Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN)

10 PhD positions in collaborative research programme on ‘Responsible Life-sciences Innovations for Development in the Digital Age’
23 April 2015

Duration: January 2016-December 2019

Apply before: 28 May, 17:00


Wageningen University (The Netherlands), the CGIAR Research Programme on Integrated Systems for the Humid Tropics and other international partners (see Annex 1) are recruiting PhD students for their collaborative programme entitled:

Responsible life-sciences innovations for development in the digital age: Environmental Virtual Observatories for Connective Action (EVOCA) in crop, water, livestock and disease management.

The programme will study how ICT based virtual platforms may be leveraged to address development challenges. A central assumption is that enhanced information exchange, participatory monitoring and integration of knowledge may alter the logic of decision-making in networks of inter-connected stakeholders (see Annex 2 for a Programme summary).

By applying responsible innovation concepts across different life-science domains, the EVOCA programme will generate a thorough understanding of the conditions for successful virtual platforms that enable participatory monitoring and effective action in development contexts. It will thereby make a major contribution to the combination of ICT-based participatory technologies and life-science knowledge, and to our understanding of how inclusive digital platforms can enable connective action for irrigation, livestock, crop and animal disease control and resource management strategies that effectively address rural development challenges.

The programme will work on several issues and in several African countries. We will develop and test virtual platforms in five case studies (see Annex 3 for short case study descriptions):

  • Case 1: a crop and disease management expert system in potato production in Ethiopia;
  • Case 2: water monitoring and irrigation management for food production in Ghana;
  • Case 3: a malaria mosquito radar as a digital citizen science platform in Rwanda;
  • Case 4: tick-borne disease and livestock-wildlife management in Kenya;
  • Case 5: sustainable intensification of cocoa and food crop farming systems in Ghana.

For each of the five case studies we are looking for 2 PhD students who will closely collaborate as part of an interdisciplinary team. All PhD students will be supervised by both natural and social scientists.

Each PhD project will last 4 years, commencing in early January 2016. For the first phase (basic PhD training and proposal development) and last phase (finalizing writing) of the PhD trajectory, candidates will be required to stay in the Netherlands for two periods of about 7 months each. An additional 4 month visit to the Netherlands is anticipated at the end of the 2nd PhD project year. In the remainder of the 4 year period, candidates will be employed by one of the partner institutes in the case study regions for collecting field data and liaising with practice partners.

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