NEWAVE PhD 7: From participation to co-production of socio-hydrological knowledge

Fundación Nueva Cultura Del Agua

, , ES

Host institution: Fundación Nueva Cultura Del Agua, Spain
Principal supervisor: Prof. Miguel Angel Esteve
Co-supervisor: Prof. Jampel Dell’Angelo
Non-academic co-supervisor: Dr. Julia Martinéz-Fernández
Application deadline: 24 May 2020
Expected starting date: before 15 October 2020
Duration: 3 years


An advanced water governance has to address several complex issues: a) how to integrate different disciplines (interdisciplinary approach) and sources of knowledge (co-production of knowledge) in a coherent way and with a problem-based approach; b) how to develop a participatory framework to define the problems to be solved, the goals to be achieved, the range of options to be explored, the criteria to be applied and the decisions to be taken and c) how to establish a science-policy interface facilitating the use of the best available knowledge by the concerned actors in a participatory, deliberative decision process. The severe eutrophication crisis of the Mar Menor lagoon (Spain), caused by the unsustainable management of its basin, is causing important environmental, social, economic and political consequences and constitutes a paradigmatic example of the above-mentioned complex issues. This study will develop an innovative framework for the science-policy integration, will apply a variety of methods, particularly socio-ecological modelling and participatory approaches and will test new methodologies and tools to facilitate the use of the best available knowledge by the relevant actors around the Mar Menor lagoon, in order to define, valuate and implement the best solutions to recover this unique water ecosystem.

This PhD position will:

  1. To develop and apply an innovative methodological framework for an advanced science-policy interface around the socio-environmental crisis of Mar Menor lagoon;
  2. To apply interdisciplinary methodologies (socio-ecological modelling, indicators, stakeholder analysis, participatory techniques) to understand how the ecological, hydrological, social, economic and political dimensions interact around the Mar Menor
  3. To test advanced techniques to facilitate and use the best available knowledge in participatory, deliberative decision processes.

Expected results:

  1. A well-defined pathway for an advanced governance defining challenges, goals and effective solutions for the Mar Menor, based on a participatory and knowledge-based approach;
  2. An innovative methodological approach for the successful integration of knowledge provided by different disciplines around a common problem and socio-ecological system.
  3. A new, effective framework for the coproduction of knowledge and policy proposals, based on a close interaction between actors in academic and non-academic arenas, in order to effectively curtail the entrance of pollutants into the lagoon while building a socio-political consensus for sustainable land and water use patterns in the watershed.
About Fundación Nueva Cultura Del Agua

Fundación Nueva Cultura Del Agua is an Iberian (Spain and Portugal) non-profit organization created in 2002 made up of over 200 members from academia, research institutions, public administration, private sector, stakeholders and citizens, aiming to promote sustainable water management practices and a new water culture. The New water culture acknowledges the ecological, social, economic, ethical, political, and emotional values embodied in aquatic ecosystems, as well as the emergence of new actors demanding transparency and a wide public participation. The FNCA promotes inter and trans-disciplinary approaches, the integration of ecological, economic, social and cultural dimensions, an improved water governance and citizen participation.

The ESR will be housed at the Department of Ecology and the Sustainability Observatory (Co-coordinated by Dr. Martínez), both located at University of Murcia premises. The Department of Ecology has a staff of more than 30 researchers and is actively involved with the Sustainability Observatory and the Advisory Scientific Committee of Mar Menor. The Department provides basic and applied knowledge and high-quality training to promote more sustainable public policies from the local to the global levels.

We seek

  • Degree in biophysical sciences, social sciences or engineering
  • High interest for interdisciplinary approaches and for understanding the complexity inherent to real hydro-socio-ecological systems
  • Experience, knowledge or high interest for socio-ecological modelling methodologies
  • Experience, knowledge or high interest for participatory methodologies
  • Personal skills to interact with different social actors (public administrations, stakeholders, citizen organizations)
  • High personal autonomy and motivation for learning
  • Availability to relocate to Murcia for the duration of the PhD
Eligibility criteria*
  • You must – at the date of recruitment – have obtained the MSc degree entitling you to embark on a doctorate
  • You must – at the date of recruitment – be within the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of your research career and not have a doctoral degree
  • Mobility rule: you must not have resided or carried out your main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the host organisation you are applying for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the recruitment date. Compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays are not taken into account.

*Please make sure you comply with the eligibility criteria before applying. You need to be able to provide documentation proving your eligibility for recruitment. You can read the full description of eligibility criteria in the Information Note for ITN Fellows.


Dr. Miguel Angel Esteve
Professor of Ecology at University of Murcia
Fundación Nueva Cultura Del Agua, Spain

Prof. Jampel Dell’Angelo
Assistant professor of Water Governance & NEWAVE Principal Investigator
Institute of Environmental Studies, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands

Dr. Julia Martinéz-Fernández
Executive Director
Fundacion Nueva Cultura del Agua (FNCA), Spain