Postdoctoral Fellow in Social Science
University of Queensland


About UQ

As part of the UQ community, you’ll have the opportunity to work alongside the brightest minds, who have joined us from all over the world, and within an environment where interdisciplinary collaborations are encouraged.


As part of our commitment to research excellence, we are proud to provide our staff with access to world-class facilities and equipment, grant writing support, greater research funding opportunities, and post-fellowship contracts via our UQ Amplify initiative.


At the core of our teaching remains our students, and their experience with us sets a foundation for success far beyond graduation. Not only do we have one of the largest PhD enrolments in Australia, but we have also made a commitment to making education opportunities available for all Queenslanders, regardless of personal, financial, or geographical barriers.


About This Opportunity 

The position will undertake primary research on the socio-political, cultural and environmental implications of the expansion of high-value horticulture for the contested regional politics of (a) land and development, (b) labour and livelihoods, and (c) natural resources and environmental governance. The project will analyse how incorporation within agricultural global production networks interacts with diverse drivers of multifunctional landscape change in the north-eastern coastal strip region of Australia (from Coffs Harbour to Cairns), and critically consider how pre-existing regional economic, social and environmental factors influence the form of, and tensions around, the development of high-value horticulture. This will contribute to improving pathways to a more sustainable and equitable future for rural regions within Australia, and elsewhere in the world.


The role will work closely with researchers located at The University of Queensland, The University of Sydney and James Cook University, as part of an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant.


As a research focused Level A academic, the incumbent will be supported and guided by more senior academic research staff with the expectation of an increasing degree of autonomy over time.


Key responsibilities will include: 



  • Undertake and contribute to collaborative, multidisciplinary qualitative research that advances knowledge about the relationship between high-value horticultural networks and multifunctional rural landscapes (land, labour and environments) in Australia's north-eastern coastal strip.

  • Apply qualitative research methods together with the analysis of geographical, financial, land and media data to explore key research questions and issues related to global production networks in horticulture in Australia.

  • Undertake substantial field research and analysis across four case study sites in coastal QLD and NSW (Coffs Harbour/Grafton, Richmond-Tweed, Wide Bay and Cairns).

  • Apply prior knowledge of: theory related to global production networks or global value chains; current issues facing the agricultural/horticultural sector, either in Australia or elsewhere; and key factors shaping rural and regional development, including multifunctionality and/or emergent forms of social and environmental governance.

  • A high level of research project management and close collaboration with industry and community partners, as well as the multi-institutional research team.

  • Produce quality research outputs consistent with discipline norms by publishing or exhibiting in high quality outlets.

  • Participate in applications for competitive research funding to support projects and activities.

  • Work with colleagues in the development of joint research projects and applications for competitive research funding support.

  • Contribute to progressing towards transfer of knowledge, technology and practices to research end users through translation, including commercialisation of UQ intellectual property.

  • Develop a coherent research program and an emerging research profile.

  • Review and draw upon best practice research methodologies.


Citizenship and Service

  • Demonstrate citizenship behaviours that align to the UQ values.

  • Shows leadership of self through collaboration and active participation in priority activities for the unit

  • Provide support to other academic positions and unit operations as needed during other team members absences.

  • Contribute to internal service roles and administrative processes as required, including participation in decision-making and service on relevant committees.

  • Collaborate in service activities external to the immediate organisation unit.

  • Begin to develop external links and partnerships by cultivating relationships with industry, government departments, professional bodies and the wider community.



  • This position will require travel (domestic and international).


This is a research focused academic position. Further information can be found by viewing UQ’s Criteria for Academic Performance.


This is a full-time, fixed-term position for up to two years at Academic Level A. The full-time equivalent base salary will be in the range $74,308 - $99,426, plus a generous super allowance of up to 17%. The total FTE package will be up to $86,941 - $116,329 annually. 


The greater benefits of joining the UQ community are broad:  from being part of a Group of Eight university, to recognition of prior service with other Australian universities, up to 26 weeks of paid parental leave, 17.5% annual leave loading, flexible working arrangements including hybrid on site/WFH options and flexible start/finish times, and genuine career progression opportunities via the academic promotions process.


About You  

  • Completion or near completion of a PhD in a social science discipline (for example sociology, human geography, anthropology, political science, development or social policy).

  • Background in one or more key areas of social-scientific study related to sustainability in food systems, such as: agrifood political economy, cultural studies, environment studies, community development, labour futures, and/or science technology & society.

  • Excellent knowledge, skills and demonstrated expertise in qualitative research methods, particularly with food system stakeholders (growers, distributors, processors, consumers), food industry organisations and government departments, and community groups (such as Indigenous or environmental groups). This includes experience in conducting interviews with a range of stakeholders, organising focus groups, and conducting online industry analysis, as well as competence with qualitative data analysis tools such as NVIVO.

  • Excellent knowledge of the social, cultural and/or political dynamics of sustainable food systems and regional development, including social, economic and environmental processes that affect people who are living in food producing regions.

  • A record of conducting policy relevant research and experience engaging with government, industry and not-for-profit partners on funded research projects.

  • A demonstrated ability for research project management, including in national-level projects and/or cross-disciplinary teams.

  • Ability to work effectively across the Centre for Policy Futures in multidisciplinary research teams, with the ARC project team across universities, as well as ability to work independently.


In addition, the following mandatory requirements apply:

  • Work Rights: You must have unrestricted work rights in Australia for the duration of this appointment to apply. Visa sponsorship is not available for this appointment. 

  • Background Checks: All final applicants for this position may be asked to consent to a criminal record check. Please note that people with criminal records are not automatically barred from applying for this position. Each application will be considered on its merits. 



For more information about this opportunity, please contact Dr Kiah Smith.  For application queries, please contact stating the job reference number (below) in the subject line. 

Want to Apply? 

All applicants must upload the following documents in order for your application to be considered:

  • Resume

  • Cover letter

  • Responses to the ‘About You’ section


Please note that you will be asked to add all documents into the one upload box labelled ‘resume’, which is step one of the application form.

Other Information 

At UQ we know that our greatest strengths come from our diverse mix of colleagues, this is reflected in our ongoing commitment to creating an environment focused on equity, diversity and inclusion.  We ensure that we are always attracting, retaining and promoting colleagues who are representative of the diversity in our broader community, whether that be gender identityLGBTQIA+cultural and/or linguisticAboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples, or people with a disability. Accessibility requirements and/or adjustments can be directed to 


If you are a current employee (including casual staff and HDR scholars) or hold an unpaid/affiliate appointment, please login to your staff Workday account and visit the internal careers board to apply for this opportunity. Please do NOT apply via the external job board.


Applications close Wednesday, 9 August 2023 at 11.00pm AEST (R-24590).

Please note: Applications will be reviewed as received. Candidates may be interviewed prior to the job closing date. We encourage candidates to apply as soon as possible. The University of Queensland reserves the right to close this application process early.

If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Socioloxy


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