Postdoctoral Research in Drylands Transform
University of Gothenburg School of Global Studies

Two-year Post-Doctoral Research Fellow for the Project ‘Drylands Transform’

Ref PAR 2021/287


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The School of Global Studies at the University of Gothenburg produces top-quality research, teaching, and public engagement on today’s key global challenges. The School’s work is highly international, cross-disciplinary, and policy-relevant. Environmental social science (ESS) at the School of Global Studies is a new and growing interdisciplinary subject that explores questions related to environmental change and unsustainable natural resource use in the context of both the global north and south. The overarching aim of ESS is to contribute to an increased understanding of complex environmental problems through the application and development of social science theory and methodology. Currently, the 20+ researchers within the ESS group are addressing a broad range of themes, including environmental governance and policy, sustainable development, green growth, environmental justice, traditional ecological knowledge, environmental education, political ecology, environmental conflicts, and marine resource use.

The School of Global Studies at the University of Gothenburg invites applications for a two-year full- time postdoctoral research fellowship in Environmental social science. The position forms part of the four year (2020 – 2024) multi-disciplinary research program Drylands Transform – Pathways & challenges toward a socio-ecological transformation of landscapes, livestock and livelihoods in the East African drylands ( The geographical focus of Drylands Transform is the cross-boundary area between Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan and Ethiopia, also known as the Karamoja cluster. The program is funded by the Swedish research council FORMAS and involves scholars from seven different universities and organizations in Sweden and the East African region. Within the overall aim of the project to contribute to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the East African drylands, the post-doctoral research fellow is expected to conduct his/her research with a specific focus on dryland governance.

Description of the post-doctoral project

Common characterizations of rangelands as marginal, remote and unproductive places have recently given way to an image of these lands as an untapped resource with a development potential that needs to be “opened up”. As a consequence, pastoralists and agro-pastoralists find themselves increasingly confronted by processes of privatization, fragmentation and commodification of land-based resources through infrastructure projects, exploitation of oil and minerals, agricultural expansion, land reforms, and expanding livestock trade. Following the new political and economic interest in East Africa’s dryland regions, and the land use- and livelihood changes that they generate, the governance of rangelands has emerged as an urgent and strategic academic as well as political challenge. Against this backdrop, the objective of the post-doctoral project is to explore the interplay between regional, national as well as sub-national natural resource institutions on the one hand; and land use practices and strategies at four empirical sites in Uganda and Kenya on the other hand.

Subject area

Environmental Social Science

Specific subject description

Dryland governance in East Africa

Job particulars

In close, multidisciplinary collaboration with other scholars within the Drylands Transform programme, the postdoctoral fellow will design and perform qualitative research in Uganda and Kenya. Based on the results of this research, the postdoctoral fellow is furthermore expected to
contribute to the design of a joint quantitative survey, as well as author single and joint publications.


Applicants are expected to hold a doctoral degree in environmental social science (a degree focusing on natural resource-, environmental or sustainability issues acquired within the social sciences or another area deemed relevant for the project). Preference will be given to candidates who have been awarded the doctoral degree no more than three years before the application deadline and who have not held a postdoc position within the same or similar subject area for more than one year. An older degree may be acceptable under special circumstances such as sick leave, parental leave, elected positions in trade unions, etc.


Applications will be judged against the following criteria:

(a) theoretical knowledge of pastoralist and/or agro-pastoralist dryland use and governance in the following areas of study: political science, development studies, sociology, political ecology, geography, gender studies, anthropology, economics or another area deemed relevant for the project;
(b) demonstrated skills in qualitative research as well as experience from combining qualitative and quantitative research methods and results;
(c) documented experience of doing empirical research in the East African drylands;
(d) interest in-, experience from-, and capacity to do research within a multidisciplinary and collaborative research context;
(e) Interest and ability to communicate research results to non-academic stakeholders and audiences
(f) Fluency in written and spoken English.

Terms of Employment

The position is a full-time employment for two years with a fixed term contract with 100 percent dedicated to research. Interviews will be held in August 2021. The latest starting date is January 1st 2022, or an earlier starting date per agreement.


Please include the following information with your application:

(a) Your contact details and personal data
(b) Your highest degree
(c) Your language skills

In addition, please include the following documents:

(a) Motivation letter describing your interest in and suitability for the position
(b) CV, including degrees and other completed courses, work experience, and a complete list of publications
(c) Copy of your PhD diploma
(d) Two letters of recommendation
(e) Publications (no more than 3 files)

For further information regarding the position

Please contact Dr. Per Knutsson +46709602665,


Union representatives at the University of Gothenburg:

Information for International Applicants

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How to apply

In order to apply for a position at the University of Gothenburg, you have to register an account in our online 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 of 31st of May 2021. The selection of candidates is made on the basis of the qualifications registered in the application. Any documents that are not available in electronic format should be mailed in 2 copies to: University of Gothenburg, Andrea Iriarte, School of Global Studies, Box 700, 405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden. Clearly quote reference number PAR 2021/287 when sending complementary documents.

Applications should be written in English.

For questions regarding the handling of the application portal or technical problems, please contact

Closing date: 31ST OF MAY, 2021

The University of Gothenburg promotes equal opportunities, equality and diversity.

Salary is determined on an individual basis.

Applications will be destroyed or returned (upon request) two years after the decision of employment has become final. Applications from the employed and from those who appeal the decision will not be returned.

In connection to this recruitment, we have already decided which recruitment channels we should use. We therefore decline further contact with vendors, recruitment and staffing companies.


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