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Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon: PhD Position

PhD Position – Deconstructing small islands’ challenges in the global discourse on climate change

Reference code: 50099092_2
Commencement date: as soon as possible
Work location: Geesthacht
Application deadline: 16.07.2023

We are looking for a highly motivated, creative PhD researcher to join the Department of Human Dimensions in Coastal Areas (KSO) in an analytical study on deconstructing small islands’ challenges in times of climate change. The position is limited to three years.

In the media and international discourse, small islands are commonly stylized as victims of climate change. The general narrative of drowning islands, however, overlooks crucial regional natural differences and varying socio-political contexts, as well as the broader range of internal and external stressors that put pressure on the sustainable development of islands. In order to understand the full dynamics of island development in times of climate change, it is necessary to deconstruct the dominant narrative surrounding small islands. This requires a dual natural and social science perspective, analyzing the state of the art on natural dynamics shaping and affecting small islands, examining political agenda setting on the national and international level, as well as scrutinizing the various internal stressors affecting islands and their impact on future development.

The 3-year PhD project will carry out an analysis of current state of the art knowledge on global natural island dynamics in combination with stereotyped narratives on islands in science and media. During the course of your PhD, you will contribute to an understanding of the rationale, role and forms of regional differentiation. You will also scrutinize media coverage and its repetition of stereotypes, the constraints this poses for changing the narrative of islands as victims, and the role that is played by different political contexts. From this context the specific focus can be chosen, the approach and methodology will be developed in collaboration with your supervisors and includes natural science analysis and statistics, as well as empirical social science methods, e.g. media and document analysis, surveys and interviews. The framing of your study will interdisciplinary access different knowledge claims and consider how stereotyped storylines relate to ambitions of change.
You are expected to draw on various theoretical concepts in the development of your analytical approach. The appointed candidate will join the team at KSO and benefit from working alongside a larger group of researchers across Hereon and Hamburg University.

Equal opportunity is an important part of our personnel policy. We would therefore strongly encourage qualified women to apply for the position.

Your tasks

  • The successful applicant is expected to work independently as part of a wider study. As
  • part of completing a PhD, key tasks will include:
  • analysis of different knowledges of global island morphological dynamics within a
  • broader context of socio-ecological systems approaches
  • developing an analytical concept for investigating global/regional conditions of island
  • development in contrast to national/local political agenda setting surrounding small
  • islands and climate change
  • carrying out empirical work and synthesizing results
  • preparing manuscripts and conference presentations, including a PhD at the University
  • of Hamburg
  • contribute to other work of the Department related to this topic

For further questions please contact: Prof. Dr. Beate Ratter, beate.ratter@hereon.de

Your profile
Essential qualifications:

  • Master or Diploma degree in an appropriate field (geography, environmental sciences,
  • political sciences, social sciences etc.)
  • proficiency in writing and orally presenting research results
  • ability to work independently
  • skills in scientific analysis and willingness to explore new thinking
  • Desirable qualifications:
  • excellent communication skills in English and German (spoken, written)
  • experience with social and natural science methods and field work (e.g. satellite image
  • analysis, statistics, interviews, surveys)
  • familiarity with guiding social theories

We offer you

  • an exciting and varied job in a research centre with more than 1,100 employees from around 50 nations
  • a well connected research campus and best networking opportunities
  • individual opportunities for further training
  • social benefits according to the collective agreement of the public service and remuneration
  • an excellent technical infrastructure and modern workplace equipment
  • 6 weeks holiday per year and company holidays between Christmas and New Year’s Day
  • very good compatibility private and professional life through offers of mobile and flexible work
  • PhD Buddy Program
  • family-friendly company policy with childcare facilities, e. g. nursery close to the company
  • free assistance program for employees (EAP)
  • Corporate Benefits
  • a varied offer in the canteen on campus

Then we are looking forward to receiving your comprehensive application documents (CV, letter of motivation, description of research experience and specific PhD ideas in the context of the position) indicating the reference number code no. 2023/KS 5 until 16.07.2023

Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon
The Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon conducts cutting-edge international research for a changing world: Around 1,100 employees
contribute to the tackling of climate change, the sustainable use of the world’s
coastal systems and the resource-compatible enhancement of the quality of life. From fundamental research to practical applications, the interdisciplinary research spectrum covers a unique range. Institute of Coastal Systems Analysis and Modeling The Institute for Coastal Systems Analysis and Modeling studies the dynamics of coastal systems as part of the Earth system and develops prediction methods and future scenarios for coastal systems. One focus of our research is the study of coastal ecosystems, which are subject to increasing pressure to change due to climate change, use of coastal environments, and other human drivers.

Apply now!

everely disabled persons and those equaling severely disabled persons who are equally suitable for the position will be considered preferentially within the framework of legal requirements.

Max-Planck-Straße 1
21502 Geesthacht

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