Doctoral researcher on landscape chains


University of Kassel


Monday, July 1, 2019

Start Date

Sunday, September 1, 2019

The University of Kassel is a young university with ca. 25.000 students. It comprises an unusually wide range of disciplines, with expertise in the natural and social sciences, engineering and humanities.

The Faculty of Organic Agricultural Sciences, Social-Ecological Interactions in Agricultural Systems group (Prof. Dr. Tobias Plieninger) offers the following position, starting date: 01.09.2019.

Doctoral researcher (EG 13 TV-H)

This is a part-time position with 65% of the working hours of a full-time employee (currently 26 hours) and a fixed-term position of three years (position for academic qualification corresponding to § 65 HHG i. V. m. § 2 Abs. 1 Satz 1 WissZeitVG). The position is integrated into a research project funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG): “LANDSCAPE CHAINS - Linking places and processes for sustainability: Social-ecological dynamics and value chains of Mediterranean landscape products”. LANDSCAPE CHAINS aims to identify leverage points that support a transition to sustainable landscape management in the value chains of products associated to distinct Mediterranean landscapes. This exciting project offers an interdisciplinary research agenda that addresses landscapes and value chains as a critical link between distant places and processes. The research associate will study how the value of landscape products is captured in four multifunctional landscapes in the Mediterranean, and how goods, financial resources, and information about these landscapes are transmitted along the value chains to and from the distant places of distribution / consumption. Value-chain analyses, multi-site ethnographies, and semi-structured interviews will be combined to elicit the knowledge, relationships, values, and practices of different actors along the value chains.

Key tasks:

·        Designing and performing a sub-project that analyses how value chains of landscape products (cork, nuts, and other tree crops) create linkages between producer landscapes and places of consumption

·        Contributing to the social-ecological synthesis of the project

·        Publication of project insights in scientific journals and other outlets for multiple target groups

Your profile:

·        Master degree in ethnography / economic geography / human ecology / sustainable food systems or related fields within the environmental social sciences

·        Knowledge of ethnographic and ideally value-chain analysis approaches

·        Experience in conducting surveys in the field, using (qualitative and quantitative) participatory methods, and ability to perform fieldwork under challenging conditions

·        Familiarity with concepts and approaches of sustainability science (ecosystem services, multifunctional land use, social-ecological systems)

·        Excellent written and oral English (and ideally French) communication skills

·        Experience in working cohesively in an interdisciplinary team environment

·        Skills to publish in international journals

We offer:

·        A collegial and open-minded working atmosphere within a team of highly motivated researchers from different scientific backgrounds covering all career stages

·        A unique experience of conducting place-based research in four rural areas in Portugal, Spain and Morocco together with an interdisciplinary research team and local stakeholders

·        The opportunity of carrying out your PhD in an international setup and contributing to the growing research field of landscape sustainability

Witzenhausen is a lively and beautiful university town famous for its sustainable agriculture bachelor and masters programs. It is within a short commuting distance by train from the cities of Kassel and Göttingen, which are nodal points in the German railway system and therefore very well connected by train to the rest of Europe.

Application deadline: 01.07.2019

Please submit your application, preferably in digital form as a single PDF document. Application documents should include: motivation letter, CV, Master and Bachelor level certificates and transcripts, and names and contact details of two academic references. Please address all selection criteria under clearly labeled headings in up to one short paragraph each. Applications indicating the Position Number, which may be in digital form, should be sent to the President of the University of Kassel, 34109 Kassel, Germany or, quoting the reference number 32369. For further information please contact Prof. Dr. Tobias Plieninger, E-Mail:

The protection of your personal data is important to us, therefore we will handle your personal data carefully. If you give us your data, you allow us to store and use them in accordance with the Hessian Data Protection and Freedom of Information Act. You can object to this at any time. Your personal data will then be deleted.

The University of Kassel is an equal opportunity employer and aims at a clear increase of the proportion of women in research and teaching. Qualified women are therefore expressly requested to apply. Under the precondition of equal qualification, disabled persons will be preferred.

Contact Name

Prof. Dr. Tobias Plieninger

Contact Email