PhD field scholarship: evaluating a REDD+ project in Indonesia 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 field scholarship: evaluating a REDD+ project in Indonesia


CIFOR is seeking a PhD scholar to engage in an international network of researchers focused on evaluating the impacts of nine subnational REDD+ initiatives in Brazil, Peru and Indonesia. REDD+ stands for Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation, plus conservation, sustainable management, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks. CIFOR will provide a scholarship to cover field costs related to socioeconomic and environmental data collection at the Ketapang Community Carbon Pools site in West Kalimantan, Indonesia where CIFOR has previously gathered data. Returning to this site, including to a non-intervention control site, 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 candidate could collect additional data related his/her specific PhD research interests after previous agreement with the CIFOR team. CIFOR will also provide training and supervision related to the application of its research tools. CIFOR will grant the candidate access to previously gathered data from the target site, for their use in the PhD work. Drawing on similar CIFOR PhD network experiences (see 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

The PhD scholar 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 (
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 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 350 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 so-called 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. 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 nine of the study sites in Brazil, Peru and Indonesia for a third round of data collection in 2018.
The PhD scholar would supervise field data collection at the Ketapang Community Carbon Pools site in West Kalimantan, Indonesia.

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 cover costs of travel to the research site and of collecting GCS REDD+ field data (including interviews with initiative implementers, village and women’s focus groups in 8 villages, and surveys with ~240 households).
• The PhD scholar would be part of the GCS REDD+ network and have access to longitudinal data (2010-2018) from the research site for use in their thesis.
• Fieldwork is to 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 is encouraged by the end of 2020.
• A final workshop on writing and presentation of case studies, thematic and synthesis papers, with the possibility for inclusion of these papers in a special issue of a journal.
• We particularly encourage Indonesian researchers to apply.

In your letter of interest, please include a brief (1-2 page) summary of your PhD proposal and indicate why research at the Ketapang site would enhance your thesis. Detailed information on the initiative is provided in the casebook REDD+ on the Ground.

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 process

The application deadline is 29 Jun-2018
We will acknowledge all applications, but will contact only short-listed candidates.


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