PhD Position

Bonn, Germany
PhD Position:
“Livelihoods, Risk Profiles and Adaptation Dynamics
in two Vietnamese Deltas”
(Doctoral Fellowship Award)
Organizational Unit
United Nations University - Institute for Environment and Human
Security (UNU-EHS)
Reference Number
Applications to
[email protected]
Closing Date
18 January 2015
United Nations University Objectives:
The United Nations University (UNU) is an international community of scholars, engaged in research,
postgraduate teaching and capacity development and dissemination of knowledge in furthering the
purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations. The mission of UNU is to contribute, through
research and capacity building, to efforts to resolve the pressing global problems that are the concern of
the United Nations and its Member States. For more information, please visit
United Nations University-Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) established in
December 2003, is part of the UNU system, a worldwide network of Research and Training Institutes. Its
mission is to advance human security through knowledge-based approaches to reducing vulnerability and
environmental risks. For more information, please visit
DeltAdapt Project:
The DeltAdapt project, sponsored by the BMBF (German Federal Ministry of Education and Research), aims
at examining the sustainability of coastal agro-ecosystems in Vietnam’s Mekong and Red River Deltas in
light of the socio-economic transformation and climatic as well as environmental change, most notably salt
water intrusion. UNU-EHS leads Work Package 6 on Livelihoods, Risk Profiles and Adaptation Dynamics. The
overall aims of this work package are: (1) to understand changing profiles of risk to salinity intrusion in
selected coastal agro-ecosystems of both river deltas, (2) to understand adaptation decisions in response to
these changes, (3) to identify and assess potential future adaptation pathways in these systems, paying
particular attention to the role of rural-urban linkages. The study will be based on the analysis of secondary
statistical data as well as primary data generated through, for example, stakeholder interviews, household
surveys and participatory appraisals. Next to the qualitative content analysis of the empirical data,
statistical or agent-based modeling ought to be applied. The work in the Mekong and the Red River Delta
will be conducted in partnership with Can Tho University and Hanoi University of Agriculture, respectively.
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Under the authority of the Director of UNU-EHS and guidance of the Head of the Vulnerability Assessment,
Risk Management and Adaptive Planning (VARMAP) section, the successful candidate will be entrusted with
the following tasks:
Literature research to establish an in-depth understanding of concepts of risk, vulnerability and
adaptation, allowing for the development of a conceptual framework for the analysis.
Development of a coherent set of methods to be applied in the analysis, including, for instance, the
preparation of interview guides, household survey questionnaires and statistical models.
Completion of fieldwork in both deltas in order to collect the required empirical data (with support
of research assistants and translators if needed).
Analysis of the data in order to fulfill the three aims of the work package, illustrated above.
Completion of the PhD process and authoring or co-authoring of, at least, one scientific article in a
peer-reviewed international academic journal.
Active participation in day to day activities of the VARMAP section and UNU-EHS.
Required Qualifications and Experience:
Master’s degree or equivalent in Geography, Sociology, Economics, Cultural Anthropology,
Southeast Asian Studies or related fields with above-average grades;
Ability and willingness to understand both social and ecological processes and to work at their
Experience in empirical fieldwork linked to the social sciences;
Excellent command of oral and written English;
Willingness and ability to conduct extensive field research in Vietnam, possibly in remote areas;
Good team player with strong interpersonal skills demonstrated by the ability to work in a multicultural environment;
Knowledge of Vietnamese is an asset;
Expertise in statistical and/or agent-based modeling is an asset.
Stipend of 1,450 EUR per month
Duration of Contract:
The successful candidate will be based at UNU-EHS in Bonn on a full-time basis under the Doctoral
Fellowship Award category for a period of 36 months with an initial settlement of 12 months. There will be
an evaluation step (performance review of the state and of progress of the PhD studies) after 12 and 24
months. The extension of the contract after 12 and 24 months is based on the evaluation outcome.
Extensive stays in Vietnam will also be required.
This is a locally recruited post; no relocation allowances apply. The successful candidate will be employed
under a local contract and will not hold international civil servant status nor is he/she a “staff member” as
defined in the United Nations Staff Rules and Regulations.
Applications from suitably qualified women candidates are particularly encouraged.
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Starting Date: as soon as possible, 16 March 2015 at the latest
Application Procedure:
Interested applicants should submit their applications by e-mail (to [email protected]), and must
include the following:
a cover letter setting out how the qualifications and experience match the requirements of the
a curriculum vitae and a completed and signed UNU Personal History (P.11) form downloadable from
the UNU website. Please avoid using similar forms provided by other United Nations organizations;
a two-page sample of English academic writing authored by the applicant (e.g. excerpt from a scientific
paper, student essay or master thesis);
an indication of the reference number of the vacancy announcement (2014/UNU/EHS/PhD/11).
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