Three PhD scholarships to contribute towards Operationalizing Landscape Approaches in the Tropics Overview CLOSED

Sustainable Landscapes and Food Systems Team

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

Three PhD scholarships to contribute towards Operationalizing Landscape Approaches in the Tropics Overview


The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and partners have recently launched a 5-year initiative that will operationalize integrated landscape approaches in three tropical countries – Indonesia, Zambia and Burkina Faso. We now seek one PhD candidate per implementing country (a total of three PhD candidates). The candidates for Zambia and Indonesia will enroll with the University of Amsterdam (UvA) by March 2019 for a 3-month intensive PhD training course before embarking on fieldwork activities in their respective research sites. The candidate for Burkina Faso will enroll with either UvA or a yet undetermined French-speaking university. Additionally, we will also consider applications from funded candidates already enrolled/enrolling in PhD programs elsewhere. The successful PhD candidates are expected to spend the majority of their scholarship period within the landscape of interest, conducting research activities that will support the implementation and evaluation of multistakeholder platforms. The PhD candidates will be encouraged to co-develop their research agendas with the support of the supervisory team and to employ a mixed-methods design to evaluate the performance of landscape approaches through a range of analytical lenses. As such, applications are encouraged from those with natural or social sciences backgrounds, but priority will be given to interdisciplinary scientists.
The PhD candidates will benefit from supervision from CIFOR and the partner university as well as in-country support from CIFOR scientists and implementing partners.

Duties and responsibilities

The position
This initiative aims to address persistent gaps between strong scientific theory and weak implementation by operationalizing an integrated landscape approach in Burkina Faso, Indonesia and Zambia. Integrated landscape approaches (ILAs) are multistakeholder approaches towards land governance that aim to holistically address global challenges such as deforestation, loss of environmental services, food security and climate change by bringing together different landscape actors to negotiate trade-offs between different objectives and land uses. We adopt the characterization of the ILA based on the 10 principles developed by Sayer et al. (2013).
Through the application of these principles, each country team will facilitate multistakeholder dialogue to benefit actors across multiple sectors and decision-making scales. At the same time, they will raise awareness of the value of biological diversity in complex multifunctional landscapes to inform national sector policies related to biodiversity and climate change. A primary objective is to enhance the capacity of stakeholders engaged in the target landscapes to better identify trade-offs and synergies amongst competing objectives, including food security. In doing so, we aim to contribute to existing knowledge on landscape approach effectiveness, improve capacity for implementation, enhance landscape sustainability, empower marginalized groups to more effectively participate in decision-making dialogues, and through the Global Landscape Forum (GLF) feed into global landscape discourses.
More information about this initiative can be found here.

Education, knowledge and experience

• Master’s (or equivalent) degree in development studies, sociology, geography, agriculture, forestry or related fields
• fluency in Bahasa Indonesia and French required for Indonesia and Burkina Faso candidates, respectively; fluency in English required for Zambia candidates; proven ability to read and write English (Zambia and Indonesia candidates) and/or French (Burkina Faso candidates)
• experience with interdisciplinary research techniques a distinct advantage
• previous initial first experience in development and/or research in the countries or regions of interest an asset
• experience with statistical and/or geospatial analysis an advantage.
• proven capacity to synthesize and report fieldwork activities and to work independently

Personal Attributes and Competencies

• good organizational skills and capacity to interact with different stakeholders including researchers, policy makers, practitioners, communities, etc.
• ability to work independently
• familiar with approaches and methods related to integrative approaches, environmental and/or sociological and political changes, and their impact on social–ecological systems
• ability to work in the local context conditions and spend long periods of time in the field in remote areas

Terms and Conditions

• Funding will be available for 3.5 years (3 years and 6 months) to cover tuition, sufficient stipend and research support costs. Self-funded students or those with preexisting full or partial funding are also welcome to apply. Additional funds for travel from/to university and fieldwork are available.
• This is an open call with no citizenship restrictions. Applicants meeting all or many of the criteria are encouraged to apply.
• The duty station will be in Indonesia, Zambia and Burkina Faso (one PhD student for each country).
• The work is expected to start in early March 2019.
• We encourage female researchers and researchers from developing countries to apply.

The application should include:
• a letter of motivation (max. two pages) indicating your suitability for the position, your area of research interest and how this aligns with the objectives describes above
• CV, including list of publications and contact details of two referees (letters of recommendation may be requested at a later stage).
• transcript from Master’s degree and a copy of the Master’s thesis

To apply, please visit our career site at:

To learn more about CIFOR, please visit our website at:

CIFOR is an equal opportunity employer. Staff diversity contributes to excellence.

Application process

The application deadline is 03 Dec-2018
We will acknowledge all applications, but will contact only short-listed candidates.