PhD scholar on assessing drivers of deforestation at a national and subnational scale in the context of REDD+ CLOSED

Climate Change, Energy, & Low Carbon Development

The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) envisions a more equitable world where forestry and landscapes enhance the environment and well-being for all. CIFOR is a non-profit, scientific institution that conducts research on the most pressing challenges of forest and landscape management around the world. Using a global, multidisciplinary approach, we aim to improve human well-being, protect the environment, and increase equity. To do so, we conduct innovative research, develop partners’ capacity, and actively engage in dialogue with all stakeholders to inform policies and practices that affect forests and people. CIFOR is a CGIAR Research Center, and leads the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA). Our headquarters are in Bogor, Indonesia, with offices in Nairobi, Kenya; Yaoundé, Cameroon; Lima, Peru; and Bonn, Germany.

CIFOR is looking for

PhD scholar on assessing drivers of deforestation at a national and subnational scale in the context of REDD+


The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Bogor, Indonesia and the Laboratory of Geo-Information Science and Remote Sensing ( at Wageningen University & Research (WUR) are jointly offering a PhD scholarship on climate and forests (REDD+), dealing with assessing land-use changes associated with the drivers of deforestation at national and subnational scales.

CIFOR advances human well-being, environmental conservation and equity by conducting research to inform policies and practices that affect forests in developing countries. CIFOR is one of 15 centers within the CGIAR Consortium. CIFOR’s headquarters are in Bogor, Indonesia and they have offices in Asia, Africa and South America (

The mission of WUR is, “to explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life.” It has a staff of 6500 and hosts 10,000 students from over 100 countries who work globally in healthy food and living environment for governments and the business community at large. At WUR, you will be working together with people from over 80 countries. WUR enjoys an excellent reputation internationally for conducting research and providing high quality education.

Duties and responsibilities

Summary of responsibilities

The PhD scholar will be part of the research project on ”Global Comparative Study on REDD+” (GCS), led by CIFOR, in particular Module 3 on Monitoring, Reporting and Verification systems and reference levels. The assessment of land use activities related to forest change at the (sub)national scale is crucial for the design of national REDD+ monitoring and mitigation activities to reduce deforestation and forest degradation as well as to enhance forest sinks. The research will involve the use of time-series of remote sensing data (i.e. from Landsat, Sentinels), in combination with existing regional and global remote sensing-based products, to provide country and region specific estimates of land use changes related to deforestation. The candidate should be familiar with advanced tools in satellite remote sensing to assess forest and land dynamics, time series analysis, machine learning and assessing and estimating related land use changes. The PhD research will contribute to the development of methods to estimate land use change processes leading to forest loss. This should lead to better information to assess the drivers of forest change for different countries to support their nationally determined contributions (NDC), implementation strategies and sub-national targeting of mitigation activities. In addition, it will increase transparency and engagement with stakeholders relevant for mitigation of forest- and agriculture-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Education, knowledge and experience

• A motivated researcher with an MSc degree and relevant experience in forestry, remote sensing, ecology, environmental science, geography, land change science or a related field.
• Strong English skills.
• Knowledge of land use related to climate change mitigation and technical skills in handling spatial data and remote sensing.
• Experiences and willingness to work with and in developing tropical countries.

Terms and Conditions

• The scholarship is provided by CIFOR; the monthly stipend is €1700 for a maximum of 4 years.
• Additional funds for travel and fieldwork are available.
• The duty station will be WUR, Wageningen, the Netherlands.
• The PhD research is conducted mainly at the Laboratory of Geo-Information Science and Remote Sensing and the related Graduate School ( under the supervision of a professor in the WUR, in close collaboration and supervision with a team leader from CIFOR and with CIFOR partners.
• The candidate is expected to spend some time at CIFOR’s headquarters in Bogor, Indonesia and to carry out fieldwork and participate in international exchanges and meetings in REDD+ countries, according to a mutually agreed work plan.
• The PhD degree at Wageningen University requires course work of 32 ECTS and the successful defense of the PhD thesis.
• The work is expected to start early in 2017.
• We particularly encourage female researchers and researchers from developing countries to apply.

Please send your letter of interest and CV (including contact information of three referees) to:

Human Resources Department, CIFOR

Please indicate the position and its reference number (Ref. 1642) in the email subject line

Application process

The application deadline is 15 Feb-2017
We will acknowledge all applications, but will contact only short-listed candidates.