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.
PhD field scholarships: Evaluating Subnational REDD+ Programs
CIFOR is seeking eight PhD scholars to engage in an international network of researchers to focus on evaluating the impacts of subnational REDD+ (Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries) initiatives in Brazil, Peru and Indonesia. CIFOR will provide scholarships to cover field costs related to the socioeconomic and environmental data collection at eight predetermined sites in Brazil, Indonesia, and Peru, where CIFOR has previously gathered data. Returning to these sites, including to non-intervention control sites, and using standardized research tools (household and village questionnaires) will help us construct time series data and consolidate our assessment of local REDD+ impacts. The candidates may collect additional data related to their specific PhD research interests; however, this will need to be agreed with the CIFOR team prior to any fieldwork. CIFOR will also provide training and supervision related to the application of its research tools. CIFOR will grant the candidates access to previously gathered data from the target site(s), for the students’ use in their PhD work. Drawing on similar CIFOR PhD network experiences (e.g. the Poverty and Environment Network), we furthermore envisage the composition of a dynamic research nucleus, with ample possibilities for cross-site learning and co-publication.
Duties and responsibilities
Summary of responsibilities
The PhD scholar(s) will become part of CIFOR’s Global Comparative Study on REDD+ (GCS-REDD+) work on assessing the performance of subnational REDD+ and sustainable private sector initiatives (http://www.cifor.org/gcs/modules/redd-subnational-initiatives/).
Deforestation and forest degradation produce 70% of tropical land-use emissions and account for 10–11% of net global greenhouse gas emissions. The Paris Climate Agreement has emphasized the role of forests in climate change mitigation and adaptation, and endorses REDD+, among others, in the context of national mitigation efforts, including Intended Nationally Determined Contributions. When the REDD+ concept emerged a decade ago, it was considered an innovative approach to forest conservation. Its aim was to create a system where tropical countries would receive financial incentives for their performance in protecting, restoring and managing forest resources in a sustainable way. REDD+ was conceptualized as a potential triple win: mitigating climate change, conserving forests (including biodiversity), and enhancing the livelihoods of forest-dependent people. Since its inception, REDD+ has evolved remarkably, and been piloted through more than 300 subnational initiatives across the tropics.
Since 2009, the GCS-REDD+ research project has examined how REDD+ has been designed and implemented vis-à-vis the 3E+ criteria (carbon effectiveness, cost efficiency, equity among stakeholders) as well as various co-benefits including poverty reduction, tenure and rights clarification, and biodiversity protection. Through GCS REDD+, we assessed a broad set of social and environmental indicators at 22 sub-national REDD+ sites in six countries. We carried out surveys in 150 villages and nearly 4,000 households in 2010-2011 and 2013-2014 to evaluate the impacts of REDD+ interventions on forests and people through a before-after-control-intervention (BACI) approach. We plan to return to eight of the study sites in Brazil, Peru and Indonesia for a third round of data collection in 2018.
Each PhD scholar will be allocated a research site where they will supervise field data collection.
Education, knowledge and experience
• A motivated researcher enrolled in a PhD program in tropical forestry, environmental science, geography, economics, sociology, anthropology or a related field.
• Experience and willingness to conduct fieldwork in low-income countries.
• Background and skills in the management and analysis of quantitative data.
• Excellent interpersonal and organizational skills, with the ability to manage a field team and interact with research partners.
• Strong English language skills, along with Spanish, Portuguese and/or Indonesian (depending on the field site chosen).
• Basic knowledge of REDD+ policy and on-the-ground implementation.
Terms and Conditions
• CIFOR will only cover the cost of travel to the research site and the collection of GCS-REDD+ field data (including interviews with initiative implementers, village and women’s focus groups in your allocated villages and ~240 household surveys). No other allowances will be provided (i.e. tuition fees, academic stipend, etc.).
• The PhD scholars will be part of the GCS-REDD+ network and have access to longitudinal data (2010-2018) from their allocated research site for use in their thesis.
• Fieldwork will be conducted over an approximately 2-month period in 2018, data tabulated and cleaned in 2018, and analysis conducted in 2019.
• Publication of at least one site-level journal article by the end of 2020 will be encouraged.
• Participation in a methods training workshop will be held by CIFOR in late 2017 or early 2018.
• We particularly encourage researchers from the countries of research (Brazil, Peru and Indonesia) to apply.
Please include a brief (1 – 2 page) summary of your PhD proposal and indicate in your letter of interest in which of the eight study sites you would be interested. Detailed information on each initiative is provided in the casebook REDD+ on the ground
• Acre’s State System in Incentives for Environmental Services (SISA) (Brazil)
• Cotriguaçu Sempre Verde (Mato Grosso State, Brazil)
• Sustainable Landscapes Pilot Program in São Félix do Xingu (Pará State, Brazil)
• Sustainable Settlements in the Amazon (Pará State, Brazil)
• The REDD Project in Brazil Nut Concessions (Madre de Dios, Peru)
• Katingan Forests and Climate Partnership (Central Kalimantan, Indonesia)
• Ketapang Community Carbon Pools (West Kalimantan, Indonesia)
• Berau Forest Carbon Program (East Kalimantan, Indonesia)
Please send your letter of interest and CV including contact information for three referees to:
To apply, please visit our career site at
To learn more about CIFOR, please visit our website at
Application processThe application deadline is 15 Apr-2017
We will acknowledge all applications, but will contact only short-listed candidates.