Postdoctoral Fellow in Regime Shifts

Stockholm University Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics

Sweden

Postdoctoral Fellow in Regime Shifts Stockholm

Ref. No. SU FV-1308-21

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at Stockholm Resilience Centre. Closing date: 7 May 2021.

The Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC) is a leading international centre in sustainability science for biosphere stewardship, at the Stockholm University.

The SRC currently employs some 130 members of staff. It was founded in 2007 and is a joint initiative between Stockholm University and the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics at The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

The Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation funded program, “Fundamental Research in Biosphere-based Sustainability Science,” is a strategic research collaboration and postdoc program between the Stockholm Resilience Centre and The Natural Capital Project, Stanford University. Postdoctoral fellows within this program will gain experience in problem-oriented, interdisciplinary collaboration in sustainability science and become key individuals in this field for the future. The selected candidate will work in this international and interdisciplinary team based in Stockholm and at Stanford.

Project description

Regime shifts - persistent reorganization in the structure and function of ecosystems that abruptly shift supplies of ecosystem services, have the potential to surprisingly disrupt the ability of nations to achieve the SDGs. Regime shifts have been documented in a wide range of ecosystems, well known examples include shifts from coral-dominated reef to algal-dominated reefs, and shifts from open to closed, wooded savannas. Even for well-known types of regime shifts such as freshwater eutrophication, the specific timing of regime shifts is difficult to predict in both theory and practice and therefore often comes as a surprise, which further exacerbates the challenges of managing and coping with such shifts. Furthermore, once they have occurred, regime shifts are often difficult or even impossible to reverse due to changes in system feedbacks. We have developed the Regime Shifts Database, which synthesizes available scientific information on the drivers, dynamics and consequences of different types of ecological regime shifts (https://regimeshifts.org/).

We are seeking a postdoctoral researcher to work with us to develop new tools to map the risk of regime shifts across the world’s ecosystems, to ideally estimate the risks of regime shifts and identify regions, people and activities that may be particularly at risk of regime shifts. We aim to combine existing understanding of regime shifts with heterogenous datasets, ranging from spatially explicit data with heterogeneous resolutions (e.g. GIS), remote sensing products, sub-national statistics, and even social media to better estimate risk and impact of regime shifts, and use these risks to inform decision-making.

There is substantial opportunity to combine machine learning and other techniques with geographical data to estimate where regime shifts are likely to occur or where the probability of regime shifts is high. We hope that such models can be trained on existing data on regime shifts from the regime shift database, however we expect that developing and training such approaches will require creating additional regime shift databases.

This task requires both knowledge of spatial data and the ability to develop simple, robust models that can be used to relate complex systems models to uncertain and partial information of ecological structures and dynamics.  We expect this work to initially explore a number of options and then focus on developing decision tools. It will require designing tools that are able to cope with uneven and missing data, and clearly communicate complex and uncertain findings to a general audience.

We would like a tool that estimates risk of regime shifts to be able to integrate with the InVEST (Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs) a suite of models that are used to map and value the goods and services from nature that sustain and fulfill human life (https://naturalcapitalproject.stanford.edu/software/invest). Identifying changes in risks for the abrupt change in the flow of ecosystem services would be an important addition to these models.

Main responsibilities

This goal will be achieved by working with an international team to:

  • Develop approaches to map estimated risk of regime shifts across landscapes and seascapes.
  • Develop approaches to estimate potential impact of regime shifts on human wellbeing.
  • Develop web-based data exploration tools to communicate regime shift risks.

Qualification requirements

Postdoctoral positions are appointed primarily for purposes of research. Applicants are expected to hold a Swedish doctoral degree or an equivalent degree from another country.

Assessment criteria

The degree should have been completed no more than three years before the deadline for applications. An older degree may be acceptable under special circumstances, which may involve sick leave, parental leave, clinical attachment, elected positions in trade unions, or similar.

In the appointment process, special attention will be given to:

  • Practical knowledge of Geographic Information Systems, spatial data analysis.
  • Practical and theoretical knowledge on machine learning applications. Experience with R, Julia or Python environments is an advantage.
  • Experience creating visualizations to communicate complex spatial data.
  • Record of publications in scientific journals.
  • Ability to take initiative and work independently and as part of a team.
  • Very good english language communication skills.

Terms of employment

The position involves full-time employment for a maximum of two years, with the possibility of extension under special circumstances. Start date as per agreement.

Stockholm University strives to be a workplace free from discrimination and with equal opportunities for all.

Contact

Further information about the position can be obtained directly from: 
Garry Peterson, garry.peterson@su.se, and Juan Carlos Rocha, juan.rocha@su.se.

Union representatives

Ingrid Lander (Saco-S), telephone: +46 708 16 26 64, saco@saco.su.se, Alejandra Pizarro Carrasco (Fackförbundet ST/Lärarförbundet), telephone: +46 8 16 34 89, alejandra@st.su.se, and seko@seko.su.se (SEKO).

Application

Apply for the position at Stockholm University's recruitment system. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the application is complete in accordance with the instructions in the job advertisement, and that it is submitted before the deadline.

Please include the following information with your application

  • Your contact details and personal data
  • Your highest degree
  • Your language skills
  • Contact details for 2–3 references

and, in addition, please include the following documents

  • Cover letter
  • CV – degrees and other completed courses, work experience and a list of publications
  • Research proposal (no more than 3 pages) describing:
    – why you are interested in the field/project described in the advertisement
    – why and how you wish to complete the project
    – what makes you suitable for the project in question
  • Copy of PhD diploma
  • Letters of recommendation (no more than 3 files)
  • Publications in support of your application (no more than 3 files).

The instructions for applicants are available at: How to apply for a position.

You are welcome to apply!

Stockholm University contributes to the development of sustainable democratic society through knowledge, enlightenment and the pursuit of truth.

Closing date: 07/05/2021

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In your application, please refer to Professorpositions.com

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