Washington State/Brazil: WSU-Vancouver seeks Postdoctoral Associate

25 Jun

Postdoctoral Position: Socioecological Linkages between Food Security, Rural Livelihoods and Biodiversity Conservation in Greater Belo Horizonte, Brazil

The Urban Ecosystems and Agroecology Lab at Washington State University Vancouver invites applications for a postdoctoral researcher to take a leading role in an interdisciplinary project examining food security, rural livelihoods, and conservation ecology in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Belo Horizonte has been widely recognized for the success of its “right to food” programs over the past 18 years. Under the leadership of a municipal Secretariat of Food Security, Belo Horizonte has seen 50%+ decreases in infant malnutrition and mortality, and directly serves 100s of thousands of residents in this city of 2.5 million every year. This program also works with local, small farmers (generally 5-20 ha) who live in the surrounding Atlantic Rainforest/Cerrado Savannah transition region, a recognized “biodiversity hotspot.” Initial research indicates that direct and indirect support from the city programs may be supporting more “wildlife-friendly” practices among partner farms than their neighbors.  The postdoctoral associate will continue and expand on work with local farmers and the city government of Belo Horizonte, examining the socioecological links from urban food security to rural livelihoods and landscape biodiversity.  While the specific focus will depend on the skill set and interests of the successful candidate, the candidate will work primarily on developing an understanding of the sociopolitical and ecological connections among farmers and the Belo Horizonte programs (developing “thick descriptions” in Geertz’s terminology). It is expected that the candidate will spend most of the one-year term of the position in Brazil. Accordingly, expertise in fieldwork (interviews, surveys, etc.) from political science, sociology, or anthropology is highly desired. Position may be extended to a total of up to three years, contingent on procurement of further funding.  International candidates will be considered.

* PhD in Rural Sociology, Geography, Environmental Science, Agroecology, or related field
* Experience gathering and analyzing qualitative and quantitative social research data/mixed methods
* Fluency in Portuguese strongly preferred; candidates with strong fluency in a related language (e.g., Spanish, Italian) may be considered
* Experience conducting independent international research
* Comfort and skill with interdisciplinary research, communication, and collaboration, preferably in the area of sustainable agriculture or biodiversity conservation
* Ability and willingness to relocate to Belo Horizonte, Brazil for 6-8 months

To apply please submit a cover letter, CV, and three letters of reference to Dr. M. Jahi Chappell by email at m.jahi.chappell@vancouver.wsu.edu or at 14204 NE Salmon Creek Avenue, Science Programs, Washington State University Vancouver, Vancouver, WA 98686. Further information on the UEA lab can be found at http://directory.vancouver.wsu.edu/people/michael-chappell and http://research.vancouver.wsu.edu/uea-lab.

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