RECOMS is an H2020 MSCA Innovative Training Network. The purpose of RECOMS is to train 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) in innovative, transdisciplinary and transformative approaches to promoting and facilitating resourceful and resilient community environmental practice. The ESR positions are fixed term for 36-months (beginning September 1st 2018). The ESRs will be employed with normal social security coverage by the host institutions and will have all benefits provided for in the MSCA-ITN early career fellowship regulations, including a highly competitive remuneration, living allowances and mobility expenses.  The ESRs will enrol for doctoral study in one of the 15 projects offered by the seven hosting institutions. The 15 positions are listed below, together with links to further information on the corresponding doctoral study projects. From early January 2018 the formal recruitment of candidates for these vacancies will begin. In addition to undertaking doctoral research, the ESRs will engage in a series of collaborative research and training activities. They will be encouraged to critically, practically, and creatively explore the contribution and relationships between their individual doctoral study projects across three interconnecting research themes:

Research theme cluster 1: Unlocking and Empowering

ESR2: Urban Agroecology for Health and Wellbeing (Coventry University, England)

ESR3: Co-creating Urban Waterways as Socially Diverse Spaces (Coventry University, England)

ESR5: Perceptions of Risk: Adaptive Community Strategies (University of Groningen, Netherlands)

ESR6: Citizenship and Responsive Governance (University of Groningen, Netherlands)

ESR14: Environmental Justice through Resourceful Engagement (Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Belgium)

Research theme cluster 2: Adapting and Transforming

ESR1: Transforming Urban Environments: a Collaborative Approach (Coventry University, England)

ESR8: Nature Based Cultures in Vulnerable Communities (Natural Resources Institute Finland)

ESR10: Transforming the Bavarian Forest: A Historical Perspective (Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, LMU Munich, Germany)

ESR11: Transformation and Restoration: Portland and Munich (Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, LMU Munich, Germany)

ESR12: Farms as Coupled Social-Ecological Systems (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria)

Research theme cluster 3: Connecting and Collaborating

ESR4: Building Coalitions: Socio-Spatial Planning (University of Groningen, Netherlands)

ESR7: Climate Adaptation and Socio-Spatial Planning: Waterways (Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, Netherlands)

ESR9:   Green Economies and Ecosystem Services (Natural Resources Institute Finland)

ESR13: Managing Social-Ecological Systems for Resilience (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria)

ESR15: Participatory GIS: Community Management of Open Space (Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Belgium)


The employment contract start date for all 15 positions will be 1st September 2018. The working language of the network will be English.

For each ESR position, once formally advertised (January 2018), further information will be made available on the institutional level criteria to be met by applicants (e.g. disciplinary background, qualifications, skills, English language fluency etc). In addition, named individuals will also be listed to whom any informal scientific or administrative enquiries can be directed prior to applying. By way of further advance information at this stage, however, we kindly ask that all interested individuals begin by scrutinising and ensuring their ability to comply with the following eligibility criteria (as specified by the European Commission under the rules of the MSCA-ITN):

  • Applicants must NOT have resided in the country of the recruiting institution* [*for each individual ESR position respectively (see above list)] for more than 12 months in the three years immediately before the recruitment date(and not have carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in that country) – unless as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention
  • Applicants MUST – at the start date of the employment contract (1st September 2018) – be an ‘early stage researcher’: they must be in the first four years of their research career and NOT have a doctoral degree.

For more general information on the RECOMS programme please contact Dr Alex Franklin



PhD scholarship: The Frontiers of Food Sovereignty and Agrarian Justice in the Amazon: A Community-Based Study of Political Agro-ecology in the State of Pará

This doctoral research will generate theoretically original and empirically grounded understandings of the dynamics of, and interconnections between, different agro-ecology stakeholders, consumers, and policy-makers. It will contribute towards enhancing the comprehension of technological and community-based agro-ecological alternatives formulated and legitimised by subsistence farmers and their families in the context of the Amazon region.

The research will involve intense engagement with peasant communities to examine the significance of agro-ecological production as a technological, political and socio-cultural response to hegemonic agribusiness pressures. It will investigate the dynamic formation of identities, values and otherness in development frontiers, as the result of population migration, multiple struggles and intensive interaction with socio-ecological change (Münster, 2015).

Making use of a creative combination of research methods, the project will uncover the experienced realities and the material, discursive and representational dimensions of the antagonism between subsistence agriculture and mainstream agribusiness (Meek, 2016). Through participatory action research (PAR), it will consider the politicised basis of agri-food systems and the politico-economic and socio-cultural aspects of agro-ecological transitions (Sanderson and Ioris, 2017).

Methods will include: (i) participant observation of production practices, coping strategies and community life; (ii) interviews and focus groups with peasants and other stakeholders; (iii) reflection and validation of results through meetings, internet and workshops. The methodological approach will properly conceptualise and deal with market institutions and with the impact of public policies and government decisions on individual life and community initiatives (Brand and Görg, 2008).

Conceptual and empirical outcomes will lead to a better understanding of governance, economy and socio-cultural specificities, and well-being and will be of direct benefit to global debates on sustainable transformations and the need to reduce fragmentation by building lasting impacts and multiple competences.

We welcome applications for both full and part-time study, and studentships are available as either ‘1+3’ (i.e. one full time year of research training Masters followed by three years of full-time doctoral study, or the part-time equivalent), or ‘+3’ (i.e. three years of full-time doctoral study or its part-time equivalent), depending on the needs of the applicant. Each institution values diversity and equality at all levels and encourages applications from all sections of the community.

A short description of the accredited Human Geography pathway is available on the ESRC Wales DTP website.


These studentships are ‘collaborative’ awards. Applicants should take careful consideration of the working title and description of the project, and may wish to contact the named supervisor and / or the pathway contact for a discussion prior to applying. They are:

  •  ‘The Frontiers of Food Sovereignty and Agrarian Justice in the Amazon: A Community-Based Study of Political Agro-ecology in the State of Pará’ (working title)

In collaboration with Agro-ecology in Latin America

Supervisor(s): Dr Antonio Ioris (Cardiff University, and Dr Sergei Shubin (Swansea University,

Pathway contact: Professor Mark Jayne


ESRC studentships are highly competitive. Candidates should have an excellent background in the social sciences, holding a 1st or strong upper 2nd class degree; applications from those also holding a relevant research training Master’s degree (or an equivalent background in research training) will be considered for a ‘+3’ award.

Full awards (fees plus maintenance stipend) are open to UK Nationals and EU students who can satisfy UK residency requirements.

Full-time ESRC studentship award holders cannot hold either a full-time job, or a permanent part-time job, during the period of their award. Part-time ESRC studentship award holders cannot hold a full-time job.


Studentship awards commence in October 2018 and will cover your tuition fees as well as a maintenance grant (currently £14,553 per annum for 2017/18 for full-time students, updated each year) and includes access to an additional Research Training Support Grant (RTSG). There are other opportunities and benefits available to studentship holders, including an overseas fieldwork allowance (if applicable), internship opportunities, oversea institutional visits and other small grants.

How to Apply

To apply, please apply for place via: and include the following documents:

  1. Covering letter: Please address to Professor Mark Jayne. The covering letter must set out your reasons and motivation for applying to study at Cardiff University, and the chosen pathway; your understanding, and expectations of doctoral study; your academic interests generally, and particularly how these relate to the description of the project supplied. The covering letter should be no more than two pages. Please specify whether you wish to apply on a ‘+3’ or ‘1+3’ basis. Remember also to specify that your application concerns ESRC Wales DTP collaborative studentships and include in your application the title of the project to which you are applying.
  2. Academic / professional qualifications: Where appropriate, this should also include proof of English Language Competency (7.0 IELTS minimum).
  3. References: All applications require two academic references to be submitted in support. Candidates must approach referees themselves, and submit the references with their application.
  4. Curriculum Vitae: It should be no longer than two pages.
  5. Research Proposal: For collaborative studentships, the proposal should build directly on the outline description that has been supplied. The proposal should be up to a maximum of 1000 words, not including bibliographic references. We suggest that you use the following five headings in your research proposal:

 Your reflections on the title, aims and purpose of the research;

 An overview of some key research literature relevant to the study;

 Your proposals for developing the design and methods of the study;

 A description of potential outcomes of the project for understanding, knowledge, policy and practice (as appropriate to the topic);

 Bibliographic references.

 Please note that incomplete applications or applications received after the specified time will not be accepted.

The deadline for applications is 4pm on 1 February 2018.

 Short-listed applicants will be invited to interview; interviews are expected to take place in March 2018. After interview, a final shortlist of applicants will be put forward to a Panel convened by the ESRC Wales DTP Management Group at which final decisions with regard to studentship awards will be made. In most cases, successful applicants can expect to hear by mid-April 2018.

 Informal enquiries about these studentships are welcome, and should be directed to Professor Dave Clarke (Swansea University, or Professor Mark Jayne (Cardiff University,

PhD bursary: Exploring the Benefits of Soil-less Urban Agriculture

This doctoral investigation focuses on technology applied to Urban Agriculture (UA) in order to identify the ecological benefits that soil-less, hydroponic technologies of food production in cities can yield for local urban ecologies. At the same time, it intends to understand the impact of a sufficiently large deployment of such methods of production on the spatial configuration and design quality of the urban landscape.Suitable candidates must demonstrate a solid knowledge of architecture and urban design theories and practice, generally and in relationship to urban agriculture. They must also demonstrate an attitude to interdisciplinary thinking.

UA (the growing of edible crops or even farming in an urban environment) is a term coined in the 1990s to connote a practice that already existed both in developed and developing countries, which was, at that point in time, acquiring higher relevance within the sustainable cities debate. Since then, UA has been understood as playing a key role within urban systems and for urban dwellers by providing healthy food, healthy lifestyles and ecosystem services, and catalysing social interaction and inclusion. UA is expanding fast and there is a growing demand for spaces suitable for cultivation. However, horticulture is selective in terms of biodiversity: allocating vast urban areas to UA, rather than to a different use of green land such as urban forests, may be detrimental to the overall urban biodiversity. Moreover, soil and air contamination in cities is frequent, potentially posing a threat for the consumption of urban produce.

Recently, UA projects are beginning to include within their scope technologies such as hydroponics or aquaponics (i.e. hydroponics associated with indoor fish farming to produce nutrient for plants), which require equipment and know-how that is beyond the conventional knowledge connected with horticulture and farming. Soil-less, hydroponic technologies were experimented and developed from the 1960s onwards, because they are space efficient and not reliant on a progressively deteriorating soil as a consequence of industrial exploitation of land, which is increasingly damaging ecological systems and soil fertility. Potentially, hydroponic-based UA could allow a larger urban land area to be landscaped and managed for higher levels of biodiversity and climate change mitigation, rather than cultivation. To date, studies can be found on the advantages in terms of carbon footprint of foodstuff hydroponically grown, but no study can be found on the ecological benefits that hydroponics could indirectly generate by reducing the amount of green land utilised for cultivation and using such land to enrich biodiversity. Can hydroponic systems be used to control the safety of food produced in cities and allow a higher degree of biodiversity? Can this potential ecological amelioration in general terms be quantified? Furthermore, what would the most suitable types of hydroponic systems be that can be implemented in cities and adapt to existing infrastructure and built environment?

The aim of this doctoral investigation is twofold: to measure the ecological benefits and drawbacks of UA hydroponics/aquaponics from a multi-disciplinary perspective (ecology and urban design) and to apply such measurements for a simulation of a city wide deployment of these types of UA, leading to the identification of their impact on the ecology and urban design quality at an urban scale, using Portsmouth as a case study. This requires the elaboration and testing of an innovative framework of assessment and the use of the data gathered for the simulation outlined above. It will also require the identification of ideal typologies of hydroponic systems within the existing urban configuration.

Objectives of this investigation are:

  • Literature review on the state-of-the-art technologies and typologies of UA hydroponics/aquaponics;
  • The elaboration of a framework of assessment of their ecological benefits;
  • The identification of case studies and the measurement of their performance through the framework of assessment. This can entail the use of LCA software and other methods of measurement to identify ecological benefits;
  • Following the elaboration of a set of scenarios in which different types and scales of hydroponic systems are deployed in Portsmouth, the quantification of environmental and spatial impacts;
  • The formulation of planning recommendations to facilitate the use of suitable space for soil-less community and small enterprise projects

How to apply:

  • We welcome applications from highly motivated prospective students who are committed to develop outstanding research outcomes. You can apply online at Please quote project code ACES4320218 in your application form.

Funding Notes

UK/EU students – The fully-funded, full-time three-year studentship provides a stipend that is in line with that offered by Research Councils UK of £14,553 per annum.

International students – International students applying for this project are eligible to be considered for the Portsmouth Global PhD scholarships.

PhD opportunity at Lancaster Environment Centre: Can food sovereignty be up-scaled? The scope, limits and politics of community initiatives in the context of global food security

PhD opportunity at Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster Univeristy (UK)
Deadline for Applications: 14 February 2016
Start: October 2016

Info and on-line application:

For further information or informal discussion about the position, please contact G. Bettini
or R. Whittle .

The sustainability of food systems is one of the most pressing global challenges at the intersection of environmental and developmental policy, and has attracted a vast amount of research. Currently, such research falls into two broad camps. On the one hand, there is a large body of work concerned with developing food security at the global scale. This research tends to place a strong emphasis on science and technology “solutions” and the search for top-down interventions in biophysical, agricultural and economic systems. However, recent years have seen the emergence a contrasting body of literature concerned with the development of ‘food sovereignty’. This work, which has strong roots in critical social science, places the emphasis on giving control of food systems back to farmers and communities. Consequently, proposed interventions tend to be low tech, diverse and bottom-up in character. However, while proponents of such approaches tend to emphasise their value in transforming power imbalances within the food system, critics dismiss them because they are often seen to be purely local in scale and thus of limited value for addressing global food insecurity.

The two approaches often talk past each other, and few studies seriously engage with both. With this project you will fill this crucial knowledge gap, combining exciting empirical work with community groups at the cutting edge of action on food sovereignty with in-depth theoretical engagement. The key objective is to assess the potential of community food projects to foster food sovereignty. In particular, you will explore the scope and limitations of their engagement with transnational initiatives, economic processes, policies. To this end, the perspective of polycentric governance will help in understanding processes and entities that cannot be placed in any of the boxes (international, national, regional or local) envisioned by traditional understandings of scale. The aim is thus to generate a better understanding of the scope and limitations of novel forms of action and governance within food systems (with unconventional combinations of private and governmental actors, networks, community groups, etc.) which transnational initiatives bring to life, and of which community engagement is an important ingredient.

The project combines theoretical/conceptual elaboration with qualitative empirical research with community-level groups whose actions are focused on creating food and climate security for their locales (for example, Transition Town initiatives, the Incredible Edibles movement and Sustainable Food Cities groups) AND that engage with transnational groups such as La Via Campesina, The Transition Network and the Slow Food Movement. The choice of the specific case study will be negotiated with the supervisors at the beginning of the project.

Fully-funded collaborative PhD Studentship: School of Geography, University of Nottingham

‘Developing sustainable diets collectively: participatory approaches to addressing the challenge of dietary sources of pollution in the Eye Brook catchment, Leicestershire’

The School of Geography at the University of Nottingham invites applications from suitably qualified students for the following ESRC funded collaborative PhD studentship to cover maintenance and fees for full-time study.

This novel and transdisciplinary PhD research project embeds a social science research project within a larger natural science experiment on water friendly farming conducted by the project partner – the Allerton Project, Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust. It intersects with emerging societal and social scientific debates about the contribution of diet to sustainability transitions within the food system, the challenges of ‘diffuse’ pollution control and the role and practice of participatory and collective approaches in rural environmental governance, particularly at the spatial scale of the catchment.

The candidate will have, or be working towards achieving in 2016, an upper second or first class Bachelors degree in geography or cognate discipline, such as sociology, anthropology, social psychology or environmental studies. A candidate with a Bachelors degree will be expected to undertake a Masters degree (in Environmental Geography) that will be fully funded during the first year of the studentship. Alternatively, the candidate will have a Masters degree in any of the above disciplines and if this higher degree meets the ESRC’s research training requirements they will be eligible to begin studying immediately for a PhD and for 3 years of funding. Ideally, the candidate will also have relevant pre or post-degree experience of working with community groups and be able to demonstrate an academic interest in the relationships between food, eating and the environment. The candidate must fulfil relevant ESRC eligibility criteria:

The successful applicant will be entitled to a full-time, yearly tax free stipend at current RCUK rates (£14,057 for 2015/16, updated each year), plus tuition fees (£4,060 for 2015/16) and additional research funds.

Further details and application forms are available at: or from Andrea Payne, Postgraduate Research Administrator, School of Geography, The University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham, NG7 2RD. Tel: 0115 951 5575. Email: Andrea.Payne [at] For an informal discussion about the project please contact the academic supervisors: contact Dr Carol Morris (Carol.Morris [at] or Dr Susanne Seymour (Susanne.Seymour [at]

The closing date for applications is 12th February 2016 and the date for interviews for the position is Wednesday 2nd March. The project will start in September 2016.

University of Manchester, Sustainable Consumption Institute (SCI) PhD Studentships

The University of Manchester’s Sustainable Consumption Institute will be offering up to 4 fully-funded PhD studentships to outstanding candidates wishing to commence their doctoral studies in September 2016.

The Sustainable Consumption Institute aims to bring insight and clarity to a key part of the sustainability challenge: the role of consumption. It takes original insights from across the Social Sciences and subjects them to critical empirical scrutiny in order to advance fundamental understandings about processes of consumption and innovation, and to consider their implications for transitions towards more sustainable societies.

The studentships will need to be closely aligned with the research agenda and ongoing activities of the SCI, and so applicants are advised to consult the SCI’s website and research pages for details of existing projects.

Successful candidates will be funded by the SCI, supervised by at least one member of SCI research staff (Boons, Browne, Evans, Geels, MacGregor, McMeekin, Mylan, Southerton, Yates), and located within a host School. The exact location of the studentship will depend on the applicant’s project, their interests, and their supervisor. We anticipate that most candidates will be based in the School of Social Sciences (SoSS), Manchester Business School (MBS) or the School of Environment, Education and Development (SEED).

Candidates are invited to write a research proposal for a PhD project that complements and/or extends current SCI research projects. Proposals should be c.1500 words long and include a title, the background to the project, the research design and methodology, and a bibliography. We are particularly interested in hearing from candidates whose projects address the following topics:

*Comprehensive analysis of system innovations in food, energy, or transport
*Comparative research on socio-cultural change, the temporal organization of daily life, and trajectories of consumption
*Environmental movements and/or consumer activism
*The dynamics of societal problems and responses by large incumbent industries
*The food-energy-water nexus and its relationship to different system boundaries (e.g. households, cities)
*Alternative modes of food provision and delivery (in particular, eating outside the home)
*Histories and dynamics of everyday life, city transitions, and sustainability in China (with potential to collaborate with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences or University of Shanghai)
The diffusion and appropriation of sustainable innovations (in particular related to meat substitutes)
*Comparative political economies of sustainable transition pathways
*Sustainability and social difference/inequalities (gender, class, race, age, abilities, intersectionality, etcetera)
*The cultural politics of sustainable food (contested meanings of food quality, rival problem framings, the distribution of responsibilities, etcetera)

Please note that this list is indicative and not exhaustive. Candidates must get in touch with potential supervisors to discuss their ideas in advance of making an application. Informal enquiries should be addressed to Dr David Evans <david.evans [at]>

Studentship details – The studentships comprise an annual stipend of £14,210, payment of fees up to the level charged for UK/EU students (TBC but currently £4,052) and £1,000 for fieldwork and conference expenses. It might be possible to cover the fees for non-UK/EU candidates, but this will only happen in exceptional circumstances. The studentship will be for direct entry onto the three year (+3) PhD programme. The programme will commence in September 2016. Continuation of the award is subject to satisfactory performance.

Entry Requirements – Applicants must hold a Bachelors degree equivalent to a First Class or Upper Second Class Honours UK degree. They must also have (or expect to gain) a UK Masters degree (or overseas equivalent) at Merit level (with a coursework/examination average of 60% or more AND a dissertation mark of 60% or more, with no mark below 50%) or above in a relevant social science discipline. Preference will be given to candidates whose Masters degree involves a significant element of social science research methods training, and those who performed at distinction level (70% or higher) or equivalent.

How to apply – Applicants should email a full CV together with a covering letter and research proposal. Please note that applying for the SCI PhD studentship is separate process to applying for entry to a PhD programme. Successful candidates will therefore also be required to fulfill the normal admissions procedures for the school in which they will be based.

Further information – HERE  or e-mail: <david.evans [at]>

The deadline for applications is 22nd January, 2016.

Research Positions: University of Dublin. Assessing the practice and sustainability potential of city-based food sharing economies

Final call for three dynamic researchers to work on an ERC-funded project SHARECITY: Assessing the practice and sustainability potential of city-based food sharing economies, based within the Geography Department, School of Natural Sciences, Trinity College Dublin. Post summaries are provided below. Full details available from or Anna Davies: <daviesa [at]>

1. PhD Studentship: 4 years, tax-free stipend (€16,000pa) and payment of EU level academic fees

2. 2 x Postdoctoral researchers: 2 years, IUA level 2, point 1 salary scale €37,750 pro rata

All deadlines 18th December at 12 noon (Irish Standard Time)

PhD Post Summary:

Applications are invited for a four year ERC (European Research Council) funded PhD studentship based at the Department of Geography at Trinity College, the University of Dublin, under the supervision of Professor Anna Davies and as part of the ERC-funded project SHARECITY: Assessing the practice and sustainability potential of city-based food sharing economies. The successful applicant will become a core member of the SHARECITY team (which will include the Principal Investigator, at least 4 postdoctoral researchers and a Research Assistant). This PhD project will contribute to the SHARECITY team’s conceptual and analytical development in the identification and classification of food sharing activities within cities globally. The successful candidate will assist in the development of a global database of city-based food sharing and undertake an in-depth ethnographic study of food sharing within one global city identified by the Principal Investigator. Research will include site visits, participant observation, interviews and netnographies of sharers (donors, facilitators and recipients) as well as co-designing and trialling a sustainability assessment toolkit with sharers and sharing regulators within the case study city. The final component of the PhD will include conducting a backcasting experiment with key stakeholders regarding the future of food sharing in cities. The successful candidate will be hosted in the Department of Geography, School of Natural Science and will become a member of Environmental Governance Research Group and the Future Cities Research Centre. General enquires concerning this post can be addressed to <daviesa [at]>

Post-doctoral Posts Summary:

The Department of Geography at Trinity College, the University of Dublin, is seeking two Post-Doctorate Researchers to work with Professor Anna Davies on the ERC-funded project SHARECITY: Assessing the practice and sustainability potential of city-based food sharing economies. The successful applicants will be core members of the SHARECITY team (which will also include the Principal Investigator, further Post-Doctorate Researchers, a PhD student and a Research Assistant). The post-doctoral researchers will contribute to the first two phases of the SHARECITY project, specifically focusing on a) conceptual and analytical development in the identification and classification of food sharing activities within cities to culminate in the development of a global database of 100 cities and b) in-depth ethnographic studies of food sharing within selected global cities identified through the database. The research will include site visits, participant observation, interviews and netnographies of sharers (donors, facilitators and recipients). The successful candidates will be hosted in the Department of Geography, School of Natural Science and will become members of Environmental Governance Research Group and the Future Cities Research Centre. General enquires concerning these posts should be addressed to <daviesa [at]>

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