United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme
UNU-IAS offers Postdoctoral Fellowships to recent PhD graduates to provide them with the opportunity to put the knowledge and expertise acquired during their doctoral research to practical policy-relevant use. The purpose of the UNU-IAS Postdoctoral Fellowship is to provide young scholars and policymakers, especially from the developing world, with a multidisciplinary context within which to pursue advanced research and training that are of professional interest to the applicant and of direct relevance to the research agenda of UNU-IAS.
Two Postdoctoral Fellowships are awarded each year for a period of 12 months, starting in April. The Fellows are resident at UNU-IAS in Japan for the full term of the fellowship. (Eligibility for a second 12-month appointment may be considered based on the Fellow’s performance.)
Applicants must have obtained a PhD (or at least successfully defended their doctoral dissertation) in an area broadly associated with one of the UNU-IAS thematic focus areas listed below prior to the application deadline of 31 January 2016. Language proficiency in English is essential.
The following research project is accepting applications for the UNU-IAS Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme:
Water and Urban Initiative
Urban water pollution is a critical issue for sustainable development in developing nations due to excessive disposal of untreated or inadequately treated wastewater, lack of environmental awareness, ineffective policy and implementation measures. The Water and Urban Initiative (WUI) of UNU-IAS is working towards improving urban water environments with case studies on selected rapidly developing Asian cities. Major research activities of the WUI consist of evaluating current water environment conditions, reviewing different wastewater management interventions, modelling changes in water environment parameters, and comparing environmental, social and economic benefits for different interventions. In addition, the initiative develops models and evidence-based policy tools which can be used elsewhere.
The WUI is seeking postdoctoral fellows to conduct academic research on the below three topics. Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English are essential as well as the ability to work independently and with the project team. Demonstrated research skills and a sound record of publications is required.
1. Economic evaluation of urban ecosystem services
The fellow will conduct a non-market evaluation of ecosystem services in urban areas in Asian countries and evaluate people’s willingness to pay to protect and improve the quality of urban waterbodies. The researcher is expected to develop a contingent valuation model in cooperation with the project team members. In addition, the fellow is expected to conduct field surveys and travel to selected cities in Asia to collect data (by interviewing municipalities, residents, industry, recreational managers, etc.), analyse the data and generate results.
- PhD (no ABDs) in the following area: Environmental and resource economics, ecological economics, environmental science or related fields.
- Demonstrated knowledge and skills in non-market valuation, statistics/econometrics with ability to perform critical quantitative analysis of water resources as specified above are essential.
2. Health risk assessment of waterborne infectious diseases in urbanized areas
The fellow will develop simulation models to assess human health risks caused by waterborne infectious diseases in urbanized areas in developing countries. Tasks include simulating occurrence and fate of human pathogens in urbanized areas and quantitative assessment of human health risks caused by waterborne infectious diseases based on various scenarios (e.g. urban floods, recreational water use).
- PhD (no ABDs) in environmental science, environmental engineering or other relevant fields.
- Demonstrated skills and experience in some of the following topics: quantitative microbial risk assessment, environmental microbiology, GIS-based computer simulation, water quality modelling.
3. Hydrologic and water quality modelling
The fellow will carry out hydrologic (flood inundation) and water quality modelling to evaluate the impact of alternative wastewater management interventions and future changes (e.g. climate, land use, population, etc.) on human and ecosystem health in densely populated urban areas. Other tasks may include evaluation of current water environment conditions, review of different wastewater management interventions, and future projections of population, land use and climate change.
- PhD (no ABDs) in natural sciences or engineering, preferably in water and environment fields.
- Familiarity with water quality, inundation models, climate change impact assessment, spatial analysis tools, and low carbon technology (GHG estimation) will be important assets.
Eligibility and conditions
Applicants must have obtained a PhD (or at least successfully defended their doctoral dissertation), in an area broadly associated with the UNU-IAS thematic focus, prior to the application deadline. Language proficiency in English is essential. Applicants from developing countries and women are particularly encouraged to apply.
UNU-IAS Postdoctoral Fellowships are awarded for a period of 12 months. The starting date of the Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme is 1 April. Successful applicants are required to be in Japan by this date. Residency in Tokyo for the full duration of the fellowship is required.
The fellowship provides a monthly stipend of JPY300,000–360,000 (depending on experience). A one-time-only settle-in-allowance of JPY 80,000 will be granted to each Fellow at the beginning of the programme for relocation, adjustment expenses, ground transportation and incidental costs. UNU-IAS provides Fellows with a return air ticket between his/her country of residence and Narita Airport. Settle-in-allowance and air tickets are, however, not provided for Fellows already residing in Japan before the commencement of the fellowship.
Eligibility for a second 12-month appointment may be considered based on the Fellow’s performance.
Starting date and deadline for applications
The UNU-IAS Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme begins on 1 April 2016 and the selected fellows are required to be in Japan by this date. The deadline for applications for the 2016 Fellowships is 31 January 2016.
Interested and eligible candidates are invited to complete the online-application form. If an applicant does not have access to the Internet, he or she should contact UNU-IAS. The online form and the required documents indicated in the form must be in English. If supporting documents are not in English, English translations must be attached.
Selection criteria and process
Applicants are evaluated on the following criteria:
- the research objectives of the applicant and the quality of the research proposal,
- the relevance of the research proposal to the ongoing or planned research activities of the applicant’s selected Research Programme at UNU-IAS, and
- the applicant’s academic merit and the potential for successful research while at UNU-IAS.
Review of applications by the Fellowship Committee will begin immediately after the application deadline. Short-listed candidates will be contacted for a telephone interview and to provide reference letters.