Lund University, Faculty of Social Sciences , LUCSUS

Lund University was founded in 1666 and is repeatedly ranked among the world’s top universities. The University has around 45 000 students and more than 8 000 staff based in Lund, Helsingborg and Malmö. We are united in our efforts to understand, explain and improve our world and the human condition.

Lund University welcomes applicants with diverse backgrounds and experiences. We regard gender equality and diversity as a strength and an asset.

Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS) is host to both graduate and postgraduate education. In research and teaching, we strive to integrate critical and problem solving approaches while focusing on global sustainability challenges such as biodiversity loss, climate change, major land use changes, and water conflicts.

Sustainability Science PhD programme

The PhD programme in sustainability science consists of 240 credits (equivalent to four years of fulltime studies); it concludes with the public defence of a doctoral thesis. The appointed doctoral student will receive a salary from the University for the four years, where their primary obligation is to complete the PhD studies. The PhD position also may involve departmental duties, mainly in the form of teaching of up to 20 per cent of full-time working hours, in which case the position appointment will be extended by the equivalent number of hours. The terms of employment for doctoral students are regulated in the Swedish Higher Education Ordinance (HF), Chapter 5, Sections 1– 7.

The research project on traditional knowledge and hunting in the Colombian Amazon

The successful candidate will work within the department’s 4-year research project entitled “Beneath the canopy - traditional knowledge and hunting in the Colombian Amazon” which will start in April 2022. The project will receive funding from the Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development (FORMAS) and will deliver high quality research along with relevant policy recommendations.

Unsustainable hunting in tropical forests causes biodiversity loss, affects people’s food provision and leads to the decline of seed dispersing animals in tropical forests which in turn affects ecosystem functions and carbon storage, even in intact forests. The overall objective of this project is to analyze the interactions between formal and informal institutions on hunting practices and their implications for tropical forest biodiversity, forest degradation and the livelihoods of people. Research will be conducted around the following research questions:

1) How do formal institutions for forest governance at national and local levels affect the use of forest resources and forest fauna?

2) What are the social, cultural, economic and ecological factors, including local norms, traditional ecological knowledge, and informal arrangements, that determine the use of forest resources and wildlife in the Colombian Amazon region?

3) What are the implications of hunting of forest fauna for livelihoods, long term biodiversity conservation, the ability of tropical forests to sequester and store carbon and availability of timber and other forest products?

4) To what extent can traditional ecological knowledge be leveraged in forest governance across multiple levels to address defaunation and support long-term sustainable resources use?

General qualifications

The requirements for admission to third cycle courses and study programmes (in accordance with HF, Chapter 7, Section 35) are that the applicant:

Meets the general and specific entry requirements that the higher education institution may have laid down, and is considered in other respects to have the ability required to benefit from the course or study programme (Swedish Code of Statutes 2010:1064).

A person meets the general entry requirements for third cycle courses and study programmes if (s)he: has been awarded a second cycle qualification, has satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the second cycle or has acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or internationally.

Required qualifications

The main research tasks for the position will be linked closely to the broader project objectives and research questions (specified above). The successful candidate will carry out independent and interdisciplinary research that involves desk- based and empirical methods. Methods include a systematic global literature review on traditional ecological knowledge and tropical fauna use and management; national and regional policy analysis of hunting laws and regulations in Colombia; and case-study research in two study sites in the Colombian Amazon using mixed methods (interviews and role-playing games) supported by an ethnographic research approach to collect data on the interplay between formal and informal institutions and TEK around fauna and hunting practices. The geographical focus is the Colombian Amazon region. Case studies from other countries can serve as complementary research. The geographical focus entails that the PhD candidates will have to engage with national and local actors, but primarily research will be carried out with indigenous and local forest resources users in the region through e.g., interviews, focus group interviews, ethnographic research.

The ideal PhD candidate for the position will have the following specific qualifications:

  • A Masters degree in Sustainability Science, Human Geography, Human Ecology, Anthropology, Ecology, Conservation Sciences or a related field.
  • A strong interest in interdisciplinary research across natural and social sciences, for instance combining conservation science with traditional ecological knowledge and anthropology or political ecology, or similar.
  • Excellent skills in written and spoken Spanish and English.
  • A strong and documented interest in tropical forest ecology, conservation biology, indigenous knowledges and practices and the capacity to combine insights and methods from different scientific disciplines
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of an interdisciplinary, inclusive and international research environment. Enthusiasm to contribute to teaching at LUCSUS and to work with master’s students.
  • Experience working with local and indigenous communities in the Amazon region
  • Willingness to spend longer amounts of time in Colombia and the ability to cope with tropical forest environments


Desired qualifications

In addition, the following qualification strengthen a candidate’s profile:

  • Experience with scientific publishing Experience with research methods relevant to the project (e.g., qualitative interviews, household surveys, ethnographic research methods, stakeholder workshops, role-playing games)
  • Familiarity with theories and concepts relevant to the project (e.g., social-ecological systems theory)

Assessment criteria

Only applicants who are eligible for third cycle studies may be appointed to a doctoral studentship. Admission is primarily to be based on the applicant’s ability to benefit from the third cycle programme.

The applicants will be assessed based on the criteria named above and, in particular, their ability to conduct independent research and their ability and interest to contribute to a new and developing research field. As third cycle studies in sustainability science are demanding, the applicant must be highly motivated and able to work independently under multiple time constraints. Good collaboration and communication skills are also required, as is proficiency in written and spoken English and Spanish.

Application procedure

Applications are to be submitted electronically via the Lund University application portal. The application must include:

A cover letter in English of max. 2 500 words. This should contain a brief presentation of yourself, your motivation and qualifications for carrying out PhD research. The letter should also contain a statement on why you would like to work on this specific project, how your qualifications make you suitable for the position (with reference to the specific qualifications and research questions listed above), and what individual interests and priorities you would like to pursue within the project’s overall aims, provided your application were successful. A CV in English (2 pages max) that demonstrates your qualifications for the third cycle programme in Sustainability Science (including publications, if relevant) Degree and grade certificates. A copy of your degree thesis/theses, corresponding to at least 30 credits (30 credits Master’s degree thesis, or 15 credits Master’s degree thesis plus 15 credits Bachelor's degree thesis). Name and contact information of three professional references (note: letters of reference are not required in the first stage of application).

Interviews will be conducted with a shortlisted number of applicants during the final stages of the admission process.

Type of employment Temporary position
Salary Monthly salary
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100
City Lund
County Skåne län
Country Sweden
Reference number PA2021/4096
  • Cecilia Kardum Smith,
  • Torsten Krause,
Published 13.Dec.2021
Last application date 17.Jan.2022 11:59 PM CET

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