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PhD: Agroecological transitions for climate resilience in Kerala, India, University of Hohenheim, Germany

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Advertiser's description (via European Commission)

Are you interested in co-producing new societally relevant knowledge to support climate adaptation and mitigation through agroecological transitions? Are you excited to collaborate with global farming communities, social movements and policy makers to promote diversified perennial systems like agroforestry? Would you like to be part of a research project that uses innovative methodologies to improve resilience in farmer livelihoods and food security while enhancing carbon sequestration in agroforestry systems in 4 corners of the world?

Then come join the team of our newly funded project Agroecological Transitions for Climate Adaptation and Mitigation(Agroecology4Climate).

The Agroecology4Climate project is co-funded by the Canadian New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF), the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Brazilian FAPESP and will use a novel methodology to test the relationships between personal, political, and practical leverage points driving the (agroecological) transition towards diversified perennial systems (e.g. agroforestry) to support climate adaptation (improving resilience in livelihoods and food security) and mitigation (increasing carbon sequestration). We understand agroecological transitions as the intentional diversification of farming in collaboration with social networks to create landscapes that foster honored work, conservation of biodiversity, and climate resilience.

The Agroecology4Climate project builds on transdisciplinary research on agroecological transitions with climate-vulnerable farming communities in Canada (British Columbia Lower Mainland), Germany (Brandenburg), India (Kerala), and Brazil (São Paulo). The project works directly with farming communities, social movements, and policy makers to improve evidence-based decision-making to assess the potential of agroecological transitions for climate adaptation and mitigation. The project consortium includes as academic partners the University of British Columbia (UBC), University of Hohenheim (UHOH), State University of São Paolo (UNESP), Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) and the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), as well as farming associations and/or cooperatives in all four case study regions.

The project has 3 main objectives: 1) evidence synthesis to test the relationships between personal, political, and practical leverage points driving the adoption of agroforestry and other diversified perennial systems, 2) field studies to test climate mitigation and adaptation outcomes across a diversification gradient, from low-diversity farming systems to perennial and agroforestry-based management systems, 3) scaling transformations through co-production of knowledge both locally within case studies and globally across case studies.

Within the Agroecology4Climate project the Department of Sustainable Use of Natural Resources (430c) at the University of Hohenheim is looking to fill a position for a PhD researcher (m/f/x). The PhD position will be for 3 years, starting August 1, 2024 (or earlier, if possible) based in Stuttgart Germany. The PhD will be co-supervised by project partners at KAU and will be expected to spend extended periods of time at KAU in Kerala, India.

The role of the PhD position will be to carry out participatory research with farmer organizations in Kerala, India and sample farms and organizations across a diversification gradient from low-diversity farming systems to highly networked, perennial management systems. The PhD will then use qualitative and quantitative methods to assess climate resilience outcomes and estimate the potential of scaling adoption of perennial practices.

Your tasks:

  • Independently carry out inter- and transdisciplinary research on agroecological transitions in Kerala that will result in a cumulative PhD thesis.
  • Leading the field study in Kerala by conducting transdisciplinary research with project partners from Thanal and Kerala Jaiva Karshaka Samithi to carry out on-farm research together with farmers.
  • Develop and deepen stakeholder networks with important actors for agroecological transitions in Kerala.
  • Conduct qualitative interviews, mixed method surveys, and field sampling (e.g. soil carbon, above-ground carbon, creating land cover maps of farms).
  • Assess farmers’ management practices, farm productivity, and participation in agroecological movements.
  • Discussing, integrating, and sharing results with project partners.
  • Attending regular project meetings and workshops.
  • Lead the writing of scientific publications, as well as contribute to other research outputs, e.g., reports, and communication/engagement materials for local stakeholders.

Selection process

Application: Please enclose the following documents with your application: short letter of motivation, curriculum vitae (CV), current transcripts and contact information of 2 professional references. Applications need to be submitted through the University of Hohenheim application portal (see

Application deadline: application reviews will start June 7, 2024 and applications close June 21.

Additional comments

For international candidates, the University of Hohenheim offers support with the logistics of relocating to Germany ( Disabled persons will be given preference if equally qualified. The University of Hohenheim aims to increase the number of female scientists, thus applications from women are particularly welcome.

We look forward to receiving your application!

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