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University of Minnesota
Sunday, August 30, 2020
Saturday, August 15, 2020
The Natural Capital Project and the University of Minnesota’s Department of Applied Economics seeks a research fellow to work with an interdisciplinary collaborative research team to assess the degree to which current and future sustainability standards can lead to improved environmental, economic and social outcomes and to identify how these standards can be better designed to help society meet future demand while sustaining ecosystem services and biodiversity.
The project is an innovative, forward-looking academic-NGO-private sector collaboration between eight partners, including the University of Minnesota, the global membership association for credible sustainability standards, ISEAL, three global standard setting organizations and three corporate buyers of sugarcane, rubber and oil palm. The effort represents the first steps to connect commodity standards, reduce commodity impacts on the environment, and help governments and brands target sustainability investments. Sustainability forecasting methods will leverage predictive models that translate producer-level actions into predictions of landscape-scale environmental and social impacts that will be used to evaluate the outcomes of alternative scenarios of land use policy and climate change. Results of these analyses will be used to assess the ‘business case’ of partner strategies and to inform future standard design and procurement decisions. Additionally, data and models will be integrated into a ‘real-time’ decision support tool based on GeoDesign principles and then applied with stakeholders to design future standards and corporate sourcing strategies and assess the impacts of implementation.
The fellow will collaborate with a diverse team of academic, NGO and private sector professionals to investigate 1) how Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS) can help society achieve conservation and Sustainable Development Goals, 2) how VSS could be made even more impactful by building adaptability into standard design and criteria, and 3) where future VSS adoption efforts should be prioritized and targeted. The developed scientific methodology will be transferable to a wide range of commodities and regions and allow for any number of alternative policy scenarios.
This is a 24-month position that can begin as early as August 15, 2020 and is based in St. Paul, Minnesota with mentors Dr. Derric Pennington, Dr. Tim Smith, Len Kne, Dr. Justin Johnson and Dr. Steve Polasky.
Major Duties & Responsibilities:
Research Activities (75%):
Project Administration (25%):
This fellow opportunity is open to candidates of all nationalities, gender and age. Regardless of background, we are looking for highly skilled, interdisciplinary, action-oriented candidates.
APPLICATION DEADLINE: Preference will be given to complete applications submitted by August 30, 2020.
TO APPLY: Applications must be submitted online at https://humanresources.umn.
Dr. Derric Pennington