application form, completed and signed. It can be downloaded from here.
  • Cover Letter, detailing your motivation and background for applying for this specific PhD project. Please also indicate if you have applied for other Inspire4Nature PhD fellowships (if yes, which) 
  • CV, including list of publications 
  • A research proposal of up to two pages describing what you intend to do during the PhD study  
  • Diploma and transcripts of records (BSc and MSc) 
  • 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 16 April 2018, 23:59 (Central European Time). 
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 Professor Jens Friis Lund, Department of Food and Resources Economics, E-mail, Direct Phone: +45 3533 1767
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.


Jens Friis Lund


Application deadline: 16-04-2018
Employment start: 01-09-2018
Working hours: Full time
Department/Location: Department of Food and Resource Economics

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