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[Filed position] Research Fellow position for the FUTURE-OBS project

The Sciences Po médialab offers a research fellow position for a social scientist in the framework of the project "FUTURE-OBS: Augmented Observatory for coastal socio-ecosystems" (FUTURE-OBS).

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The Project

To fully understand the functioning and dynamics of coastal socio-ecosystems in the face of increasing anthropogenic pressures, it is crucial to conduct long-term observations of the environment, biodiversity and socio-economic practices associated with these systems. These observations are necessary for effective risk management, evaluation of public policies and understanding of the complexity of socio-ecosystems. Despite significant efforts in ocean observations in recent decades, disciplinary fragmentation limits the ability to obtain a systemic view.

The FUTURE-OBS research project, funded by the Priority Research Programme Ocean & Climate, brings together around sixty scientists from different national actors and institutions involved in coastal socio-ecosystem observations. The project aims to propose multiscale and multidisciplinary observation strategies for socio-ecosystems by combining traditional ocean observation approaches with new techniques such as environmental genomics and in situ imaging for biodiversity, and by using social media traces to monitor how humans interact with those vulnerable spaces. To this end, the project will carry out transdisciplinary work in high-stakes areas such as marine facades under multiple pressures (English Channel and Northwest Mediterranean), marine protected areas and aquaculture areas, which will serve as demonstrators and case studies.

The project will follow a co-construction approach, bringing together scientists from different disciplines, including oceanography, ecology, economic and social sciences, and operational stakeholders such as managers, public and private stakeholders and decision-makers. 

The Position

The médialab is responsible for using digital data traces from various social media platforms (i.e. Instagram, Twitter, Tiktok and Facebook) to capture the relationships between coastal ecosystems and their public (i.e. ornithologists, nature enthusiasts, professional and casual fishermen and environmental activists). Our approach is exploratory in nature and will use a combination of massive data collection, quantitative analysis techniques and targeted fieldwork to ground online observations in actual coastal dynamics.

This open investigation will be divided into three tasks. First, we will produce a comprehensive map of human/coastal ecosystem interactions by mixing machine learning algorithms and ethnographic methods. Second, after this initial mapping, we will re-ground our observations and findings through participatory methods involving researchers, stakeholders and the general public. Finally, we will generate quantitative data and, through workshops, identify controversial issues that might be interesting to explore using new online data and complementary data sources.

The candidate, working autonomously but in close collaboration with both PIs in charge of the project and the other members of the project, will conceive, design, implement and analyse the results of the research protocols, both ethnographic and digital. In case the candidate needs support in either of the two types of activities, the project member will provide the necessary support. 

Requirements and Qualifications

We welcome applications from (at least) one of these fields or practitioners with relevant (academic) work in one of the following areas:

  • Human geography;
  • Participatory design;
  • Digital/computational methods.

Prior experience with issues related to the coastal ecosystem is welcome but not mandatory. 

Resources & Benefits

The candidate will be working at the médialab of SciencesPo, in the 7th arrondissement of Paris and with a team of researchers, engineers and designers. The position starts in September 2023 for 36 months, 0.8 FTE.

  • the proposed gross salary is 2400 € / month. The position includes full health coverage, 40 days paid holidays per year, 5 RTT, 50% public transport and lunch vouchers;
  • independent research and creative opportunities to develop a personal scientific profile;
  • international project context with a highly visible and relevant topic;
  • strong international and interdisciplinary networking and cooperation with renowned project partners;
  • an attractive and family-friendly working environment, flexible working hours and flat hierarchies, in an embodied alternative to the traditional science business.

Applications Instructions

We look forward to receiving your applications (send to  recrutement.medialab@sciencespo.fr) accompanied by: 

  • a cover letter; 
  • a CV; 
  • the name of three academic referees;
  • a 1-page document with possible methodological and practical proposals for the implementation of the work covering as well the material, technological and skill support to implement it;
  • the prior publications you may deem relevant for the project.

The call for applications will remain online and thus open until a suitable applicant is found. The careful screening and selection of our new team members are very important to us and we ask for your understanding that we will conduct several selection interviews during the process. 

If you have any questions regarding the content of the position, please contact Jean-Philippe Cointet and Donato Ricci.