Research Scholar, Biodiversity / Climate Ethics and Governance – IIASA, Austria

Deadline: 8 January 2024
Position: Research Scholar, Biodiversity / Climate Ethics and Governance
Location: International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Austria
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Job Description:

The Equity and Justice (EQU) Research Group within the IIASA Population and Just Societies (POPJUS) Program is looking to recruit a highly motivated research scholar to explore the ethical and governance challenges for enacting just transformational pathways to mitigate or halt biodiversity loss amid the climate crises.


The EQU Group focuses on the human dimension of selected globally relevant policy challenges, with the aim of delineating and advancing their analysis, management, and governance with special attention paid to the design and application of frameworks for identifying and assessing crucial underlying ethical questions. One key activity of the EQU group is investigating justice, finance and governance for the transitions required for implementing nature-based solutions. These solutions contribute to both climate mitigation and adaptation while helping to halt biodiversity loss within the European Union (building on the EU Green Deal and specifically the Biodiversity Strategy) and across the world. This entails identifying societal, policy and institutional enablers and barriers involving, for instance, ethical evaluation and empirical case studies, interviews, and discourse analyses. The candidate selected for this role will participate in fostering EQU research in these and related topics, and will join the Horizon Europe funded project, RAINFOREST.

The Role:

The work will be carried out under the supervision of Dr. Thomas Schinko and in close collaboration with the IIASA Integrated Biosphere Futures (IBF) Research Group within the IIASA Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR) Program. The successful candidate will be comfortable working in inter- and transdisciplinary environments and be enthusiastic about interacting with stakeholders from all parts of society, including researchers working on global modeling, biodiversity, and agronomy to explore how science can better support policy and decision making.

Based on the methodological developments and scientific insights generated within the RAINFOREST project, the successful candidate will take on a leading role in further developing EQU research activities on governance and justice aspects at the climate-biodiversity nexus, including conceptualizing a biodiversity justice framework and applying for follow-up research grants.

  • Carry out governance/empirical ethics tasks in RAINFOREST, including literature reviews and scoping studies, desktop research, interviews, and analyses at all governance scales.
  • Perform case study analyses including stakeholder interviews; lead the writing of scientific journal articles, project reports, white papers, and policy briefs.
  • Contribute to the organization of project-related workshops and/or webinars.
  • Contribute to the dissemination of project results via high-quality journal publications and conference presentations.
  • Support the preparation of presentations, grant proposals and other scientific outputs.
  • Take a leading role in establishing an EQU research focus on governance and ethics research in the climate-biodiversity nexus.
  • Support other EQU-related activities.
  • In line with the team spirit that prevails at IIASA, the successful candidate may occasionally work on other tasks assigned by their supervisors, that might not be directly related to this appointment but where the post holder has relevant experience and skills, and/or a shortage of immediate personnel capabilities requires such.
  • PhD (or equivalent) and experience in relevant humanities, social or natural science disciplines (e.g., applied ethics, economics, political sciences, environmental sciences, or systems sciences).
  • Solid publication record (considering the academic age of the candidate) in one or more of the above-mentioned research fields.
  • Experience in the (work package) management of international projects involving several project partners.
  • Good understanding of:
    • Philosophy and ethics of conservation biology and biodiversity loss, current governance approaches to reduce biodiversity loss, applied ecology, food systems, environmental economics, and conservation research.

    • Qualitative social-empirical methods and case study analysis, particularly interview design and systematic analysis using QDA tools (e.g., Nvivo).

    • Models applied to the food/biomass and biodiversity nexus, coupled with knowledge of climate change mitigation (desirable).

  • Experience contributing to the writing and coordination of research grant proposals.
  • Excellent organizational and communication skills.
  • Pro-active and results-oriented, and the capacity to deliver on allocated tasks and respond in a timely manner to deadlines.
  • Ability to work independently as well as with an international and interdisciplinary team.
  • IIASA offers an interdisciplinary and international workplace, and the possibility to interact with researchers of different nationalities, with strong ties to a world-wide network of research institutions engaged in environmental systems research. The successful candidate must be able to work in, and have respect for, an intercultural environment, and IIASA core values.
Appointment Terms:

The selected candidate should be available to take up the position in the first quarter of 2024 . We offer an initial fixed-term, full-time (40 hours per week) employment contract for one year with the possibility for extension thereafter. Eligible applicants wishing to work part-time hours will also be considered.

Duties will be carried out at the IIASA premises in Laxenburg, near Vienna in Austria.

The successful candidate will be hired as Research Scholar (R2) according to the criteria described in the IIASA profiles for research careers.

Offer from IIASA:
  • The possibility to contribute to environmental sciences for sustainability and global wellbeing.
  • The opportunity to deepen and improve knowledge and scientific profile.
  • Career development perspectives.
  • An attractive annual salary which is exempt from income tax in Austria and negotiable, based on the qualifications, skills and experience of the selected individual and at least: EUR 51,894.00 (full-time), subject to deductions for health insurance and/or social security.
  • An international atmosphere and pleasant working environment in a historic market town surrounded by green areas.

IIASA salaries are:

  • Not directly comparable with other employers in Austria, due to the unique legal status and privileges granted to IIASA.
  • Subject to the principle of income aggregation (Progressionsvorbehalt in German).
Other Benefits:
  • Educational subsidies for children of school age enrolled in private schools in Austria.
  • A generous annual leave entitlement.
  • Relocation allowances and paid home leave for employees in scientific and professional categories hired from international locations.
  • The possibility to work up to 100 days per year in home office (within Austria) for full-time employees.
  • Assistance for newcomers to Austria with visa, work and residency permit applications.
  • Support finding accommodation in Austria.

Deadline for receipt of applications: 8 January 2024

A full job description and the application are available at: