Fully funded postdoctoral researcher position in Governing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) interactions at Water and Land Resource Center of Addis Ababa University

Job Description:

We are seeking a highly motivated and skilled postdoctoral researcher to contribute to a dynamic research project focused on dealing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) interactions at a broad local, national and international level. The position is  part of the WUR-Governing SDGs interactions project, and the project aims to support better alignment between development actors and efforts, so as to minimize trade-offs, maximize synergies, and achieve the SDGs in Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. This project is expected to analyse how governance mechanisms for cross-level and cross-sector alignment (including inter-departmental alignment, donor–recipient alignment, inter-donor alignment, and public–private alignment) can transform a fragmented SDG governance context into an inclusive and effective polycentric governance system that allows trade-offs to be addressed and synergies to be built between SDGs. The postdoc researcher will be responsible for co-producing knowledge with policymakers and practitioners based on the research by the two PhD fellows and with contributions from cooperating partners and stakeholders.

The primary emphasis of the Postdoc researcher will be on multi-level study of interactions with SDG 15 (Life on land): the challenge of landscape restoration in the Lake Tana sub-basin of Ethiopia. While the postdoc will have a strong focus on landscape restoration (SDG 15), he/she will equally give attention to the synergies and trade-offs it has with other SDGs, particularly SDG 2 (food security), SDG 6 (clean water), and SDG 13 (climate action). This postdoc will be conducted alongside with two PhD fellows, of which one studying the governance of synergies and trade-offs in Ethiopian landscape restoration from a global-to-local perspective, and the other studying the same topic from local-to-global perspective. The tasks will involve conducting in-depth interviews with the stakeholders, performing group activities during stakeholders workshops, analyzing the data, preparation project reports and scientific publications. The researcher will work in a small team with two PhD students and supervisors and will be embedded in a bigger WUR-Governing SDGs interactions project team. The planned starting date is January 1st 2024 and will last December 31, 2026 with annual contract renewal.

Working space and environment:

The postdoc will be hosted at the Water and Land Resource Center (WLRC) which is the project lead form Ethiopian side. WLRC is affiliated with Addis Ababa University, which provides fundamental research on water and land resources. WLRC focuses on generating time-series empirical data at high spatial and temporal resolutions to inform planning and implementation of water and land management initiatives. It is now heading to becoming a recognized center of excellence or knowledge-for-development hub on sustainable management of water and land resources. At WLRC, we foster a collaborative research culture where interdisciplinary teams work together to address complex challenges related to water and land resources. Our researchers engage in vibrant discussions and knowledge exchange to generate innovative solutions. WLRC values diversity and inclusion. Our inclusive environment welcomes researchers from diverse backgrounds, fostering a rich tapestry of perspectives that enhances the quality and relevance of our research.

Duties and responsibilities include:

  • Involve in the research by the PhDs, as co-researchers and co-authors in at least two to three papers, by contributing with their more advanced research skills
  • Provide mentorship and support to the two PhD researchers working on projects related to SDG 15 and its intersections with other SDGs.
  • Collaborate with interdisciplinary teams to develop cross-cutting insights across various SDG interactions.
  • Organize stakeholder and project workshop
  • Synthesize research findings to identify overarching patterns and interactions of SDGs in the context of Ethiopia.
  • Collaborate on joint research activities to enhance the overall coherence of the research program.
  • Take a leading role in designing and implementing stakeholder engagement activities at the national level.
  • Foster collaborations with governmental bodies, NGOs, development partners, academia, and private sector stakeholders.
  • Develop evidence-based policy dialogues, in which researchers provide insights on topics of interest to cooperation partners and stakeholders.
  • Produce one solid research report on SDG interactions taking the various findings by the PostDoc and the two PhD studies
  • Produce one policy briefs on SDG interactions focusing on SDG 15 and Ethiopian context


  • Excellent completion of a PhD from well recognized university in the field of Social Sciences, (Ecological/Environmental) Economics, Institutional Economics, Policy Analysis, Development and Environmental Management, Conservation Policy, Natural Resource Management, Political Ecology, Environmental Science, Sustainability Studies, Rural Development, or related subjects
  • Strong track record of peer-reviewed publications
  • Strong understanding of the Ethiopia policies and development proprieties of the last 20 years and strong network with local and international research and development institutions
  • Ability to coordinate teamwork and interact with a broad range of scientific, policy and local stakeholders Experience in in co-design and transdisciplinary methodologies within the scope of SDGs interaction or landscape restoration governance is an advantage
  • Excellent knowledge of applying qualitative and quantitative research methods as well as analyzing the results in integrated approaches would be an asset
  • Experience in empirical research and managing and conducting fieldwork
  • Excellent written and oral command of English
  • Excellent communication and stakeholder engagement skills.
  • Strong collaboration skills and be able to work with people from different national and cultural backgrounds

What we offer:

  • An interdisciplinary and international working environment
  • Opportunity to work on SDGs interaction within an international, high profile team
  • Attractive salary as per the guidelines of the WUR-Governing SDGs interactions project

Application process:

Interested candidates should submit the following documents in PDF to elsa@wlrc-eth.org and tena.a@wlrc-eth.org with Cc to art.dewulf@wur.nl.

  1. Curriculum Vitae (CV) with recent publications list
  2. Cover letter detailing relevant experience and research interests
  3. Two letters of recommendation
  4. Proof of qualification and certificates
  5. Two page concept note

Deadline for application: 20 December 2023

WLRC is an equal opportunity employer and encourages applications from candidates of all backgrounds. The list of those shortlisted applicants will be posted on our sites. Kindly note that only the short listed applicants will be contacted for invitation to an interview and other procedures. Kindly check our website and your emails frequently during this period to make sure that you do not miss the appointment we may suggest to you.