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PhD on crop modelling in the Holocene, Aarhus University

We are looking to employ a new PhD student for the exciting project “Modelling key crop environmental niches and productivity over the Holocene”, part of the MSCA Doctoral Network AGRI-DRY 

Research area and project description: Drylands have been inhabited for thousands of years and are home to societies that display a range of adaptive behaviours; these practices are underpinned by Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), which is key to the resilience of these communities. Given the threats to the food security of dryland communities, there is a critical need to understand how to produce food more sustainably and improve the landscape and ecological resilience within this context.

To address this challenge, Aarhus University is offering a PhD position within the framework of the MSCA Doctoral Network AGRI-DRY (Dryland Agriculture and Land Use; Past, Present and Future Resilience). The project aims to develop an interdisciplinary approach to traditional crop cultivation by recognising the complementary value of cultural heritage and sustainable living. Human cultural development is inextricably linked with the development of agriculture, and the key role of traditional knowledge of indigenous people and local communities for ecosystem management and sustainable use of resources is now recognised in light of climate change.

The overarching goal of the work to be conducted by the PhD associated with Aarhus University is to provide a nuanced understanding of the environmental factors that facilitated the use of traditional crop species and if/how these changes can be associated with both when and where particular agricultural practices could have emerged. The successful candidate will employ a combination of transient crop models, ecological niche models, transient climate simulation models, and land cover reconstructions. This comprehensive approach will enable the study of climate change and management practices' impact on the productivity and environmental performance of alternative crop species over the past 8,000 years.

The candidate will be part of a team of 10 doctoral candidates affiliated with the international network project AGRI-DRY.  AGRI-DRY aims to bring about a significant reorientation of European and African doctoral training in traditional agriculture. The change will involve both substance and approach. The substance is the strong focus on rigorous techniques for interdisciplinary research. The approach is the emphasis on both research and applicative work, through the participation of both academic and advocacy and policy-making institutions. AGRI-DRY represents a unique opportunity for European young researchers to enjoy a wide array of training opportunities that will be competitive with the best programmes offered outside Europe

The successful candidate will be hosted at the Section for Ecoinformatics & Biodiversity (ECOINF) and affiliated with the Centre for Sustainable Landscapes in a Changing World (SustainScapes) and the Center for Landscape Research in Sustainable Agricultural Futures (LandCRAFT). Hence, the candidate will work in a world-leading and dynamic research environment with ample opportunities to interact with other researchers nationally and internationally on related.


Applicants seeking further information for this project are invited to contact: main supervisor Associate Professor Alejandro Ordonez, or co-supervisors Professor Marco Madella, Pompeu Fabra University, or Professor Nicki.Whitehouse, Univeristy of Glasgow,

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