Junior Assistant Professor: Bending the Curve – Biodiversity and Global Change (1.0 FTE)

Updated: 2 months ago
Job Type: Temporary
Deadline: 16 Sep 2022

The Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development at Utrecht University invites applications for a Junior Assistant Professor position in the Environmental Sciences group. We are searching for an open and curious natural science-oriented and quantitative scientist. With the aim to contribute to and support research on reversing the current loss of biodiversity worldwide and ensure the future provisioning of ecosystem services.
Terrestrial biodiversity is degrading rapidly as a result of human pressures. So-far, policies and conservation efforts have not halted this trend. In fact, scenarios show that due to increasing demand for resources, environmental pressures, and climate change, further degradation is expected – putting ecosystem services at risk. While policymakers have formulated ambitious targets at various scales, it is not clear that those can be met. The "Bending the Curve" initiative has started exploring scenarios that could achieve ambitious biodiversity targets. As part of this initiative, Utrecht University, Wageningen University & Research, and the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) are collaborating to set up a knowledge hub to support this initiative together with the research institutes working on "Bending the Curve".

Utrecht University is now searching for a Junior Assistant Professor who, as part of the hub, will support activities, perform original research and contribute to education at Utrecht University for a period of 6 years. The position will allow obtaining a PhD degree over those 6 years. In addition to coordinating activities to support the international network, the research will focus on scenarios that can stop further loss of biodiversity and even lead to recovery. For this, we will focus on key drivers of biodiversity loss, i.e. the expansion of agricultural land, climate change, nitrogen deposition and overexploitation – and look at possible options to reverse trends.

The research will focus on three case studies, i.e.:

  • the global scale;
  • the protection of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil and;
  • nature areas in the Netherlands.
  • Possible tools depend on the scale but include the IMAGE integrated assessment model at the global scale. The position offers a unique opportunity to contribute to new insights into a critical societal problem, collaborate with researchers within the international network, and combine this personal development with a PhD.

    Next to research, the position will also involve teaching, in which the candidate is expected to obtain the Basic Qualification Teaching.


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