Studierende finden an der ETH Zürich ein Umfeld, das eigenständiges Denken fördert, Forschende ein Klima, das zu Spitzenleistungen inspiriert.
The Ecosystem Management group at ETH Zurich is offering a 4-year PhD position to explore options and test scenarios for landscape transitions within the frame of delivering land-based contributions to national net-zero carbon ambitions. The project includes collaboration with the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, and Bangor University in Wales.
Many countries in Europe have pledged to deliver on net-zero carbon targets by 2050 or earlier. Land use and landscape governance provide opportunities to contribute to these targets through changes in land cover and land management. Such opportunities include changes in agricultural processes and practices, forest and woodland establishment and restoration, and peatland rehabilitation. To deliver just transitions that accommodate the interests and needs of a diverse set of stakeholders, such actions need to be negotiated across stakeholder interests, and in full recognition of the multiple trade-offs and conflicts that exist. This requires mechanisms for collective engagement across sectoral interests and across social and governance hierarchies.
This project aims to
Our project aims to integrate stakeholder interpretations of, and aspirations for, current and future landscapes (Objective 1) with spatially explicit ecological knowledge (Objective 2) to construct participatory models (Objective 3) through which stakeholders can collaboratively design, test and evaluate options for landscape transitions. We will use the Companion Modelling approach and will draw on extensive ecological models and databases to construct participatory modelling platforms in the form of Role-Playing Games by which to elicit and explore scenarios of landscape change. Such scenarios will additionally be framed by proposed policy, governance, and financing concepts.
The broader context is the delivery of net-zero carbon futures through land-based approaches, and specifically through the management of upland landscapes in Scotland and Wales. The upland regions of the UK offer the best prospects for forest establishment (for the purposes of timber production, ecosystem service provision, and biodiversity), but also include extensive areas of carbon-rich peatlands, and a variety of other land use interests including hill farming and sporting and recreational activities. Trade-offs among these different land uses provide a complex and challenging arena for deliberation, but one that is also rich in opportunities for developing integrated and participatory landscape visioning and planning processes.
The project will draw on natural and social science approaches to interpret and negotiate possible futures through participatory modelling. We will, in selected upland regions in Scotland and Wales, integrate existing datasets and process-based models with social knowledge to design and build interactive ‘role-playing game’ models. These participatory landscape models allow strategies towards desired possible futures to be explored, evaluated, and negotiated across a range of stakeholder interests. Using these approaches, we will test different hypothetical interventions (e.g., policies, financial structures, or management propositions), and will visualise outcomes that result from the behaviours and decisions of participating stakeholders.
Through an iterative process of biophysical and participatory modelling, we will identify and refine options for, and likely outcomes of, different implementation pathways in the context of policy, governance, and management approaches to landscapes. Working across broad stakeholder representation, the project will build and apply deliberative platforms that facilitate the emergence of negotiated solutions for future landscape transitions, while generating new knowledge on the functioning of socio-ecological upland landscapes.
You should expect to conduct research on the three aims given above. This will require application of Companion Modelling approaches (for which training will be provided), and extended periods of field-based work in Scotland and Wales. You will work with academics and practitioners, drawing on their knowledge and expertise to develop synthetic understanding of socioecological complexities. This will include the use of social science methods, including Q-sort, and syntheses of natural science evidence and models on ecosystem dynamics. You should expect to integrate social and natural understanding into a participatory role-playing game model through which different scenarios with a variety of stakeholders will be elicited and tested. The student will be supported by supervisors providing expertise in both natural and social science approaches, and in Companion Modelling methods. It is also expected that you will interact with other academics as necessary, as well as stakeholders and representative bodies in Scotland and Wales.
The following attributes, qualifications, and experience would be highly advantageous:
Owing to regular travel requirements between Switzerland and the UK, the position would be most suited to Swiss, EU, or UK applicants. Other applicants are welcome to apply, but would need proof of residence and work permits prior to the start of the PhD.
We look forward to receiving your online application with the following documents:
The selection process is based on a motivation letter, CV, and interview for shortlisted candidates. The deadline for applications is September 30, 2021. We expect the position to start on January 1, 2022, though earlier start is possible.
Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.
Further information about the Ecosystem Management group can be found on our website . Questions regarding the position should be directed to Prof. Jaboury Ghazoul, email@example.com (no applications).
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