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Post-Doctoral Researcher

Salary:  £40,407 to £53,409 per annum
Post Type: Full Time: 35 hours per week
Contract Type:  Fixed Term (30 months)
Closing Date:  23.59 hours BST on Friday 31 May 2024
Interview Date:  Thursday 06 June 2024
Reference:  10-2024

The Institute of Development Studies (IDS) delivers world-class research, learning and teaching that transforms the knowledge, action and leadership needed for more equitable and sustainable development globally.

The Institute of Development Studies (IDS) seeks to appoint a Post-Doctoral Researcher (PDR) to join the transdisciplinary CLimate Adaptation and Resilience in Tropical drYlands (CLARITY) research project ( CLARITY is supported by CLARE, a UK-Canada framework research programme on Climate Adaptation and Resilience (CLARE) aiming to enable socially inclusive and sustainable action to build resilience to climate change and natural hazards in Africa and Asia-Pacific (

CLARITY will address the critical need to identify equitable, sustainable and climate-resilient development pathways in tropical drylands. The project will create long-term assets (data, tools) and capacities to achieve transformational change. Tropical drylands are home to some of the poorest and most marginalized communities and are highly vulnerable to climate change. In these regions, groundwater plays a vital role, sustaining water supplies and livelihoods due to its ability to buffer against climate variability. Groundwater development offers opportunities for both sustainable development and climate resilience. But if poorly managed, there are risks of depletion, inequitable access and unsustainable development pathways. CLARITY will work through ‘Transformation Labs’ (T-Labs) in India, Niger-Nigeria and Tanzania, which span a range of dryland settings and capture the complex challenges of rural/urban water resilience under rapid development. T-Labs are collaborative spaces where people take an active role in co-developing sustainable, equitable pathways. This approach is solutions-focused, transdisciplinary and novel in three ways. It will: (i) co-construct narratives of water practices and potentials with marginalised groups and train ‘para-hydrogeologists’ in the community to collect and analyse data for local action; (ii) use the narratives and data to build models that generate disaggregated, technically and socially ‘plausible’ pathways; and (iii) engage with key change makers to ensure the research gets embedded in wider policy processes and communities of practice by sharing tools, training materials, interactive reports and ‘serious games’.

The PDR will also be associated with Rural Futures Research Cluster at IDS. Rural societies, economies and areas face challenges and opportunities that can be qualitatively different from their urban analogues, including limited access to infrastructure, services and political decision-making and greater exposure to some kinds of environmental shocks and stresses. Many possible rural futures can be envisaged, each carrying implications for local livelihoods, poverty and social relations, conflict, migration, production and distribution systems, food security, natural resource management and environmental change. Rural Futures research acknowledges that improvements in social justice and sustainability can be achieved by opening up a diversity of economic, environmental and technological pathways, practices, models and institutional arrangements that create new democratic spaces, strengthen social movements, enhance innovation and empower rural men, women and young people to take greater control over their productive assets. The aspirations, agency, voices and assets of rural people must be central to these dynamic processes. The empowerment of people in rural areas who are poor and vulnerable are central to our concerns.
Finally, the successful candidate will also be affiliated with the Sussex Sustainability Research Programme (SSRP), a transdisciplinary Centre of Excellence involving IDS and the University of Sussex, Brighton, UK ( The mission of SSRP is to be a hub for delivering cutting-edge research to international, national and local stakeholders to enable effective, efficient and equitable responses to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SSRP research specifically focuses on solutions to avoid trade-offs among the goals and explores synergies that allow multiple SDGs to be accomplished at the same time. It focuses on five core themes: (i) Ecosystems, Rights and Justice; (ii) Planetary Health; (iii) South Coast Sustainability; (iv) Sustainability Frontiers; and (v) Sustainable Climate and Food Systems. SSRP supports two large CLARE-funded research consortia linked to Theme 5: CLARITY and PASSAGE (‘Strengthening Pastoralist Livelihoods in the Greater Horn of Africa Through Effective Anticipatory Action’ –

The PDR will work under the direction and line management of the Social Science Leads of CLARITY, Dr John Thompson and Dr Imogen Bellwood-Howard. The line managers are responsible for induction, appraisal, support and ongoing management to support excellent performance, though these activities can be designated to other senior colleagues by agreement.
PDR posts at IDS provide the opportunity for recent PhD graduates to develop further research experience, in collaboration with and mentored by more senior colleagues. This is seen as a transitional position between a PhD and a longer-term research career. Duties and responsibilities of the role are meant to both address the needs of the project and support the successful candidate's professional and intellectual development as a researcher. The line managers will support the Post-doctoral Researcher to achieve a programme of published work and to identify and pursue suitable future funding opportunities, building up independent fundraising skills. The income target is currently 192 days. The Post-Doctoral Researcher will be a member of a home cluster whose leader and members can be expected to provide broader intellectual support, but who are not responsible for fundraising or career progression.

The PDR position is a fixed-term position, fully funded in Year 1, 75% in Year 2, and 50% in Year 3, as individuals will be expected to pursue funding opportunities to diversify their funding in years 2 and 3. If funding is not secured at the expected level, several supportive steps will be followed, as set out in the PDR policy. With support and training, the aim is for the PDR to develop their own portfolio of work. It is anticipated that for the right candidate this role will eventually lead to the possibility of application to a Fellowship position at IDS, subject to a vacancy arising and meeting the required standards as assessed by the Fellow Review and Promotion Board (FRPB). Post-Doctoral Researchers will have a ‘Career Progression Review’ towards the end of their two years in post, conducted by a designated small group of IDS research leaders and managers, to take stock of performance and advise on career development prospects. All PDRs are additionally welcome to take advantage of the Institute’s mentoring scheme.

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IDS is committed to eliminating discrimination, and to embedding and supporting equality, diversity and inclusion among our workforce, in our work and in all our activities. We welcome applications from all sections of the community, irrespective of background, belief or identity and particularly encourage applications from groups which are underrepresented at IDS.

Our vision is of a more equitable and sustainable world, where people everywhere can live their lives free from poverty and injustice.

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