Postdoc position in Enhancing Biodiversity & Resilience in Crop Production

Updated: 21 days ago
Job Type: Permanent

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100%, Zurich, fixed-term

We invite applications for a 1-year postdoc position to conduct an evaluation of options for enhancing biodiversity and resilience in intensively managed agricultural systems. The project is funded by Bayer AG, who have direct interest in the research outputs.

Project background

The project has a focus on wheat, maize, and soybean systems in Brazil, France, Germany, and USA. The postdoc will be expected to work with local partners in these countries, recognising that there is likely to be many locally relevant studies and initiatives from which this project can draw. Other partners include International Food Policy Research Institute, University of Maryland, Iowa State University (USA), University of São Paulo (Brazil), Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (Germany), and the National Institute of Agricultural Research (France). Research will be primarily desk-based, but could involve international travel visits to meet with farmer communities.

Job description

The project is interdisciplinary. The postdoc will be responsible for delivering research on one particular work package, but will also be expected to contribute to the development of other work packages as necessary. This will require working alongside project partners and, crucially, another postdoc who will be working on economic and policy aspects. A project manager will also be part of the team with whom the postdoc will be expected to work closely.

The work will include reviewing and synthesising the literature (using systematic review or meta-analysis), and evaluating trade-offs associated with different interventions at farm and landscape scales. The work will draw on existing knowledge and information sourced from farmers, both to elicit plausible options and to validate research outputs in local contexts. The research will also take stock of new developments in machinery and robotics that might help to overcome some of the limitations or trade-offs associated with habitat interventions.

The project includes three research groups at ETH Zurich: Ecosystem Management, Sustainable Agroecosystems, and Agricultural Economics and Policy. Additionally, the World Food Systems Centre of ETH Zurich will also be involved in coordinating outreach activities.

The position will be hosted by the Ecosystem Management professorship ( ), supervised by Prof. Jaboury Ghazoul, and co-supervised by Prof. Johan Six (Sustainable Agroecosystems), both groups being in the Department of Environmental Systems Science at ETH Zurich. The project team at ETH Zurich comprises two postdocs and a project manager, supervised by Prof. Jaboury Ghazoul (Ecosystem Management), Prof. Johan Six (Sustainable Agriculture), and Prof. Robert Finger (Agricultural Economics and Policy). The two postdocs and the project manager will be hosted in the Ecosystem Management group, though will be supported by all three research groups.

Your profile

Applicants should have experience in ecology and agricultural sciences to undertake research on identifying, evaluating, and modelling options for enhancing biodiversity and resilience in intensive agricultural systems at farm and landscape scales.

We are seeking highly motivated applicants with experience in ecology and agricultural ecosystems science. Applicants might be expected to travel for short trips (around two weeks) to field localities to engage with farmers and project partners in Brazil, Germany, France, and USA.

The following skills or experience are expected:

  • A recent PhD in a relevant ecological, agricultural, or ecosystem management field.
  • Excellent quantitative and statistical skills.
  • Ability to review information from a variety of published sources, and synthesise this information both quantitatively and qualitatively.
  • Field-based understanding of relevant agricultural systems.
  • Excellent abilities in spoken and written English.

The following experience would be highly advantageous:

  • Good language skills in either French, German, or Portuguese.
  • Skills in either spatial or mechanistic modelling.
  • Use of meta-analyses for synthesis research and hypothesis testing.

The project will be conducted in collaboration with researchers, farmers, and industry partners, and strong interpersonal skills will therefore be essential.

ETH Zurich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.

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