Research Associate – ABM, Food and Land Use

This week we started advertising a post-doctoral Research Associate position to work with James on a project looking at the global food system, local land use change and how they’re connected. The successful candidate will drive the development and application of an integrated computer simulation model that represents land use decision-making agents and food commodity trade flows as part of the Belmont Forum (NERC) funded project, ‘Food Security and Land Use: The Telecoupling Challenge’.

Telecoupling is the conceptual framework of socioeconomic and environmental interactions between coupled human and natural systems (e.g., regions, nations) over distances and across scales. Telecouplings take place through socioeconomic and/or biophysical processes such as trade, species invasions, and migration. For example, while a number of countries such as China have experienced a shift from net forest loss to net forest recovery, this forest transition has been often at the cost of deforestation in other countries, such as Brazil where forested land is converted to meet global food demands for soybean and beef.

The goal of the project is to apply the telecoupling framework to understand the direct and collateral effects of feedbacks between food security and land use over long distances. To help achieve this the successful candidate will contribute to the development and application of an innovative computer simulation model that integrates data and analysis to represent coupled human and natural system components across scales, including local land use decision-making agents and global food commodity trade flows.

We’re looking for a quantitative scientist with a PhD (awarded or imminent) or equivalent in Geography, Computer Sciences, Earth Sciences or other related discipline. You should have experience in computer coding for simulation model development, preferably including agent-based modelling. Previous experience studying land use/cover change processes and dynamics or food production, trade and security is desirable.

This is a full-time position, with fixed term for up to 18 months. The deadline for applications is midnight on 19 April 2016. Interviews are scheduled to be held the week commencing 9 May 2016. For more details and how to apply see and direct questions to James via email: james.millington at

If this doesn’t sound quite like your thing, maybe you would be interested in one of the other positions we currently have open (with application deadline 30 March).

Image credit: Liu et al. (2015) Science doi: 10.1126/science.1258832