Sustainable Land Use in Russian agriculture

Updated: about 2 months ago
Deadline: 19 Sep 2021

(ref. BAP-2021-665)

Laatst aangepast : 25/08/2021

The Society-Environment Interactions Research Group within the division of Bio-economics is looking for a Research Assistant to conduct research on Russian Agriculture’s Potential for Food Production, Rural Development, Climate Mitigation and Adaptation The researcher will be linked to the EraNet project on “Exploring Russian Agriculture’s Potential for Food Production, Rural Development, Climate Mitigation and Adaptation: The Role of Land Use Changes, Technological Upgrading and Policies”. The candidate should preferably start in Autumn 2021 and will be based at the Arenberg campus in Leuven (Heverlee), Belgium. The project: Exploring Russian Agriculture’s Potential for Food Production, Rural Development, Climate Mitigation and Adaptation: The Role of Land Use Changes, Technological Upgrading and Policies Project summary: Widespread areas of abandoned agricultural lands are located in Russia. However, it remains largely unstudied whether abandoned lands should be re-cultivated to ensure stable food supply, particularly considering projections of increasing climatic sensitivity of the southern breadbasket regions in Russia. Little is also known about the potential of regions with large abandoned land areas to sequester carbon (C) in agriculture and through that contribute to and benefit from green growth of the Russian economy. The demand for re-cultivating abandoned agricultural lands will largely depend on the impact of climate change (CC) on agricultural productivity in highly productive regions as well as regions with marginal land productivity. However, earlier studies failed to explain the impact of CC on recent trends in agricultural productivity in Russia. This situation induces high uncertainty about country´s capacities to counteract negative implications of CC in agriculture. In this context, there is urgent need for enhanced knowledge about the climatic sensitivity of Russian agriculture, especially given that major changes in Russian farms technology and land use were not examined yet. In this context, we build an international multidisciplinary research team to study Russia´s agriculture potential to meet triple challenge: increase food production, foster rural development, and mitigate and adapt to CC. To this end, the project will (i) assess impacts of recent LU changes and technological progress on climatic sensitivity of Russian agriculture and generate updated CC impact projections at the national and regional levels; (ii) model and simulate C sequestration and CO2 emissions for different LU scenarios; (iii) examine economic effectiveness of alternative LU options for selected study regions; and (iv) identify policy measures for increased adoption of sustainable LU practices based on stakeholder involvement and assessment of farmers´ attitudes and preferences. Key activities of the research assistant: Within the project, the research assistant will focus on (1) investigating Russian farms´ willingness to adopt land use practices aimed at simultaneously mitigating climate change, reducing vulnerability to climate change and improving rural livelihoods; and on (2) identifying policy measures for increased adoption of sustainable land use practices based on stakeholder involvement and assessment of farmers´ attitudes and preferences. The aim is to investigate features of policies providing sufficient incentives to adopt sustainable land practices in Russian agriculture. To this end, s/he will rely on a mixed method approach that combines qualitative interviews with stakeholders with a specifically designed farmer survey that includes a choice experiment.


Responsibilities

Concrete tasks include
Development of policy framework which includes a structured comparison of policy instruments to adapt to and mitigate climate change in agriculture;
Mapping alternative land uses and their associated environmental services;
Identification of factors that affect the (non-) success of payment for ecosystem services schemes (PES) based on qualitative interviews;
Collection of farm survey data, including discrete choice experiment, among Russian farmers (with the help of enumerator teams);
Analysis of above mentioned data.

Next to the project related activities, the researcher will
Take part in the teaching activities organized at the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences;
Supervise Master thesis students in collecting field data and analysis of the results.


Profile

Master degree in Bio-Science Engineering, Geography, Economics or a Master’s degree with great affinity with sustainable food production and land use.
Proficiency in quantitative and qualitative socio-economic survey methodologies (e.g. quantitative surveys, focus group discussions and/or field experiments) would be an advantage.
A background in statistical and econometric methods would be a plus.
Interested to work in an international and multicultural environment around agriculture and food.
Strong communication skills, both orally and in writing, in English. Knowledge of Russian would be a plus.


Offer

A dynamic working environment consisting of motivated and competent researchers and engineers, where quality, professionalism, diversity and respect for social and cultural differences are among the basic values.
A work environment in which bridging research, project management, education and outreach is central.
A one year position (linked to a salary in academic staff scale 43 (https://www.kuleuven.be/personeel/jobsite/werken-bij-kuleuven/werken-bij-kuleuven)), that can be extended (up to 2.5 years) after positive evaluation.


Interested?

For more information please contact Prof. dr. ir. Liesbet Vranken, tel.: +32 16 32 23 95, mail: liesbet.vranken@kuleuven.be.


KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at diversiteit.HR@kuleuven.be.


View or Apply

Similar Positions