Opportunity: One-Year Postdoctoral Position at St. Mary’s University

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Canada’s Oceans, Coasts and Coastal Communities

Ocean Canada (oceancanada.org) is a cross-country research partnership dedicated to building resilient and sustainable oceans on all Canadian coasts and to supporting coastal communities as they respond to rapid and uncertain environmental changes. Its research synthesizes social, cultural, economic and environmental knowledge about oceans and coasts nationally. The three main aims of Ocean Canada are to take stock of what we know about Canada’s oceans, build scenarios for the possible futures that await our coastal-ocean regions, and create a national dialogue and shared vision for Canada’s oceans.

A postdoctoral fellowship is available to work under the supervision of Dr. Tony Charles at Saint Mary’s University, in Halifax, within the framework of Ocean Canada’s Atlantic Working Group, which is emphasizing the interaction of coastal communities and their local marine environments.
The major work of the postdoctoral fellow will focus on the scenario-building aim of Ocean Canada, through development and application of dynamic community-centred bio-socio-economic modelling approaches (including biological, social and economic elements). These will be used to simulate changes in social-economic and ecological aspects of a coastal community over time, under various options/scenarios for the community and for specific sectors (e.g., fisheries, tourism, youth, elders) relating to economic development, environmental conservation, coastal planning, and climate change, among other factors.

Model development and application will take place first, in a participatory manner, with the coastal community of Port Mouton Bay, Nova Scotia (an Ocean Canada partner), drawing on the community’s experience with and knowledge of the local social-ecological system. The models may eventually be adapted for use in coastal communities elsewhere on Canada’s Atlantic coast and on other coasts of Canada.

Time permitting, the postdoctoral fellow will also participate in larger-scale research applied to the province of Nova Scotia and beyond, to comprehensively identify coastal communities engaged in local visioning, scenario planning and sustainable ocean-based economic development, to develop a database of relevant coastal communities, and to analyse the results across the identified communities.
In addition to the above research, the postdoctoral fellow will have the opportunity to undertake research activities of her/his own design and choice, in keeping with the goals and themes of Ocean Canada, in collaboration with the supervisor, and with a focus largely on Atlantic Canada’s coastal areas.

The individual selected for the postdoctoral appointment will have demonstrated interest and experience in (1) use of modelling approaches, and (2) research with coastal communities and/or human dimensions of coastal/marine resources and social-ecological systems. Applicants should be broadly in the social sciences, and a demonstrated non-disciplinary (transdisciplinary) approach to research is desirable. The successful applicant will preferably have experience in working across multiple spatial and jurisdictional scales, i.e. from local communities or First Nations, to regions and/or provinces, to entire coasts. The individual will be familiar with methodologies ranging from local-level participatory approaches, to collection and analysis of secondary data (locally, regionally, nationally), to policy analysis. Strong interpersonal capabilities, especially at a community level, are crucial.

The salary for the postdoctoral fellowship is $44,000 annually. The successful applicant will begin the position between September 1 and October 1, 2016, for a one-year period.
Revised deadline for applications is July 31, 2016. Applicants should provide a cover letter describing their suitability for this position, a full curriculum vitae, and names and contact information for three references. Submissions, or enquiries, should be sent to Barbara Paterson (Barbara.Paterson@smu.ca) with the subject heading “Ocean Canada”.