PhD positions: political ecology and ecological economics of deforestation in the Amazon

** Posted on behalf of Lorenzo Pellegrini **

The International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) of Erasmus University Rotterdam (The Netherlands) and Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) seek to fill several fully-funded PhD positions to join an exciting and dynamic multidisciplinary group conducting research on the political ecology and ecological economics of deforestation in the Amazon in Brazil, Ecuador and Peru. Successful candidates will be expected to develop and pursue their individual PhD research while contributing to a project carried out by an international consortium of academics, activists and non-governmental organizations. Given the interdisciplinary nature of the broader project, we are particularly interested in candidates with an interdisciplinary background as well as willingness to conduct long‐term participatory field research in the Amazon. The selected candidates will pursue their degrees as part of the ISS PhD in Development Studies.

‘All eyes on the Amazon’
The positions are embedded within the ‘All eyes on the Amazon’ project, which brings together 11 institutions from Europe, North America and South America to work towards the goal of combatting deforestation in the Amazon. Consortium partners include Greenpeace, Hivos, World Resources Institute, Digital Democracy, Witness, University of Maryland, and COICA. Within this consortium, ISS is chiefly responsible for monitoring and evaluating the impact of anti-deforestation strategies both in terms of concrete outcomes as well as through the assessment of socio-economic and environmental institutions. Anti-deforestation strategies of the project rely on high-tech participatory monitoring initiatives conducted by local indigenous and mestizo communities. Given the overall ambition of the project, PhD candidates will be expected to have an activist-scholar disposition, combining rigorous scientific research with a commitment to building a just and equitable world. While their research projects will contribute to the overall goals of the project, it is expected that candidates will have their own intellectual interest in studying the political ecology/ecological economics of deforestation in the Amazon. Potential topics include but certainly are not limited to the following political ecology themes:

–       The link between (agro-)extractivism and deforestation
–       Tension between indigenous cosmologies and global capitalism
–       Corruption and criminality within the socio-environmental sphere
–       Rise of ‘new’ investors and changing politics of corporate accountability

Requirements and application procedure

Candidates should already have a Master’s degree in economics, geography, anthropology, ecology, environmental science or other cognate fields. They should have strong command of both English as well as Spanish or Portuguese. Previous research experience in Latin America would be an advantage. While the academic home of PhD researchers will be the International Institute of Social Studies – Erasmus University Rotterdam, it is expected that their individual projects will require them to spend extensive periods in one (or a combination) of the three countries. Willingness to engage with local communities, social organizations and a range of stakeholders is required.

The selected PhD students will receive a full PhD fee waiver, a monthly stipend, equipment (laptop and smartphone) and a fieldwork expenses. They will be supervised by a team of ISS and USFQ researchers, including Murat Arsel, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Marti Orta Martinez, and Carlos Mena.

Interested candidates should send an application that includes the following:

–       A brief statement of motivation (max 1,000 words)
–       An extended summary of their intended PhD project (2,000 to 3,000 words)
–       Curriculum vita

Shortlisted candidates will be asked to submit two reference letters and will be interviewed by videoconference. The selected ones will be asked to proceed immediately to fully develop their PhD proposals so as to formally apply to the ISS PhD program in Development Studies. The application deadline is 30 October 2017. Applications as well as questions of clarification should be sent to

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s