American Association of Geographers

Postdoctoral Research Associate

University of Georgia
Athens, Georgia, United States (on-site)
17 days ago


Postdoctoral Research Associate - Climate, Policy, and the Sustainability of the Basque Socio-Environmental System

We seek a French-speaking social scientist for innovative, participatory, and transdisciplinary research examining the future of Basque farming in the context of cultural, policy, and climate change. Our hiring timeline is flexible between late spring 2023 and early summer 2024, so we invite applicants who have PhD in hand or who will complete their PhDs within the next year.

Basque pastoralists have been full partners in the design and development of this project since its inception, and we seek a postdoc who shares our commitment to knowledge co-production. Together, farmers and scholars have outlined two primary research objectives: 1) characterize the existing Basque pastoral socio-environmental system (SES), and 2) analyze and model future changes in the system by integrating long term socio-environmental data with climate and policy forecasts. The research team includes scholars from the University of Georgia, Appalachian State University, the University of Kentucky, the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), and the Basque Center for Climate Change (BC3), as well as a steering committee of farmers and food system advocates. The postdoc will be supervised and mentored by Meredith Welch-Devine, Jennifer Thompson, and Brian Burke.

The research is funded for five years by a National Science Foundation Dynamics of Socio-environmental Systems (DISES) grant. Major research activities include long-term ethnographic research and interpretive policy analysis conducted by the postdoctoral researcher with support from the social science team; soil, vegetation, and lifecycle analysis; climate downscaling and forecasting; and interdisciplinary model building and community-based workshops to investigate possible future scenarios. Our goal is that our research will empower Basque institutions to engage more effectively in advocacy, climate adaptation, and commons governance. Moreover, we aim to contribute to the larger question of how to support and sustain pastoral systems in a changing world.

You can learn more about the research and research team at


The Postdoctoral Research Associate will be primarily responsible for ethnographic research in the French-Basque province of Soule, including semi-structured interviews and participant observation with Basque farmers and at public events. This position will also include travel across France to interview policymakers and agricultural, environmental, and energy policy advocates. The postdoc must be able to live in Soule for approximately 8 months per year, build strong community relationships, and work independently to advance team goals. They should also be a strong writer with an interest in exploring how social scientists can contribute to interdisciplinary models without sacrificing nuance. Additional contributions may include literature reviews, co-facilitation of systems thinking and scenario analysis workshops, archival and policy research, and contributions to team video/audio work.

The ideal candidate for this position will possess outstanding written and oral communication skills in both French and English, have experience collaborating or working as part of a team, and have experience conducting independent social science research (from methodological development to fieldwork to analysis and writing). Candidates should have experience with rural communities and a desire to work with diverse stakeholders to advance climate justice, adaptation, and community well-being. Candidates must be self-motivated and able to work independently, with strong mentorship from project collaborators. Preferred candidates will have experience with community-engaged scholarship, participatory workshop facilitation, and communication of science to non-specialist audiences.

Compensation and Benefits:

  • Position includes spending approximately 8 months/year in the French Pyrenees for fieldwork (living expenses covered), with 4 months in or near Athens, GA.
  • The initial appointment is for one year, with the potential to extend to up to three years with satisfactory performance.
  • Compensation is $50,000/year, plus UGA benefits, with living expenses (housing, transportation stipend, per diem) covered while in the field.

Qualifications (required): 

  • Ph.D. in anthropology, geography, sociology, or other relevant social science field (note: applicants within a year of completion are also encouraged to apply, given the flexible start date for this position)
  • Strong qualitative research skills, including experience with participant observation and designing, conducting, and analyzing semi-structured interviews
  • Fluency in French and English
  • Familiarity with agriculture and conservation issues in the European Union and the French Pyrenees
  • Ability to write clearly, professionally, and persuasively
  • Effective oral communication skills
  • Demonstrated ability to establish strong community connections / rapport
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively in teams
  • Physical ability to conduct interviews and observation with farmers in fields and mountain pastures, either independently or with assistive technology

Qualifications (preferred): 

  • Experience leading stakeholder workshops or focus groups 
  • Experience with interpretive policy analysis
  • Track record of publishing in peer-reviewed journals
  • Experience conducting literature reviews
  • Applied experience related to community development, conservation, and/or natural resources governance


Applications will be submitted through the University of Georgia Human Resources jobs portal (posting R19807P). Applications must include:

  • Cover letter
  • CV
  • Research statement that describes past research and future research goals (including details about specific roles in different phases of research, independent/team components, and specific methods)
  • Names of 3 references (references will only be contacted after notifying the applicant)
  • Writing sample

Review of applications will begin on January 15, 2023. However, we are looking for the ideal candidate and will continue to review applications until the position is filled.

Please direct any inquiries about the position or project to Dr. Meredith Welch-Devine (

Job Information

  • Job ID: 66793359
  • Workplace Type: On-Site
  • Location:
    Athens, Georgia, United States
  • Company Name For Job: University of Georgia
  • Position Title: Postdoctoral Research Associate
  • Industry: Academic
  • Job Function: Research
  • Job Type: Full-Time
Jobs You May Like