Vacancy: Research scientist in support of the Biosphere Working Group

The Earth Commission Scientific Secretariat seeks a full-time or part-time research scientist with deep expertise in biodiversity science and international collaboration. Flexible physical location. Apply by 31 March.

The successful candidate will join the team of the Earth Commission Secretariat from Future Earth, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). S/he will ensure the scientific support of the Earth Commission Working Group on the Biosphere including coordinating workshops and facilitating scientific collaborations between working group members.

The Earth Commission is a group of leading scientists convened by Future Earth. Their mission is to synthesize the latest science to underpin the development of science-based targets for systems like land, water, and biodiversity. With a mandate to deliver the major scientific publication on scientific target-setting in 2022, the Earth Commission has set itself an ambitious objective to define a safe and just corridor for people and planet. The Earth Commission work will be complementary to and build on existing assessments, such as the IPCC and IPBES reports. The Earth Commission is part of the Global Commons Alliance.

Roles and responsibilities
The research scientist will be responsible for the scientific support and coordination of the Biosphere Working Group of the Earth Commission, under the leadership of Fabrice DeClerck (One CGIAR), David Obura (CORDIO East Africa) and Peter Verburg (Free University of Amsterdam). This includes a variety of aspects:

  • Ensuring the scientific day-to-day support of the Working Group through scientific literature reviews, background research, and coordination and drafting of scientific publications.
  • Maintaining a high level of momentum among Working Group members by organizing in-person and online meetings.
  • Supporting the investigation of the role of functional diversity and ecosystem integrity in defining a safe and just space for humanity.
  • Supporting the assessment of biosphere integrity to maintaining a stable Earth system, including on integrity, intactness and functional diversity.
  • Enhancing the visibility of the Working Group progress and outputs through collaboration with the communications team.
  • Maintaining close communication and collaboration with the Earth Commission Scientific Secretariat and the key partners of the Biosphere Working Group with the Science Based Targets Network and relevant Future Earth Global Research Projects.

The successful candidate should

  • Have a Ph.D. degree (or be working towards a PhD) in ecology, biodiversity or a related field.
  • Show a deep understanding of the complex challenges of the role of the biosphere and biodiversity in regulating the stability of the Earth system and providing nature’s contributions to people.
  • Have core foundation in biodiversity and ecology balanced with an interdisciplinary scientific curiosity, ideally proven through key publications in academic journals.
  • Specific analytical skills, notably spatially explicit GIS, or use of remote sensing data a plus.
  • Programming, meta-analysis, or modelling skills are of interest.
  • Bring practical experience in coordinating networks and organizing meetings and conferences.
  • Be at ease in international settings, with a solid level of confidence and integrity when collaborating and reaching out to major international organizations like CBD and IPBES.
  • Show high inter-personal, intercultural, and interdisciplinary collaborative skills and be willing to participate in meetings/workshops outside of normal office hours in order to accommodate a range of timezones.
  • Speak and write English fluently; knowledge of one or more other languages is an advantage.

Our offer
The successful candidate could be employed as a staff member of Future Earth in Sweden (requires residence in Sweden and proof of permission to work in Sweden). Alternatively, the funding can be channeled through a grant to a scientific institution which employs the candidate. The physical location of the position is therefore flexible and will be discussed in the interview. The desired starting date is as soon as possible and the position is available until June 2022.

Application process
Please send your CV and a short cover letter to by 31 March 2021 including your proposed location and academic host. Applications will be considered on an ongoing basis. We will only be responding to short-listed candidates.

When you submit your application, Future Earth will collect and process your personal data for recruiting-related purposes.

Future Earth
Future Earth is an international research program with a mission to accelerate the transformations to global sustainability through research and innovation. It builds on the networks of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program (IGBP), DIVERSITAS, and the International Human Dimensions Program on Global Environmental Change (IHDP).

Future Earth supports a network that harnesses the experience and reach of thousands of scientists and innovators from around the world to facilitate research, catalyze innovation, and synthesize knowledge. A key part of Future Earth’s work occurs through our network of Global Research Projects and Knowledge Action Networks (KANs) that generate research at the forefront of sustainability science.

We will only be responding to short-listed candidates.