PostDoc/Researcher: What factors keep pollinator-unfriendly practices in place? A social scientific investigation

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Full Time
1 month ago



Would you like to take part in revealing why practices of natural resource management that threaten biodiversity remain in place despite direction provided by science and policy? We invite applications for a postdoc position linked to a research project on barriers to and motivations for societal transition towards management of natural resources that reverses decline of biodiversity, in particular pollinating insects. The project is a close collaboration between social scientists and ecologists and provides an ideal opportunity to develop your inter- and transdisciplinary research capacity.

The position is based at the Department of Ecology of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala (SLU) in Sweden and is in close collaboration with the Department of Urban and Rural Development at SLU. The postdoc will join an interdisciplinary team of social and natural scientists. You will be part of a stimulating, dynamic and collaborative research environment with colleagues who conduct high calibre research in nature conservation, agriculture, wildlife management and forestry.


Project description:

Despite substantial research and policy directives, declines of wild pollinating insects remain widespread across Europe and pollinator-friendly land and natural resource management remains uncommon. Given the importance of wild pollinators to society and their role as flagship for biodiversity, there is an urgent need to critically assess the barriers to and motivations for effective pollinator conservation. The research opportunity is part of a large EU-funded international project, Safeguarding European wild pollinators (SAFEGUARD) The project includes world-leading experts on pollinators from 14 countries. Hence, you will have direct access to rich knowledge and expertise on ecology, land management and policy related to pollinators.



The researcher will take the lead in developing approaches and selecting focal cases that allow relationships between actors in pollinator conservation and associated relevant sectors to be scrutinised in terms of agency, knowledge, influence and power. We envisage a political ecology perspective, but are open to other theoretical framings. Likely methods to reveal which forces keep certain pollinator-unfriendly approaches in place and to identify strategies to overcome these forces include discourse analysis on web-based material from key stakeholder groups and interviews. The study will feed into analyses of collaborative approaches for implementation developed in SAFEGUARD. Expected outputs are one or more high quality journal papers co-authored with the project team, outputs aimed at general publics (e.g. blog posts) and a policy brief on the strategies to address the factors that keep pollinator-unfriendly practices in place.



We expect you to be a highly motivated applicant who holds a PhD degree, or has a set PhD defence date by the time the post commences, in the social sciences, humanities or other relevant interdisciplinary field of research. Familiarity with ecology, biodiversity, or management of natural resources is beneficial. Experience with qualitative research, publication and ability to conceptualise are required, as are good communication skills (written and spoken) in English. Good interpersonal skills, creativity, teamwork, independence, strong work ethic and cultural sensitivity are valued. In the selection of qualified applicants, particular emphasis will be placed on the written application (in English) that includes: 1) a curriculum vitae, 2) the names and contact details of 2-3 referees and 3) up to one A4-page on why you apply for the position and are fit for the role. Selected candidates will be interviewed.


Place of work:

Uppsala, Sweden.


Type of Employment:

Fixed term employment of 24 months with possible prolongation.


Percentage of Employment:



Starting Date:

By agreement, but ideally by 1 September 2022.



We welcome your application no later than June 10th, 2022.

The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) is a world-class international university with research, education and environmental assessment within the sciences for sustainable life. Its principal sites are in Alnarp, Umeå and Uppsala, but activities are also conducted at research stations, experimental parks and educational establishments throughout Sweden. We bring together people who have different perspectives, but they all have one and the same goal: to create the best conditions for a sustainable, thriving and better world.

SLU has just over 3,000 employees, 5,000 students and a turnover of SEK 3 billion. The university has invested heavily in a modern, attractive environment on its campuses.

Contact person

Rene van der Wal

Professor of Environmental Citizen Science


Klara Fischer

Associate Professor in Rural Development


Riccardo Bommarco

Professor in Agricultural Entomology