Postdoctoral Research Associate, CLIMAVORE x Jameel at RCA, Monoculture Meltdown Project

Royal College of Art

London, UK 🇬🇧

DATE ADVERTISED: 16 December 2022

CLOSING DATE: 16 January 2023

SCHOOL/AREA: School of Architecture

PROGRAMME/​DEPARTMENT: Architecture Research


SITE: Kensington

SALARY: £39,670 – £43,029 per annum pro rata

Fixed Term for 3 years

The Royal College of Art is the UK’s only entirely postgraduate institution of art and design, dedicated to teaching, research and knowledge exchange with industry. The RCA has been ranked the number one university-level institution for art and design, internationally, for the eighth consecutive year according to the QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2022. 

The Project

Monoculture Meltdown

Most of the driest winters since the beginning of the 20th century around the Mediterranean Sea have been experienced in the past two decades. Yet the struggle to cultivate edible produce in water-scarce territories is not new. Over centuries, complex technologies have been developed to squeeze the terrain to the last drop, such as tunnels, cisterns, and terraces to channel and retain water or air humidity. In Italy, places like Pantelleria, an island between Sicily and Tunisia without any freshwater sources, developed dry irrigation techniques by building gardens with dry-stone walls. These systems consisted of microclimates to ‘water without water,’ which ultimately emancipated orange and lemon trees from water-dependency. As the heat frontier moves northwards, increasing labour exploitation of North African and Eastern European workers continues to be driven by access to water for harvesting ‘affordable’ tomatoes, grapes, or blood oranges. Through the study of dryland microclimates, the project aims to experiment with alternative farming methods in drought conditions by seeking to diversify former monoculture crops that are failing to cope with climatic changes. 

Purpose of Post

Working as a key member of the project team, the successful candidate is an accomplished early career researcher with a proven knowledge of agroecological practices, food policy, social and spatial justice. The post holder will have a deep interest in the built environment and will work closely with the PIs, team members and partners across farming communities, public bodies, policy makers and cultural institutions to deliver the research outcomes of the project. This is an exciting opportunity to be a key member in a research project of international importance, supporting the investigation and testing of nature-based actions within food systems that proactively address the climate emergency. Working from the RCA, the researcher will be supported by an Italy-based research assistant on the ground with whom they will work remotely or in person when travel is required.

Please see Information pack for more details.

Further details: Information Pack  
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The Royal College of Art is an equal opportunities employer. The College particularly welcomes applications from all sections of the community and would particularly encourage members of minority groups to apply.  





IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development