One postdoc and one PhD researcher on sustainable sourcing policies




Thursday, February 25, 2021

Start Date

Thursday, April 1, 2021

PDF icon Position description in French

Researchers will contribute to the Biodiversa SUSTAIN-COCOA project on “Sustainable sourcing policies for biodiversity protection, climate mitigation, and improved livelihoods in the cocoa sector”, a collaboration between ETH-Zurich, SEI-Stockholm, UCLouvain, Alliance for Biodiversity and CIAT, and University of Queensland.

The UCLouvain – SEI team is led by Profs Patrick Meyfroidt and Goedele Van den Broeck, and Dr Erasmus zu Ermgassen at UCLouvain, and Dr. Toby Gardner at SEI.

Contracts will be based on Belgian regulations, depending on prior research experience, and will include the benefits of the Belgian social security such as health insurance.

Objectives: To investigate the conditions under which supply chain sustainability initiatives (SSIs) can lead to reduced deforestation and increased shade-tree cover in cocoa production systems and, in turn, a triple-win of increased biodiversity, climate change mitigation, and livelihood resilience, in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.

Research description: Within the project, the SEI-UCLouvain team will be in charge of several key tasks, mainly:

* Mapping subnational to export market cocoa supply chains in West Africa, contributing to the Trase initiative for supply chain transparency (

* Reviewing sustainable sourcing initiatives (SSI) taken by companies in the cocoa sector

* Assessing whether SSIs lead to measurable impacts on landscape-level tree cover and biodiversity

* Assessing company drivers of SSIs adoption, including perceived benefits, and barriers to their implementation

* Assessing the match between current SSI coverage and company goals.

The distribution of the work between the PhD and the Postdoc position will depend on the skills and interests of the selected candidates.

Profiles required: A researcher holding a Master (for the PhD position) or PhD degree (for the Postdoc position) in geography, natural sciences, economics, business, data science, or social sciences, with a background in sustainability issues, land use, data analysis, impact evaluation, agricultural economics, development, or related.

Several skills can constitute strong assets for these positions:

* Knowledge of and experience with the cocoa supply chain, and sustainability and development issues in the cocoa sector in West Africa.

* Outreach: the project will require engagement with key stakeholders across the supply chain.

* Data processing and programming skills in R or Python.

* Spatial analyses and GIS.

* Statistical analyses, in particular spatial statistics and impact evaluation methods.

* French language, especially spoken.


Beyond technical and methodological skills, the candidate should have interest and knowledge about land use, sustainability and development dynamics in Africa.

For both positions, the candidate should demonstrate a solid command of the English language. The successful candidate will also have the ability to work in a research team and to establish a local and international network.

Candidates should submit a CV and a cover letter detailing qualifications and research interests, and, for the Postdoc position, names and contacts of three referees to:

Prof. Patrick Meyfroidt -

The review of applications will start on February 25, 2021.

Starting date: Ideally 1st of April 2021.

Contact Name

Prof. Patrick Meyfroidt

Contact Email