Research Associate Position at Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, Germany

Publish Date: Jun 02, 2015

Deadline: Jun 25, 2015

The IASS is an international, interdisciplinary research institute located in Potsdam, Germany financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Federal State of Brandenburg. It is devoted to promoting science and research for global sustainability, particularly in the areas of climate change, the earth systems and social pathways to sustainability. The cluster „Global Contract for Sustainability (GCS)”, under the responsibility of IASS Executive Director Prof. Dr Klaus Töpfer, focuses on the societal and political transformations that must take place if we are to achieve sustainability. As a part of the cluster's core work program, the IASS established the Global Soil Forum to provide a multi-stakeholder platform that promotes knowledge exchange, research and policy action on sustainable soil management and responsible land governance.

The German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has initiated a programme on soil protection and rehabilitation for food security. Soil rehabilitation measures will be linked to efforts to increase tenure security of the intended beneficiaries of the programme. IASS Global Soil Forum will be responsible for developing and implementing an accompanying research project in support of this programme. The three year transdisciplinary research project "Begleitforschung Bodenrehabilitierung" will (i) conduct a systematic analysis of existing approaches for land rehabilitation; (ii) conduct in-depth case studies in five countries on the implementation of pathways for land rehabilitation measures; (iii) facilitate knowledge exchange processes on the topic; (iv) consolidate the findings in a final publication.

The IASS is currently seeking applications for a Research Associate (m/f) Ref-Nr. GSF-10

Under the supervision of the coordinator of the transdisciplinary research project "Begleitforschung Bodenrehabilitierung" and in close cooperation with project partners, the successful applicant will be responsible for contributing to the success of the overall project as outlined above, in particular via an in-depth case study in the project partner country India, with a focus on the two states of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. Specifically, the positions will entail the following activities:

  • Develop a systematic analysis of existing approaches for land rehabilitation, their implementation pathways as well as of the relations between all relevant stakeholders in the project area in the respective partner country
  • Establish and maintain cooperation with partners in the project area and with organizations at national, European and international level
  • Support the development of a participatory research agenda on land rehabilitation and tenure security within the bilateral areas of action of the BMZ programme
  • Conduct a transdisciplinary process aimed at the implementation of the participatory research agenda
  • Feeding back of project findings into the final publication as well as relevant local, national and international fora in order to support integration and upscaling of lessons learnt at national and international policy level

What we offer:

  • A position in sustainability research that links science with decision-taking in civil society, national and international development policy
  • The opportunity to work in a high-profile, international research project
  • The possibility to conduct transdisciplinary research on the ground in collaboration with different partner organizations
  • Excellent contacts to a range of national and international political and research organizations
  • An innovative working environment within a dynamic team
  • The remuneration for these positions is based on the TVöD (Bund) scale 13


  • Master or PhD in Development Studies, Environmental Governance, Geography, Political Sciences or related fields
  • Experience in conducting social science research, ideally through participatory approaches and methods
  • Significant and demonstrable understanding of development issues in India, gained inter alia through field work
  • Ability to work and communicate effectively, diplomatically and sensitively with a wide range of partners from science, politics, business and civil society at national and international level
  • An in-depth knowledge of land rehabilitation, sustainable soil and land management and responsible land governance issues
  • Working experience in carrying out transdisciplinary research projects in collaboration with international organizations and local partner organizations will be an asset
  • Experience in and in-depth knowledge of stakeholder processes, dialogue processes and institutional analysis will be an asset
  • Ability and willingness to travel several months per year as well as fitness for service in the tropics
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English. Good working knowledge of German is a strong asset

These positions are to be filled as soon as possible and will run until December 31st, 2017. The interviews will take place on the 20th and 21st of July, 2015.

Applications, including a cover letter and a full CV with two referees should be received no later than June 25th, 2015 by e-mail. For further information and details on these positions, please contact Katrin Wlucka (

The IASS particularly encourages applications from female researchers; handicapped applicants will be given preference in case of equal qualifications.

IASS Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies e.V.
Ms. Katrin Wlucka
Berliner Straße 130
14467 Potsdam
Tel.: +49 331 28822-427

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