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Wageningen University - PhD positions for research program “Rebuilding resilience of coastal populations and aquatic resources: habitats, biodiversity and sustainable use options (RESCOPAR).
Posts: All posts are 4 years fulltime: 1 December 2006-1 December 2010
Background: The Interdisciplinary Research and Education Fund (INREF) of Wageningen University supports academic research on sustainable development in the South. The RESCOPAR program is an INREF program based on co-operative research between teams at Wageningen University (The Netherlands), Can Tho University (Vietnam), Mulawarman University, LIPI, Bogor University, WWF (Indonesia) and NACA (Thailand). The objective of RESCOPAR is to study the social and ecological resilience of coastal populations and aquatic resources, with an emphasis on mangrove ecosystems, shrimp culture and associated diseases and coastal fisheries. Within the framework of the INREFRESCOPAR program, there are nine vacancies for PhD study under the joint supervision Wageningen University Chairgroups and Vietnamese and Indonesian academic institutions.
1. Fisheries Biologist/Marine Ecologist coastal fisheries and mangroves, Vietnam
Job description: The PhD student will quantify the effect of mangrove based shrimp ponds on the coastal fisheries of Ca Mau province, Vietnam. The study will focus on modelling the shrimpmangrove-fisheries system to predict and evaluate the effect of different spatial scenario’s of mangrove conversion on fish catches.
Requirements: You have an MSc degree in ecology, environmental sciences, fisheries or any related field. You have field experience in marine ecological and/or fisheries research. You are capable of carrying out fisheries related fieldwork and have experience in statistical data analysis. Experience in mathematical modelling and/or in GIS/Remote Sensing will be considered as a major asset. The position is open for S.E. Asian citizens only.
2. Marine Ecologist: mangrove ecosystem, shrimp-culture and fisheries, Indonesia
Job description: The PhD student will quantify the effect of shrimp ponds on the mangrove ecosystem in the Berau delta mangrove-coral-reef system, Kalimantan. The study will focus on modelling the shrimp-mangrove system to predict and evaluate the effect of different spatial scenarios of mangrove conversion to shrimp ponds on coastal productivity and diversity.
Requirements: You have an MSc degree in ecology or any related field with field experience in
marine ecological research. You have knowledge on mangrove ecology and coastal fisheries; are
capable of carrying out fieldwork and have experience in statistical data analysis. Experience in
mathematical modelling will be considered as a major asset. The position is open for S.E. Asian
3. Aquaculture Virologist / Biologist, epidemiology WSSV in cultured shrimp, Vietnam
Job description: The PhD student will study the epidemiology and evolution of white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) of shrimp in time and space, with special reference to the development towards (a)virulence. The study will be a combination of ‘in-pond’ and laboratory analysis (natural and controlled introductions) of WSSV isolates, local and regional field sampling, virulence testing and genetic and genomic analysis using molecular markers. The PhD will closely cooperate with the other PhD students in the project and especially the PhD population biologist.
Requirements: You are a virology / epidemiology specialist (MSc degree) with experience in molecular genetics. Preferably, you have experience with or affinity to shrimp culture or other aquatic practices. You can design sampling schemes and animal experiments, and use and tailor moleculartechnology. We prefer candidates that have computational expertise (bioinformatics) and with a scientific publication record. The position is open for S.E. Asian citizens only.
4. Population Biologist, transmission of WSSV in cultured shrimp, Vietnam
Job description: The PhD student will study the transmission of White Spot Syndrome Virus in cultured shrimp by experiments, field observations and modelling. We aim to understand the dynamics of the disease by identifying the main factors that cause clinical disease outbreaks. These factors will include the introduction of the virus into the ponds and the conditions under which it can spread within and between ponds. The PhD will closely cooperate with the other PhD students in theproject and especially the PhD virologist.
Requirements: You have a MSc degree in population biology, aquaculture or mathematical biology.
You are familiar with population biology, experimental research but also attracted by mathematical data processing such as statistical analysis and/or modelling. The position is open for S.E. Asian citizens only.
5. Aquatic biologist or aquaculture specialist, shrimp-life support system, Indonesia
Job description: The PhD student will study the relationship between water and sediment quality and shrimp health in ponds. The study will be a combination of on-farm monitoring and controlled mesocosm experiments. Important environmental parameters will include O2, NO2 and TAN concentrations at different heights or depths above and in the sediment. The distribution of pathogens in the culture environment will be analysed and linked to environmental conditions.
You are an aquatic ecologist or aquaculture specialist (MSc degree) with experience in water quality and sediment analysis in aquatic environments. Preferentially, you have experience with shrimp culture practices. You can set up monitoring programs and are able to operate and maintain mesocosms. Experience with statistical analysis is required. The position is open for S.E. Asian citizens only.
6. Social scientist, Coastal livelihoods in Vietnam.
Job description: The PhD will investigate fish-based livelihoods strategies and decision-making of local actors with respect to shrimp culture in mangrove forest areas, in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam.
Specifically the candidate will focus how these livelihoods and local decision-making relate to
transnational networks of shrimp-trade and local and regional policies with respect to fisheries, and the management of the mangrove ecosystems
Requirements: You are a social scientist (anthropology, development sociology, human geography, economist) (MSc degree), and you have has knowledge of social science analysis and theory in relation to environmental problems in fisheries or other primary productions systems and experience with livelihood studies. You have to be capable of conducting long-term fieldwork, and have extensive social skills in order to interact fruitfully with local communities and fishers. The position is open for S.E. Asian citizens only.
7. Social scientist, Coastal Livelihoods in Indonesia.
Job description: The PhD will investigate the relationship between the livelihood strategies of the different actors involved in shrimp culture and fisheries in the Berau delta, Northeast Kalimantan, the depletion of aquatic resources, and the transnational shrimp trade.
Requirements: You have an MSc in social sciences, preferably in sociology or anthropology. You have experience with social analysis relating to coastal management problems of aquaculture and fisheries in Indonesia. You have affinity with practice-oriented research and are capable of conducting long-term fieldwork relating to government officials at various levels, traders, coastal communities, and other stakeholders. You have a keen interest in integrative scientific research. The position is open for Indonesian citizens only.
8. Social scientist, Environmental governance of shrimp production in Vietnam
Job description: The PhD will investigate existing state and non state institutions in the governance of the shrimp supply chain influencing decisions over sustainable production practices in coastal areas of the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. Specifically the candidate will investigate the interplay between local regional and international market channels, policy making and other regulatory practices at various levels and that has an impact on coastal shrimp production from aquaculture and fisheries and provides incentives and disincentives for sustainable management of aquatic resources by local decision-makers.
Requirements: You have an MSc degree in sociology, human geography, anthropology, or political science or any related field in social science. You have knowledge on social and political science analysis relating to environmental problems of fisheries or primary production in Southeast Asia and are capable of conducting long-term fieldwork interacting with farming/fishing communities, traders, government departments and industry in both Vietnam and Europe. The position is open for S.E. Asian citizens only.
9. Environmental governance and shrimp production in Indonesia.
Job description: The PhD will investigate the knowledge, decision making, and power relationships of government departments, international organizations, traders, shrimp pond owners and workers, and coastal communities concerning shrimp fisheries and tambak culture on the transnational shrimp trade in the context of decentralization and ownership of the coastal resources of the Berau delta, Northeast Kalimantan.
Requirements: You have an MSC degree in sociology, anthropology, human geography, political
sciences or any related field in the social sciences. You have knowledge about social analysis relating to coastal management problems of aquaculture and fisheries in Indonesia; have affinity with practiceoriented research and are capable of conducting long-term fieldwork relating to people’s practices and perceptions in Indonesia and beyond. The position is open for Indonesian citizens only.
General requirements all positions: We request from the candidates a collaborative and teamplayer attitude, with an open mind for other scientific approaches. You are self-reliant, independent and full of initiative. You have a strong ambition to upgrade your knowledge and academic skills. You have a keen interest in integrative scientific research. Candidates with a scientific publication record are preferred.
Admission criteria: Wageningen University has the following admission criteria for PhD students:
English proficiency (TOEFL score of at least 600; Test of Written English score at least 5.0);
acceptance of the candidate by the promoters/supervisors and (equivalency of) a Dutch MSc degree
Post: The 4-years PhD study will be developed according to a WU-sandwich formula, with maximum 36 months of field work in Indonesia and minimum 12 months data analysis, writing and training in Wageningen, the Netherlands. Fieldwork will be carried out in the Berau district of North East Kalimantan. The Wageningen period will be split in 2 periods of 6 months, respectively at the start and at the end of the study.
The candidate will be employed by one of the SE Asian institutes associated with the program for the duration of the study. For the months spent in the Netherlands an allowance is available in accordance with the Dutch fellowship program to cover additional costs of living and accommodation (in 2006, 800 Euro/month). A settling allowance and a laptop will be provided.
Information: For information contact Paul van Zwieten, tel: ++31-317-483920; e-mail:
Background information: For a brief description of the RESCOPAR program and information on the promoters/supervisors of each PhD see: www.afi.wur.nl/UK/Research/RESCOPAR/