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The Research Institute for Sustainability (RIFS) conducts research with the aim of investigating, identifying, and advancing development pathways for transformation processes towards sustainability in Germany and abroad. The institute was founded in 2009 as the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) and has been affiliated with the Helmholtz Centre Potsdam - GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences under its new name since 1 January 2023 and is thus part of the Helmholtz Association. Its research approach is transdisciplinary, transformative, and co-creative. The Institute cooperates with partners in science, political and administrative institutions, the business community, and civil society to develop solutions for sustainability challenges that enjoy broad public support. Its central research topics include the energy transition, climate change and socio-technical transformations, as well as sustainable governance and participation. A strong network of national and international partners and a Fellow Programme supports the work of the Institute.

For our research group Ocean Governance, we are looking for a:

PostDoc / Research Associate (f_m_x)

Reference Number 7674

The successful applicant will contribute to the project "Ocean Governance", working closely with the Ocean Governance research group and the project leader Dr. Barbara Neumann and under the guidance of scientific director Prof. Dr. Mark Lawrence.

The Ocean Governance research group advances research on and engages in on-going governance processes, including policy advice, e.g., in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, seabed mining, marine litter, biodiversity conservation (including the high seas), and the ocean and climate nexus. The group is also deepening its research efforts to EU marine policy and seeks to provide new insights on emerging issues in ocean governance such as questions of justice and equity in relation to new ocean uses and unprecedented levels of ocean degradation.

The Ocean Governance project, which is conducted within the research group, focuses on analysing, supporting, and advancing governance processes and approaches for sustainable resource use, management, and conservation of the marine environment. It aims to understand how governance can contribute to transformational responses to prevailing issues such as unsustainable resource extraction (e.g., in the context of deep-sea mining), land/coast-ocean interaction incl. pollution (e.g., pollution from shipping), and to emerging issues at the ocean and climate nexus (e.g., blue carbon approaches, marine carbon dioxide removal technologies). The research is conducted with the overarching aim of implementing the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for the ocean and coasts. 

For the further development of the project´s research activities, the research group seeks a researcher with a strong background in ocean law and environmental governance, and with experience and expertise in both academic and transdisciplinary research, as well as providing policy advice to governance processes such as the negotiations to regulate deep-sea mining under the International Seabed Authority. Further, the group seeks to deepen its research on governance of emerging ocean uses and technologies, as well as understanding the implications of issues such as the fragmentation of ocean governance regimes, competing interests for ocean and coastal resources and incoherence between governance levels (e.g. international, regional, national). 

The successful applicant will further support the Ocean Governance research group in establishing and advancing collaboration and research activities within the Helmholtz Association, with other national and international partners and institutions, and in strengthening linkages to relevant policy and governance processes.

Your responsibilities:

  • Contribute to the research programme of the RIFS´ Ocean Governance project and research group through own research on emerging issues and key challenges in ocean governance, e.g., in relation to the negotiations to regulate deep-sea mining or at the climate and ocean nexus
  • Engage in relevant governance processes and provide targeted, science-based policy advice
  • Conceptualise, develop, organise and catalyse transdisciplinary dialogues with relevant actors and stakeholders, e.g. through National Dialogues for exchange and discussion with partners from science, policy, business, and civil society
  • Write and contribute to publications in different formats (e.g., peer-reviewed publications, scientific blogs, policy briefs, interviews, and podcasts), and present research and results to partners, as well as at conferences and workshops
  • Establish and maintain inter- and transdisciplinary research collaborations with partners and institutions at national, European, regional, and global levels, including within the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
  • Develop research proposals and acquire third-party funding and support the Ocean Governance research group in aligning and advancing the group’s research and activities

Your qualifications:

  • Relevant university degree at Master's level in Law of the Sea, Political Science, International Relations, or a related relevant field. A PhD is a strong asset
  • Strong interest in and knowledge of ocean governance with its legal, institutional, and organisational frameworks, in theory, and practice, and in inter- and transdisciplinary sustainability research as it pertains to ocean, coastal, and marine governance, including related conflicts and challenges
  • Experience in academic research in the described fields and topical areas, including legal, governance and sustainability research relating to ocean and coasts
  • Practical experience in working with and providing advice to organizations and stakeholders at the global level (e.g., ISA, DOALOS), EU and regional levels, and at the national level, particularly with the German Government (e.g., BMUV, UBA)
  • Strong writing skills and the ability to write and communicate research and outputs to a wide and diverse audience
  • Outstanding oral and written communication skills in English; knowledge of German is an asset
  • Proven networking capacity and willingness to travel, including internationally, and implement meetings and workshops and
  • Ability to work independently in an interdisciplinary team with a high degree of enthusiasm, flexibility, creativity, and personal initiative within a transdisciplinary, policy-relevant field

What we offer:

  • The opportunity to work in a dynamic, multicultural, inter- and transdisciplinary research environment in the field of sustainability science in general, and ocean governance in particular
  • Excellent contact with a range of national, European, regional, and international organisations, research institutes, and think tanks
  • State-of-the-art equipment
  • Public service benefits
  • Extensive training opportunities
  • Professional career advice offered by our in-house Career-Centre 
  • Flexible working hours and conditions
  • Support with finding a good work-life balance offered by benefit@work
  • Institute day-care centre on site

Start date: 1st July 2023
Fixed-term: 2 years
Salary: The position is classed as salary group 13 according to “TVöD Bund (Tarifgebiet Ost)”. The salary group is determined on the basis of the Collective Wage Agreement and the respective personal qualifications.
Working hours: Part-time 75% (currently 29.25 h/week)
Place of work: Potsdam

Have we piqued your interest?

If so, we look forward to receiving your application by 31st May 2023 including an one-page letter of motivation and CV, together with two writing samples. Please use our online application form only.

Diversity and equal opportunities are integral components of our human resources policy. The RIFS actively promotes diversity and explicitly welcomes applications from all qualified individuals, regardless of ethnic and social origin, nationality, gender, sexual orientation and identity, religion/belief, age and physical characteristics. Anyone who has been recognized as severely disabled, will be given preferential consideration in the event of equal suitability and qualification in accordance with the provisions of the German Social Code IX. If you have any questions, please contact our representative for the severely disabled at sbv[at]gfz-potsdam.de, who will be happy to assist you in the further application process. In case of further queries regarding gender equality, please do not hesitate to contact our Equal Opportunities Officer at gba[at]gfz-potsdam.de.

Your personal data will be processed for the purpose of conducting the selection procedure on the basis of Art. 6 para. 1 b, Art. 88 GDPR in conjunction with Art. 26 of the Data Protection Act for the State of Brandenburg. After completion of the procedure, application documents will be deleted in compliance with data protection regulations.
In case of any further queries relating to the field of activity, please contact Dr. Barbara Neumann either via email at barbara.neumann@rifs-potsdam.de or phone +49 (0)331-28822-385. If you have any general questions about the application process, please contact our recruiting team at our phone number +49 (0) 331-6264-28787.

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