Postdoc Research Associate in Global Synthesis of Large-Scale Land Acquisitions


University of Alabama


Saturday, July 1, 2017

Start Date

Monday, January 15, 2018

Applications are invited for a 2-year position as a Postdoctoral Research Associate as part of a newly NASA-funded interdisciplinary project titled “The Global Land Rush: A Socio-Environmental Synthesis”. This project will conduct an integrated global synthesis of large-scale land acquisitions (LSLAs), a growing phenomenon in the global South as governments and transnational investors seek to secure access to land in developing countries to produce food, bio-fuels, and non-agricultural commodities. Consequences of LSLAs vary widely across the globe, ranging from land improvement and creation of new livelihood opportunities to land degradation and dispossession of land from local inhabitants. Distant connections between land systems are not new, but rising evidence indicates that such cross-scaled telecoupled socio-economic and environmental interactions as a result of LSLAs have grown stronger, with more rapid feedbacks.

Primary responsibilities will include: 1) acquisition, management, and analysis of LSLA locations and associated socio-economic, political, and biophysical data; 2) integration of spatio-temporal statistical analyses with remote sensing time series; and 3) synthesis of a large number of local case studies to infer common causes and consequences of LSLAs globally. The postdoc will work directly with Dr. Nicholas Magliocca (co-I) in the Department of Geography at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, but will also regularly work with Dr. Ariane de Bremond (PI) and Dr. Evan Ellicott (co-I) in the Department of Geographical Sciences at the University of Maryland, College Park.

The successful applicant will generate publications, build competencies in advanced geospatial and synthesis methods, gain experience in grant writing, and have the opportunity to mentor undergraduate students. Opportunities will be available to visit and collaborate with partners at the Centre for Development and Environment, University of Bern, Switzerland, as well as to visit one or more field sites associated with “Land Observatories” in Madagascar, Tanzania, Peru, Laos, or Cambodia. Professional development activities, such as attending professional meetings and skill-building workshops, will be encouraged and fully funded.

Qualifications: Candidates must have a PhD in one or more disciplines associated with Land System Science (e.g., geography, natural resource economics, sociology, political ecology, remote sensing). Proficiency with the management and analysis of geospatial data in geographical information systems (e.g., ArcGIS, QGIS, etc.) and experience with acquiring, managing, and harmonizing heterogeneous data types are required. Preferred candidates will also have experience with spatio-temporal statistical analysis (e.g., spatial regression, survival analysis), synthesis methods (e.g., meta-analysis, archetype analysis, qualitative comparative analysis (QCA)), and/or familiarity with remote sensing data and time series analysis.

Application Details: This position is based in the Department of Geography at the University of Alabama located in Tuscaloosa, AL. Salary will be commensurate with experience and includes benefits. This is a full-time, 12-month, fixed-term position with a start date of January 15, 2018, but that is flexible. Review of applications will begin July 1, 2017 and will continue until the position is filled. Apply online through the UA Department of Geography ‘postdoc pool’ using the following link:

Please direct questions about this position to Dr. Nicholas Magliocca (

Contact Name

Dr. Nicholas Magliocca

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