Senior Research Scientist (Climate Change Adaptation and Integrated Land and Resources Management)

University of Central Asia

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan 🇰🇬

The University of Central Asia (UCA) is a private (not for profit), secular University whose charter has been signed by the Presidents of Tajikistan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, and His Highness the Aga Khan, ratified by the parliaments of the founding states and registered with the United Nations. UCA is the first internationally chartered university in the world. UCA’s mission is to foster the socio-economic development of Central Asia, particularly its mountain societies, while helping the peoples of the region preserve and draw upon their rich cultural heritages as assets for the future.
UCA’s Mountain Societies Research Institute (MSRI) is a University-wide research institute that seeks to generate, disseminate and promote the application of knowledge for the development of mountainous regions and their societies. MSRI aims to fulfill five complementary objectives: 
1.    Generate and disseminate relevant knowledge based on scientific research
2.    Strengthen regional capacities to conduct research relevant for mountain societies
3.    Inform development policy and practice through sound research and critical syntheses
4.    Become a knowledge hub in Central Asia for scholars, practitioners and policy makers
5.    Inform UCA’s academic programmes with a primary focus on mountain societies
MSRI focuses on both the social and the natural science dimensions of mountain societies and their economies and environments in the Central Asia region. 
Founded in 2011, MSRI is now entering a second phase of development and growth, and seeks to recruit an energetic, mid-career Senior Research Scientist with proven experience of team-based research and/or development projects, generally interdisciplinary in nature, focused on Climate Change Adaptation; along with specific training and expertise/experience in related fields such as Environmental Management, Natural or Earth Sciences, Development Studies, Regional Planning, etc. The position should commence within 2016 (preferably September 2016).
Summary of the Position:
Qualified and experienced applicants are sought to fill a Senior Research position at the Mountain Societies Research Institute, UCA. It is expected that several complementary areas of research experience (or development practice) in natural sciences will come ‘packaged’ with the above focal areas of expertise, to ensure that appropriate linkages can be made across projects at MSRI. In addition, the candidate should be able to contribute toward the translation of knowledge for different audiences – as dissemination of knowledge constitutes one of the core objectives of the University’s development-oriented ethos.
The position will involve (i) the development and implementation of applied research projects, (ii) mentoring of research colleagues in a variety of research fields, (iii) administrative support for projects and programmes (e.g. for fund-raising, working with UCA Development and Donor Relations) and (iv) participation in strategic vision development at the Institute level. 
Overall, the candidate will be expected to develop a research programme related to climate change, including mitigation and/or adaptation to climate change. Special attention also shall be given to ecosystem-based adaptations (i.e. nature-based solutions) in mountain areas. The candidate’s prior engagement with these issues may be related to environmental monitoring, to social or ecological adaptation and/or to policy related dialogues (e.g. in think tanks, UN meetings, etc.). In addition, the candidate is expected to bring direct knowledge and experience in at least one other specialist field related to sustainable mountain development – such as regional planning, environmental management, resource conservation and renewables, water resource management and policy, environmental monitoring techniques, etc.
Specific areas of research are likely to include the following (contingent on project grants):
•    Climate change, climate change adaptation, ecosystem-based adaptations
•    Development of innovative and novel landscape & biodiversity conservation   approaches from a CCA perspective
•    Sustainable land management (both general theory and specific approaches)
•    Glacier and river monitoring and research (in context of development studies)
•    Environmental monitoring techniques, in context of global mountain networks 
•    Current climate change dialogues, engagement with UN and national processes
Main Duties and Responsibilities
•    Lead in the design and implementation of interdisciplinary, applied research within the thematic areas outlined above. Responsibilities will include assuming the leadership of several projects (or project components) already underway, as well as co-developing new research within MSRI’s broad development-oriented programmatic parameters
    Define roles and responsibilities and recruit/develop dynamic research teams including Central Asian research fellows and associate researchers from local partner institutions, and guide and support implementation collaborators. Also promote strong partnerships with international institutions and researchers recognized within their respective fields
•    Work closely with UCA Development and Donor Relations Department to jointly develop relevant cutting-edge research proposals and also to manage successful external grants
•    Develop MSRI as a knowledge and resource hub for researchers, practitioners and policy makers interested in mountain societies. Also actively develop or maintain relationships with noteworthy academic institutions and researchers, both locally and internationally
•    Support UCA School of Arts and Sciences in the development of curriculum and course materials, as required; especially for the Earth & Environmental Sciences undergraduate programme and the Mountain Economies graduate programme (which will be located in Khorog, Tajikistan)
•    Support the Director (and other senior research scientists) with strategic administrative duties for the strengthening or advancement of the Institute and University
Required Qualifications and Experience
•    Demonstrate collegiality and a willingness to participate in all aspects of the activities of the Institute
•    PhD in a relevant discipline or interdisciplinary field of study, and at least five years of relevant research experience. Additional experience as development (or conservation) practitioner an asset
•    Excellent conceptual skills in identifying information and knowledge gaps and research opportunities
•    Demonstrated abilities in the development of research projects, their implementation, and building and maintaining dynamic research team
•    Highly motivated to mentor and strengthen researchers from the Central Asian region, including other early or mid-career research fellows (colleagues) working at MSRI
•    Strong track record of peer-reviewed publications (commensurate with experience). 
•    Experience writing successful grant proposals and managing externally funded research
•    Ability to work in developing/emerging countries and to communicate effectively with partners and stakeholders from different backgrounds, including scientific, managerial and other non-scientific backgrounds. Flexibility and ability to work in the start-up environment of a young academic institution
•    Excellent English-language writing skills
Desired Qualifications
•    Knowledge of issues relevant to mountain societies and mountain area development
•    Knowledge of the greater Central Asia region (following UNESCO’s geographic scope)
•    Working knowledge of Russian language, and/or one or more Central Asian languages
How to apply
Please send a cover letter explaining your interest to work at MSRI/UCA and your experience in relation to the advertised position, CV, and contact information for three references to [email protected] by 31 July 2016. As your application e-mail subject, please write: “Sr Research Scientist, CCA”.
Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.