Tuesday, February 25, 2014


EMPLOYMENT: Two Research Fellows to work on resource conflict in Burma and Cambodia

The opportunities below are two-year positions through the Regional Center for Social Science and Sustainable Development (RCSD) of Chiang Mai University and the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) in the Hague, Netherlands.

The Regional Center for Social Science and Sustainable Development (RCSD) of Chiang Mai University, a vibrant academic research hub on issues around agrarian transformation, resource conflict and development are calling for applications for two (2) Research Fellows starting June 2014, and will work for two years. Preferably the applicant should have a doctorate, but we are open to accepting applications from senior PhD candidates in case the qualification requirements are met. One Research Fellow will work on Cambodia and the other on Burma/Myanmar.

The Research Fellows will work for two years in a large consortium project with nine institutional members and jointly anchored by RCSD of Chiang Mai University and the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) in the Hague, the Netherlands. The joint project coordinators are Dr. Chayan Vaddhanaphuti of RCSD and Dr. Saturnino M. Borras Jr. of ISS.

The 4-year research project is called ‘Climate change mitigation policies, land grabbing and conflict in fragile states: understanding intersections, exploring transformations in Myanmar and Cambodia’. It is funded through the Climate Change Management and Conflict and Cooperation (CCMCC) joint program of the Dutch research council NWO and the Department for International Development (DFID). The research project is a collaborative undertaking between academic and civil society groups and as such it will have academic and CSO advocacy components.

For details about the project, please see short summary further below.

Profile and Tasks:

The successful candidates are those with excellent track record in solid academic research work and publication. They should have a great ability to work with grassroots civil society organizations, should have a deep understanding and appreciation of the importance of the work of civil society activists, and should have a great appreciation of the relevance of bridging world-class academic work and grassroots activism.

The successful candidates are expected to be able to anchor the bulk of the academic research in each country (Cambodia, Burma/Myanmar), with two regional sites for each, working closely with the joint project coordinators. They are expected to be able to work well and productively with other PhD and MA students and other interns working in the project. They are expected to be able to work very well with grassroots civil society organizations. They are expected to take the lead in formulating and drafting some academic papers for publication in leading international journals, either as sole author or in collaboration with other consortium members depending on the research work circumstance.


  • A recently completed PhD – or a PhD candidate in her/his later stage of candidacy -- in the social sciences (development studies, environmental studies, geography, anthropology, political science, sociology, etc.);
  • Great appreciation of, and ability to work with, grassroots rural social movement organizations and NGOs
  • Evidence of publication capacity, including an emerging publications track record and clear research and publications plans;
  • Deep familiarity with either Burma/Myanmar or Cambodia; knowledge of the local language an advantage
  • Ability to work in an inter-disciplinary and international team;
  • Willingness to be based for the most part of the research period in the Burma/Cambodia, and/or in Chiang Mai.

Appointment and Fellowship: RCSD Chiang Mai University will offer a fixed temporary contract of two (2) years, with a fellowship award fixed at US$1,500 per month, with additional US$300 mobility fund per month.

Applications and more information: Applications, accompanied by a detailed Curriculum Vitae and the names of three Referees, should be addressed to Ms. Chanida Puranapun (rcsd@cmu.ac.th). Short-listed candidates will be requested to supply samples of published output and at that stage their referees will be contacted. More information about the vacancy can be obtained from the project co-coordinators: Dr. Chayan Vaddhanaphuti (ethnet@loxinfo.co.th) and Dr. Saturnino M. Borras Jr. (borras@iss.nl). A Selection Committee composed of the project consortium representatives will deliberate and decide on the applications.

Deadline: 15 March 2014.

See below for more information about the project

Mosaic Project

Climate change mitigation policies, land grabbing and conflict in fragile states: understanding intersections, exploring transformations in Myanmar and Cambodia

The social impacts of climate change mitigation strategies (biofuels, REDD+) and large-scale land acquisitions (land grabs) have captured the attention of scholars, practitioners, government and civil society actors. Most relevant research, however, investigates these processes separately and within discrete areas such as particular landholdings where dispossession or competing land resource claims occur. This project expands the boundaries of the problem to the landscape level, believing that the intersection of these phenomena can produce social and ecological spill-over effects and chain reactions which in turn ignite new or aggravate old sets of competing claims and conflicts over resources within a much larger area. Through collaborative, case study action research, the project seeks to understand the interplay between climate change mitigation initiatives and land grabs from a landscape perspective – including spatial, social, ecological and institutional dimensions – and resulting trajectories of conflict and cooperation in two fragile states: Myanmar and Cambodia.

The project also seeks to influence these trajectories by contributing to building capacity for development interventions that promote socially just and sustainable conflict management strategies in the case study areas and beyond. These interventions will emerge through the collaboration of grassroots social movements, NGO and academic partners. They will reflect local understandings of justice, and they are likely to include actions at multiple scales. Analyzing international governance instruments to identify leverage points for action will inform these conflict management efforts in the two selected countries.

Beyond the case study countries, the project seeks to contribute to theory about the more general conditions under which inclusive, landscape-level strategies for preventing or transforming resource conflicts can be achieved. Contributing to building an international knowledge network will be an important step toward this goal. The project will achieve this partly through annual knowledge sharing workshops involving partners with experience resolving disputes over resource control in Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam, as well as by sponsoring and linking with emerging research in other countries and regions.

The anticipated project outcomes are: (i) nuanced understanding of the spatial and institutional interplay of climate change mitigation initiatives, land grabbing and conflict; (ii) enhanced capacity of grassroots and civil society groups and local researchers to address resource conflicts through strategic collective action aimed at influencing policy and practice; and iii) an emerging network of knowledge and practice dedicated to enabling more socially just and ecologically sustainable outcomes of the intersecting processes examined in the project.

Consortium members:

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