Postdoctoral researcher in ethnographies of indigenous knowledge, climate change, and mobile livelihoods in Senegal

25 april 2024
Locatie Wageningen
Einddatum ma 1 juli 2024
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Your job

We are looking for an emerging scholar in the field of geography and environment to serve as a postdoctoral researcher on a new project titled: Cultural Heritage in Motion: Indigenous Knowledge and Mobile Livelihoods in Changing Climates. The project consists of an international consortium, including Wageningen university (lead coordinator), Mahidol University, University of Vienna, Deltares, and several societal stakeholders from Thailand, Ethiopia and Senegal.

You will develop, supervise, and carry out high-quality research in collaboration with the consortium partners, colleagues at the Environmental Policy Group and Wageningen University and Research, as well as your own international networks. Your research (including fieldwork and desk-based research) will result in co-authored publications in respected international journals as well as societal output, such as media pieces or support in climate-cultural visualizations the project will make with with indigenous communities through artwork and videography. The research will contribute to environmental and critical social science debates through an empirical case study of semi-nomadic pastoral and fishing communities in Senegal. You will have prior ethnographic and qualitative research experience and an ambition to apply this experience to the topic of human mobility and climate change.  

In addition to this work, you will also support Dr. Ingrid Boas and Dr. Annah Zhu in the coordination of the CuHeMo consortium work, such as helping to ensure that methodologies and data management align across the case-studies, including those executed by other consortium partners. You may also contribute to internationally oriented teaching programme at Wageningen University. This could involve guest lecturing and supervision of BSc and MSc students.

You will examine:

  • how cultural-mobility-climate change dimensions are comprehended and enacted within the communities under consideration;
  • how their mobile cultural heritage is at risk because of climate change;
  • how their mobile cultural heritage informs adaptation strategies in response to shifting climates;
  • how place-based sustainability and climate initiatives may adversely impact mobile cultural heritage.
This position includes both desk-based and field-based research.

As a secondary role, you will support Dr. Ingrid Boas and Dr. Annah Zhu in the coordination of the overall consortium. The project consists of an international consortium, including Wageningen university (lead coordinator), Mahidol University, University of Vienna, Deltares, and several societail stakeholders from Thailand, Ethiopia and Senegal. The consortium hosts multiple and related sets of expertise, including cultural studies, environmental social sciences, climate sciences, and aims to better connect these with indigenous ways of knowing to inclusively understand climate risk and adaptation. Wageningen University is the coordinator of the consortium (with Dr. Ingrid Boas as the Lead PI). Support in this role which amongst other means helping to ensure we have an integrative methodology and cross-cutting data management approach that covers a diversity of geographies and climate parameters but also brings these together through a comparative practice methodology.

In addition, also pending on your personal preferences and discussions in the team as to how to best distribute your time, you may also have teaching and supervision tasks.

Your qualities

  • a PhD degree in human geography, sociology, anthropology, environmental studies, or another discipline related to the social science of environment;
  • a clear vision on researching human mobility with respect to environmental change and indigenous knowledge holders;
  • a strong background in qualitative research design and methodologies, including ethnography;
  • a demonstrated publication record.
Also preferred:
  • experience doing field-based research in Africa, especially Senegal;
  • proficiency in French.

We offer you

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:

  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.
In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will of course receive a good salary. Depending on your experience, we offer a competitive gross salary of between € 3226,-. and €5090,-. for a working week of 38 hours, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale 10).
Initially, we offer you a one-year contract, which will then be extended another year if there is mutual enthusiasm. Of course, we would be happy to discuss this with you if you have any questions.

Wageningen University & Research encourages internal advancement opportunities and mobility with an internal recruitment policy. There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the “Best University” in the Netherlands for the 19th consecutive time.

Coming from abroad
Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees.

Our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.

Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen University & Research's International Community page contains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any additional advice and information about helping your partner to find a job, housing, schooling. For instance under the "30% rule", certain categories of international staff can receive tax exemption on approximately 30% of their gross salary.

Do you want more information?

If you have any questions on the position, please direct them to Prof. Ingrid Boas ( or Dr. Annah Zhu (

Do you want to apply?
You can apply directly using the apply button on the vacancy page on our website which will allow us to process your personal information with your approval.

Please include in your application a cover letter with your motivation for the position, your CV, and a one page research statement indicating how this project fits into your overall research aims.

This vacancy will be listed up to and including 1 July 2024. After which we will do a first selection of candidates. These we will contact to write a 4 page research reflection, based on the CuHeMo proposal text (which we will then share with you).

Based on these, we will make a selection for the job interviews, which we hope to schedule between early and mid-August.

Equal opportunities
Wageningen University & Research (WUR) employs a large number of people with very different backgrounds and qualities, who inspire and motivate each other. We want every talent to feel at home in our organisation and be offered the same career opportunities. We therefore especially welcome applications from people who are underrepresented at WUR. For more information please go to our inclusivity page. A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be read on the page working at WUR with a functional impairment.

We are

The mission of Wageningen University & Research is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment. With its roughly 30 branches, 7.200 employees (6.400 fte) and 13.200 students and over 150.000 participants to WUR’s Life Long Learning, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. The unique Wageningen approach lies in its integrated approach to issues and the collaboration between different disciplines.

More information on the project
This post-doc is part of a new project titled, Cultural Heritage in Motion (CuHeMo): Indigenous Knowledge and Mobile Livelihoods in Changing Climates, funded by NWO, as part of a collaboration between the JPI Climate, JPI Cultural Heritage and the Belmont Forum. In CuHeMo we aim to examine the role that cultural heritage plays in climate change adaptation, drawing from climate sciences, social sciences, and indigenous ways of knowing. We do so with a focus on indigenous groups whose livelihoods have historically been mobile, specifically pastoralists and fishery communities in Thailand, Ethiopia, and Senegal.  Your primary role within the project will be to focus specifically on an empirical case study of pastoral and fishery communities in Senegal. This includes: (1) Fulani pastoralists in the Ferlo Valley and Great Green Wall implementation area, the Ferlo UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve, and transhumance areas in the south; and (2) Guet Ndar fishers along the Senegal/Mauritania coast (in Senegal: Guet Ndar, Tassiner Mouette; in Mauritania: coastal zone including the UNESCO National Park of Banc d’Arguin).

Read the 5 reasons why your future colleagues enjoy working at WUR and watch this video to get an idea of our green campus!

We will recruit for the vacancy ourselves, so no employment agencies please. However, sharing in your network is appreciated.