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Research Fellow (Valuing Intact Tropical Peatlands - Social Science) - AR2124HM

University of St Andrews - School of Geography and Sustainable Development

Location: Saint Andrews
Salary: £32,548 to £35,550
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 10th August 2018
Closes: 10th September 2018
Job Ref: 197102

Start Date: 1 October 2018 or as soon as possible thereafter

Fixed Term for 24 months

Applications are invited for a two-year postdoctoral research fellow to work on the project Valuing Intact Tropical Peatlands: An Interdisciplinary Challenge, funded by the Leverhulme Trust. The project will use participatory methods to develop an intercultural understanding of the value and meaning of peatlands in Amazonia. Thus far research in these ecosystems has focused on scientific agendas but if conservation and sustainable development programmes in the region are to be successful then local and socio-ecological/cultural perspectives must also be understood. The research fellow will be responsible for the social science elements of the research and will be one of three research fellows working on the project (the other two working on ecology/hydrology and remote sensing aspects of the project).

In collaboration with the project team and our Peruvian partners, the research fellow will work with communities living in and around peatlands in the Pastaza-Marañón Foreland Basin (in Loreto, Peru) to develop and implement a participatory research methodology to represent local values, meanings and concerns. We envisage this involving semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and group mapping exercises to frame and prioritise the research and sustainable development agendas. The PDRA will be required to participate in approximately four months of field work with a team, and to collect, analyse and publish the resulting social science-facing findings in appropriate formats for academic, national (e.g. policy) and local audiences.

Applicants should have a strong track record including a PhD in social science and fluent written and spoken Spanish. Experience of fieldwork in challenging, remote and/or tropical environments and of interdisciplinary working would be an advantage. The research fellow will work as part of the interdisciplinary Valuing Intact Tropical Peatlands project team which spans two universities (St Andrews and Edinburgh) and our project partner in Peru (Instituto de Investigaciones de la Amazonía Peruana).

At St Andrews the PDRA will join an established team of researchers working on the natural and social science aspects of peatlands in Amazonia and the Congo Basin: see They will be a member of the Environmental Change and GOSSIP research groups (, the latter directed by Professor Nina Laurie.

The School of Geography and Sustainable Development is a welcoming and supportive community. A wide range of career development opportunities and courses are provided by the University. The town of St Andrews is situated on the beautiful coastline of eastern Scotland.

The post will commence on 1 October 2018 or shortly thereafter, for 24 months.

For further information, please contact Prof Nina Laurie ( or Dr Katy Roucoux (

The University is committed to equality for all, demonstrated through our working on diversity awards (ECU Athena SWAN/Race Charters; Carer Positive; LGBT Charter; and Stonewall).  More details can be found at

Closing Date: 10 September 2018

Please quote ref: AR2124HM

Further Particulars: AR2124HM FPs.doc

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