Call for Expressions of Interest: Ph.D studentships in “Outscaling a citizen science approach to climate change using agrobiodiversity”


Call for Expressions of Interest: Ph.D studentships in “Outscaling a citizen science approach to climate change using agrobiodiversity”

November 3, 2015
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Department of Geography, Pennsylvania State University

Deadline for application: 2 December 2015

Preferred start of position: 5 January 2016

The Pennsylvania State University Department of Geography in conjunction with the CGIAR’s Bioversity International is pleased to announce the new availability of two project-defined Ph.D studentships for the research project “Outscaling a citizen science approach to climate change using agrobiodiversity.” These two institutions are co-funding full studentships with entry at either the PhD level (4 years, with Master’s) or the Master’s level (5 years, with Bachelor’s). The students will be co-advised by Dr. Karl Zimmerer (GeoSyntheSES Lab, Penn State) and Dr. Jacob van Etten (Bioversity). Applicants must have a degree in geography, anthropology, environmental science, ecology, or a similar field and have broad interests in engaged critical approaches to the integrated environmental/agricultural sciences and social sciences. Carrying out significant field research is essential. Background and specialized knowledge in sciences applied to geospatial systems, plant breeding, and food production are also of interest.

The first studentship is entitled “New Cognitive Geographies of Citizen Science-I: Seed Systems and Spatiotemporal Reasoning.” The focus of this research is related to how citizen science approaches influence the understanding and comparative reasoning capacities of participants across the landscapes of production and potentially consumption in space and time.

The second studentship is entitled “New Cognitive Geographies of Citizen Science-II: Social Practice, Institutions, and Transformation.” This research will focus on the situatedness of landscape and spatial cognition in social interactions and institutions of agriculture and citizen science including systems of research-and-development, innovation, and new technologies.

Each studentship will also be provided with summer travel funds for research. Responsibilities will include thesis research combining original fieldwork and theoretical contributions focused on the studentship and sustained general contributions to the project “Outscaling a citizen science approach,” in addition to the standard expectations of the graduate program. Students will benefit from and be located in existing research groups including the GeoSyntheSES Lab and Bioversity’s Citizen Science network. The PhD study will involve comparative case studies in India, Ethiopia and/or Central America, with field support from Bioversity International.

These studentships are designed to provide highly relevant research that will determine how science can better facilitate appropriate understanding of climate adaptation in complex, dynamic systems and how innovation systems can be transformed to allow for transformative climate action. Interested candidates should first send their Expressions of Interest comprised of the CV and a brief 1-page statement describing their research interests and qualifications to Karl Zimmerer ( and Jacob van Etten (<>) by December 2, 2015. Full applications must be submitted by December 5, 2015 through the Graduate application process of Pennsylvania State University ( Further information on the Penn State Department of Geography graduate program is available at

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