Multiple-scale agricultural foresight




Sunday, October 13, 2019

Start Date

Sunday, December 1, 2019

There is a significant risk of "Global" all-encompassing analyses of transitions becoming disconnected from what is actually happening on the ground, regardless of whether such work covers food supplies, agriculture, water management, biodiversity or climate change. Conversely, simply adding layers of solutions that work locally doesn't guarantee that they'll help solve global problems, given how significant the interactions between regions are. The main function of this position is to examine agricultural transitions across various scales, to produce solutions that are more relevant.

Working across all scales – local/sub-region/major region/global – raises three important questions:
(1) From the broad to the narrow, how can one inject global mecanisms/constraints into smaller scale analysis in a context of uncertainty (limit conditions, etc.)?
(2) From the narrow to the broad, how can one best assemble local knowledge –often variable in quantity and quality across regions –into the global analyses? 
(3) From a public policies standpoint, how can one articulate consistent policies across scales (issue of aligning governance across scales)?

The successful applicant will work on multiple-scale assessments of major agriculture strategies (agro-ecology, sustainable intensification, conventional intensification) to examine how they can help produce answers to issues such as food safety, socioeconomic development in rural areas, climate change mitigation and biodiversity protection, all against the background of changing climate and associated strategies for coping with it. To achieve this, the successful applicant will mobilize knowledge from multiple scales, especially regarding:
- Adapting global agriculture outlooks to regional, national and sub-national scales, based in particular on AgriMonde Terra and the first experiences of adapting this global foresight exercise at smaller scales (in Tunisia).
- Assessing soils potential for biomass energy and carbon storage, so that local economic and biophysical restrictions that may impact these strategies are taken into account in global outlooks.
- Improving irrigation strategies by blending in analyses at various scales – (i) farms; (ii) watersheds and the integrated management thereof; and (iii) groups of watersheds.
The successful applicant will use existing work on large-scale forward-looking modelling as a base.

Desired profiled

PhD in quantitative geography, economics or environmental science
Experience of modelling required

  • Expert knowledge of agronomy or life sciences appreciated
  • Geographical information systems management experience appreciated
  • English
  • Able to work together with a large number of research bodies working across multiple geographical scales and disciplines.
  • Able to fit into a process of finding contractual resources.