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2 x Open Positions for Postdoctoral Research Assistants in Transformations to Sustainability (deadline: 12 Feb 2019)

  • 1.  2 x Open Positions for Postdoctoral Research Assistants in Transformations to Sustainability (deadline: 12 Feb 2019)

    Posted 02-01-2019 02:47

    Dear all,


    I recently joined the Open Forum and am glad to interact and be part of this community, which is very closely related to my recent appointment to lead the establishment of the new Institute of Global Sustainable Development at the University of Warwick.


    I'd like to ask your help in advertising the two postdoc positions below to work with our Brazilian partners at FGV/Sao Paulo related to our recently started international project Waterproofing Data, funded by ESRC/BMBF/FAPESP as part of the "Transformations to Sustainability" programme coordinated by Norface, International Science Council and the Belmont Forum:



    2 x Open Positions for Postdoctoral Research Assistants in Transformations to Sustainability/Critical Data Studies

    (EURAXESS Job Offer id: 368958: )


    Postdoctoral Research Assistants on Transformations to Sustainability (T2S Belmont Form/Fapesp Call) at Fundacao Getulio Vargas (Sao Paulo, Brazil) funded by FAPESP

    Institution: Fundação Getulio Vargas, Escola de Administração de Empresas de São Paulo (FGV/EAESP), Centro de Estudos de Administração Pública e Governo (CEAPG), Av. 9 de julho 2029, 11º. Andar, Bela Vista, São Paulo - SP.


    Supervisor: Professor Maria Alexandra Cunha


    Start Date: Negotiable but ideally starting as soon as possible.

    Closing date for applications: 12/02/2019.


    Fellowship: R$ 7.373,10 (a month) -




    Applications are invited for two Postdoctoral Research Assistants to work on the field of interdisciplinary urban data studies in the context of the project "Waterproofing Data: engaging stakeholders in the sustainable governance of flood risks for urban resilience" funded by FAPESP (, ESRC and BMBF, in collaboration with the Belmont Forum ( The two posts are initially available for a fixed-term of 1 (one) year and are renewable for 30 (first post) and 36 months (second post). They are funded by FAPESP and follow the norms for the award of Postdoctoral Fellowships attached to Thematic projects (


    The project


    Waterproofing Data is an international collaborative project which investigates the governance of flood risks, which emphases on the social and cultural aspects of data practices. The project is being developed by an international and multidisciplinary team of leading researchers with partners in the UK (led by Prof João Porto de Albuquerque, who is also the overall PI of the project), Brazil (led by Prof Maria Alexandra Cunha) and Germany (led by Prof Alexander Zipf), in collaboration with researchers from the National Disaster Monitoring and Early-Warning Centre (Cemaden) and partner organisations in the cities of Sao Paulo and Rio Branco, Brazil.

    Waterproofing Data will develop three innovative methods around data practices, across different sites and scales: 1) we will make visible existing flows of flood-related data through tracing data; 2) generate new types of data at the local level by engaging citizens through the creation of multi-modal interfaces, which sense, collect and communicate flood data, and; 3) integrate citizen-generated data with other data using geo-computational techniques. These methodological interventions will transform how flood-related data is produced and flows, creating new governance arrangements between citizens, governments and flood experts and, ultimately, increased community resilience related to floods in vulnerable communities of Brazil.


    Activities of the post


    The two PDRAs hired in this call will work in close interaction with the researchers of the international project consortium, under direct supervision of Prof Maria Alexandra Cunha in the Centre for Public Administration and Government (CEAPG) of Fundacao Getulio Vargas (FGV). They will integrate a team of four full-time research assistants attached to the project, which also includes assistants in the UK and Germany.

    The PDRAs will support the development of the innovative methods of the project and will conduct empirical research, including data collection and analysis using qualitative social research methods (e.g. ethnography, interviews, focal groups, surveys), as well as geocomputational methods (GIS) and participatory mapping (e.g. using OpenStreetMap). Under the guidance of senior project leaders, one of the PDRAs will be responsible for conducting ethnographic studies across different sites, with the aim of better understanding how data is used in decision-making for disaster monitoring. The PDRA will assist in developing innovative qualitative methods for the empirical study of data across these sites.

    The PDRAs will also assist the Brazilian team with the project management tasks, for instance, the communication and coordination with national and international partners, fieldwork coordination, and writing of policy briefings for stakeholders and decision makers. They will also contribute to the organisation of community and stakeholder engagement activities, organise scientific events/workshops and write scientific articles and reports.

    This is a unique opportunity to work with interdisciplinary research together with international research leaders of different fields to conduct innovative research with high social impact. This can open up future related opportunities in research and practice in cities around the world.


    Qualifications/essential criteria:

    The candidate must necessarily bring the following qualifications/skills:

    •             PhD in Social Sciences, Business Administration, Geography, Environmental sciences or related fields;

    •             Less than 7 years since completion of the PhD;

    •             Experience with qualitative social research methods;

    •             Skills in office automation software (e.g. Microsoft Office);

    •             Fluency (writing and speaking) in Portuguese and English;

    •             Communication skills to interface with stakeholders from different organisations and social groups;

    •             Team working skills and capacity to work autonomously;

    •             Potential for conducting research of international level and to publish in high-quality national and international scientific outlets;

    •             Flexibility to reside in the city of Sao Paulo and travel for periods of up to 3 months outside the State of Sao Paulo.

    •             Work in organised manner and responsibly, take initiative and work autonomously in the communication with stakeholders and researchers to conduct the activities of the project.


    Qualifications/desired criteria/skills:

    •             Experience with urban studies and urban resilience research;

    •             Experience with ethnographic and participant observation research methods;

    •             Experience with action research methods (e.g. action-research, citizen science, design science research);

    •             Familiarity with research debates on big data and society and critical data studies.

    •             Participation in research projects with international teams;

    •             Previous experience with geospatial systems and/or geospatial data analysis;

    •             Experience with education and/or community engagement activities.


    Application Procedure

    Initially send the following documents by email to with a copy to in a message with the subject "Posdoc Waterproofing Data" until January 20, 2018 or until the recruitment ends:

    1-            CV summarized in English (maximum 4 pages). If Brazilian, with link to the Lattes CV in Portuguese updated. Include in the CV three people names and contacts who could send a letter of recommendation (we will contact them if necessary);

    2-            Letter or email of presentation (1 page), in English;

    3-            Two publications, preferably in English.





    Professor João Porto de Albuquerque
    Director | Institute of Global Sustainable Development | University of Warwick, UK


    Turing Fellow | The Alan Turing Institute, UK

    Visiting Professor | Institute of Geography | Heidelberg University, Germany
    Honorary Associate Professor | Dept. of Computer Systems | University of São Paulo, Brazil


    School of Cross-Faculty Studies | University of Warwick

    Coventry | CV4 7AL | United Kingdom

    T: ++44 (0)24 765 72516 | e-mail:
    Web   | Twitter | Researchgate | Linkedin


    Co-editor of the Sustainability Journal Special Issue: "Urban Informatics and Applications on Infrastructure for Sustainable Cities" (deadline: 30 May 2019)


    Latest publications:

    - The Impact of Urban Inequalities on Monitoring Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals: Methodological Considerations

    - Geo-social media as a proxy for hydrometeorological data for streamflow estimation and to improve flood monitoring