PhD position in Policy Network Analysis available – call for application

PhD opportunity within the International Forest Policy research team

Context and aim
Forests are high on current climate policy agendas, with REDD+ featuring prominently among other efforts to reduce emissions. Yet, forest frontiers in the Congo Basin and elsewhere in the tropics experience increasing forest loss. Policy networks connecting diverse actors and spanning global to local levels (i.e. in the DR Congo), shape decision-making processes over climate policies, forestlands and forest-dependent people. Unpacking politics and power relations embedded in these networks can inform effective, efficient and equitable climate and forest action.
The GCS REDD+ project, led by CIFOR, Indonesia, to which this PhD position will contribute, builds on decades of CIFOR & partners’ efforts to understand the causes of deforestation and forest degradation in the Global South. A large dataset with policy network data collected 3 times over the past 10 years in countries such as Brazil, Indonesia, Vietnam, and 2 times in DRC is already established and ready for further analysis.
In Helsinki, the selected PhD candidate will be part of a larger team of four other PhD candidates related to the FOREQUAL project, which pays particular attention to social and environmental justice in forest and climate governance initiatives such as REDD+. The work will be conducted as a collaborative effort of the University of Helsinki together with the University of Kinshasa and CIFOR.

Required qualifications and skills
The successful applicant will continue policy network data collection (in DRC), and contribute to the comparative analysis of the existing set of longitudinal multi-country REDD+ policy network data to explore how international and national actors, their linkages and related material and immaterial flows influence and shape outcomes of a wider climate and forest governance, and specifically of REDD+.
MSc degree in social sciences (political science, development studies, human geography, law and related fields),
- Advanced knowledge of theory and methods of Social Network Analysis, experience with analysis of multiplex/multilevel networks in R,
Scientific proficiency in French and English is a necessary requirement.
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- Previous research experience related to forest governance and REDD+ is of advantage;
- Personal skills to work in large, highly diverse research teams and ability to engage in outreach activities and communication of scientific knowledge beyond academic spheres would be an advantage, too.

Location and funding
The selected PhD candidate will be based at the Department of Forest Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland, with extensive stays in the DRC and Indonesia, in collaboration with the University of Kinshasa, DRC and CIFOR in Bogor, Indonesia. The selected candidate will receive a grant of 1500 EUR monthly for a period of 30 months (possibility of extension), with costs for fieldwork being covered by the project.

To apply, please submit the following documents in English:
1) Cover letter explaining your interest, motivation and expertise for the position (1-2 pages maximum)
2) Curriculum vitae (incl. indication of language skills)
3) Provide contact information of 2 referees
4) List up to 3 most relevant courses (incl. your academic performance/grades) related to quantitative analysis, in particular social network analysis
5) Brief research proposal providing an overview of the proposed PhD research and your initial research questions, brief insight in underlying theory/conceptual framework and methods, and key references used (2-3 pages maximum)

Application Deadline
31 October 2021 by 17:00 Helsinki/Finland time
Selection Process
A short list will be made by a selection committee on the basis of application materials. Candidates on the short list will be asked for an online interview in November 2021.
E-mail your application materials to:
Maria Brockhaus
Professor of International Forest Policy
University of Helsinki
E-mail:maria.brockhaus@helsinki.fi