Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment
Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment

PhD position: 'Social, economic and ecological impacts of exploiting the mesopelagic zone', Wageningen University

Application deadline: 7 March 2019

We are looking for a highly motivated and independent PhD candidate to join our H2020 MEESO (Ecologically and Economically Sustainable Mesopelagic Fisheries) team. MEESO is an international collaboration between researchers from Norway, Denmark, Portugal, and other coastal EU member states to determine the potential of sustainably exploiting the biomass in the mesopelagic zone (200-1000 meters below the ocean surface) for products included in the human food chain.

The mesopelagic zone is also known as the ocean's "twilight zone": it is the area where only a tiny fraction of daylight penetrates. This area holds huge potential for food production as it represents the largest yet unexploited marine resource. Yet, as much remains unknown about the biology and physiology of this region, its exploitation is subject to many ecological, economic, and biological uncertainties. The PhD candidate will explore the social and economic implications of exploiting the mesopelagic zone. What will be the impact of exploiting this resource on world seafood markets? What tradeoffs exist between the hopes of food provision and the risk of currently unknown ecological impacts? How will consumers and environmental groups respond to this exploitation? These questions require integration of insights from social science and natural science, and combining qualitative and quantitative methods. The successful candidate will work with the MEESO team at the Environmental Economics and Natural Resources Group and the Environmental Policy Group of Wageningen University to address the above questions. The disciplinary breadth of the project allows for considerable flexibility to find your own balance between a mixed approach of quantitative (e.g. bioeconomic modelling) and qualitative analyses (e.g. collaborative policy analysis and co-design).

We ask

  • A keen interest in sustainable marine fisheries and decision-making under uncertainty
  • An educational background in economics, political science, or an interdisciplinary field that involves both qualitative and quantitative analysis
  • Knowledge or experience in bioeconomic modelling or other quantitative simulation modelling techniques and / or
  • Knowledge in qualitative analysis tools, experience in participatory methods / stakeholder interaction
  • Good communication skills across different disciplines and cultural backgrounds, as well as good collaborative and organizational skills
  • Fluent written and spoken English
  • Independent research and publication skills

> More information

Monday 18 February 2019