Postdoc 'Transformation Transformation toward resilient ecosystems: bridging natural and social sciences (TREBRIDGE)’




Monday, February 28, 2022

Start Date

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, is an internationally networked aquatic research institute within the ETH Domain (Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology). Eawag conducts research, education and expert consulting to achieve the dual goals of meeting direct human needs for water and maintaining the function and integrity of aquatic ecosystems.

Our Department Environmental Social Sciences is offering a PostDoc Position (80-100%, 4 years) within the Swiss National Science Foundation Sinergia (a funding scheme targeted to support collaborative, interdisciplinary projects where breakthrough research is expected) Project ‘Transformation toward resilient ecosystems: bridging natural and social sciences (TREBRIDGE)’. This project addresses the challenge of transforming highly managed Alpine watersheds toward more resilient ecosystems to meet societal and ecological needs through an inter- and transdisciplinary approach. The project is organized in five work packages (WPs), assembling inter- and transdisciplinary scholars, geologists, geomorphologists, hydrologists, ecologists, economists and policy analysts. Through a structured process of science integration, the project (a) combines different disciplinary perspectives involved in the project to attain cohesive research results and tailored synthesis products (WP1), (b) develops and assesses scenarios through a participatory process by engaging with stakeholders and project partners to co-develop policy and management options (WP2). To do so, the project (c) quantifies the erosion and the sediment cascade in three case study regions (WP 3) and assesses whether and how different forest management practices have an impact on sediment production and transfer in the case study regions (WP 4). The project then (d) draws on the quantitative findings from WP 3 and WP 4 to assess the (non-)monetary values of material (e.g., sediment, timber) and non-material Alpine resources (e.g. ecological functions) based on societal preferences (WP 5). The project thus strives to provide a new level of integration across different disciplines as well as science, policy and practice to tackle one of the most important land management challenges of heavily engineered landscapes in European mountain regions: a transformation toward resilient ecosystems.

The PostDoc position is situated at the interface between different disciplines, fields and sectors. It contributes to the integration across boundaries of not only different disciplines but also policy and practice, by (a) developing integrative boundary concepts (e.g., ‘resilience’, ‘ecosystem services’, ‘transformation’) as well as integrative methods and tools (e.g., ‘context analysis’, ‘scenario development’), (b) co-elaborating a common conceptual framework, (c) generating tailored synthesis products for different target audiences (e.g. policy briefs), and (d) co-creating scenarios with different stakeholders through a participatory process. The position requires panoptic perspectives and strong interactions with all PIs, Post-Docs and PhDs involved in the project as well as with stakeholders from policy and practice from the local to the national level. Candidates should be open-minded, flexible, creative, curious, and motivated to work in an inter- and transdisciplinary environment.

Successful candidates must have earned an excellent PhD in integrative studies (environmental sciences, sustainability science, social sciences - e.g. sociology, political science -, science and technology studies, sustainability transformation) and must have experience in inter- and transdisciplinary research, and in the application of inter- and transdisciplinary concepts, methods and tools. We expect good integrative skills, and social and emotional intelligence. Fluency in German and English (spoken and written) is required, skills in French are an asset.