March 2011
Message 93

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[Met-jobs] ESRC funded studentship in Climate Compatible Development Partnerships

From Grant Bigg <>
Date Fri, 25 Mar 2011 09:36:31 +0000

ESRC funded studentship in  Climate Compatible Development Partnerships 
at the University of Sheffield

Competing demands for carbon sequestration and water resources: 
modelling and valuing of ecosystem services in the context of climate change

Supervisors: Dr Chasca Twyman, University of Sheffield 
(, Professor John Wainwright, University of 
Sheffield (, and Dr Steve Cinderby, 
University of York (

Please note that this Studentship is based in the Department of 
Geography, University of Sheffield.

Deadline for applications 20th April

Globalization of carbon offsetting relating to the needs of developed 
countries provides a major potential for the economies of the Global 
South, especially across Sub-Saharan Africa. However, this potential 
produces a set of tensions, not least in competing land uses for 
maintaining sustainable communities in contrast to the provision of 
broader ecosystem services (ES). These tensions are likely to be further 
exacerbated by climate change, which in many areas of Sub-Saharan Africa 
will increase variability and uncertainty of rainfall inputs. This 
variability is leading to increased pressure on already sparse water 
resources with the risks and trade-off´s between carbon, water and 
poverty alleviation goals of community-based natural resource management 
and carbon finance projects as yet being poorly understood. This project 
will carry out a comparative study of carbon-finance initiatives and 
community-based natural resource management in both the Tanzania and 
Zimbabwe study regions in order to complement the work carried out in 
the other two projects in the network. The timeliness of this research 
is demonstrated by the interdisciplinary approach taken to investigate 
community-based carbon-trading initiatives and water footprints, and our 
collaboration with a Niall Marriott Associates (who are experts in 
pro-poor sustainable business), CGIAR in Zimbabwe (former research 
partner and an international sustainable development partnership) and 
the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (a new collaboration) to develop 
"bottom-up", sustainable business insights developed from identification 
of local needs and supported by state-of-the-art developments in the 
application of agent-based modelling approaches.


The aim of this project is to evaluate the competing demands for carbon 
sequestration and water resources and the valuing of ES in the context 
of climate change. The project will address the following research 

1.What is the relationship between carbon sequestration and water 
resources and how can areas of competition and tension (e.g. in water 
supply and quality for agriculture and drinking) and synergy (e.g. in 
flood and erosion mitigation) be identified?
2.How do communities understand the relationship between carbon and water?
3.How are competing ES valued at community, regional, national and 
international levels?
4.What potential is there to engage community-based organizations in 
carbon-finance initiatives that are realistic and sustainable?
5.Which ES, communities and livelihood strategies will benefit from 
these initiatives and which will not?
6.What is the potential to link with business to create realistic and 
sustainable initiatives?
This research is interdisciplinary and adopts approaches and techniques 
from both the social and natural sciences. These include: discourse 
analysis of regional, national and international policy documentation; 
semi-structured interviews with key policy and practitioners at the 
regional and local level; and, participatory appraisal within case-study 
communities to contribute to hydrological assessments of study 
catchments and their likely water resource management futures. 
Participatory GIS and participatory, agent-based model-building 
approaches will develop tools that have the potential to be used by 
community-based organisation and policy makers to create realistic and 
sustainable carbon-finance initiatives that account for associated 
impacts on both livelihood systems and water resources.

Resources and Facilities Available

The student will be provided with dedicated desk space and computing 
equipment within the Department of Geography (Sheffield). They will have 
access to the necessary software for GIS and model building exercises 
from both Sheffield and York. Two fieldwork seasons will be required. 
The first will involve substantial data collection requiring setting up 
of interviews, participant observation and group work in two locations. 
It is realistic to assume that this work can be carried out in five 
months. A shorter period (2 months) of fieldwork is required for model 
evaluation and community feedback. The student will have in country 
support from collaborators in both Zimbabwe and Tanzania and will work 
closely with the other two network students and the field partners 
supporting their work to ensure real synergies to add extra insights 
from the use of these new agent-based modelling approaches.

Nature of Aware and Person Specification

As a +3 award applicants must be able to start study on October 2011 and 
have completed an ESRC-recognised Masters Degree or appropriate research 
training programme.

UK students will be eligible for a full award and other European Union 
applicants will be eligible for an award paying academic fees only, 
except in cases where residency in the UK has been established for more 
than 3 years prior to the start of the programme of study.

Application Procedure

Formal applications should be made online. For more information on the 
application procedure follow instructions at:

Applications should be submitted online by April 20th, 2011. Please 
include with your application: (i) a full CV and (ii) a brief covering 
letter specifically explaining why you are interested in the project. 
Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interviews scheduled for May 
5th 2011.


For more information on the project, please contact Dr Chasca Twyman 
( or any of the supervisors involved in the 

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