Socio-economic Postdoctoral Research Officer – Bangor University

Applications are invited for a three year post-doctoral research officer post in the School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography to work on a project funded by the Leverhulme Trust called “Can Payments for Ecosystem Services deliver environmental and livelihood benefits?” The project is conducted in collaboration between Bangor University and Fundacion Natura Bolivia.


A Bolivian NGO Fundacion Natura Bolivia (FNB) have established a Payment for Ecosystem Services scheme in the Bolivian highlands, explicitly designed as a Randomised Control Trial. We will use this unique set-up to answer ask important applied questions concerning the conditions (including institutional, psychological and environmental) under which Payment for Ecosystem Services approaches can deliver environmental benefits as well as benefits to local people’s livelihoods, while also looking at the more theoretical questions about the impacts of marketization of public goods on sustainable management.

The central research questions to be addressed include:
1) How effective is the Rio Grande PES at delivering environmental and local welfare benefits?
2) How do social, psychological and economic factors influence the success of the scheme?
3) What can we learn from this project about carrying out robust evaluation of environmental policy interventions? There is flexibility for the PDRA to take the research in the direction which most interests them but it is envisaged that they will focus on objective 2. In addition to the PDRA the project will involve at least one PhD student who may focus on the same, or a different case study. It is envisaged that the PDRA will co-supervise this student.

The post will be based in the School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography, Bangor University. The post-holder will work closely with the leaders of the Leverhulme-funded project Julia Jones and James Gibbons (Bangor) and Nigel Asquith (Fundacion Natura Bolivia).

The post holder will spend on average four or five months a year in Bolivia (or possibly other low or middle income countries) including working with the partner organisation (and other possible partners as appropriate) with considerable field work in remote rural areas.

The post holder will be responsible for designing (with input from the rest of the team) the research, ensuring the research is implemented successfully (involving liaising with staff from partner organisations), analysing and publishing peer reviewed journal articles based on the research, contributing to project management and contributing to the academic life of the research group and the school as appropriate

Main Duties and Responsibilities

  • Designing research: Develop a research plan in collaboration with project partners and Julia Jones and James Gibbons (Bangor University).
  • Gathering and analysis of data: Take the lead in developing and implementing field protocols (including extensive field work in low or middle income countries-primarily Bolivia), informed by thorough and up to date knowledge of the literature. Work with partners to develop and maintain effective data storage and management protocols. Analyse data using appropriate methods.
  • Delivering research outcomes: Publishing research papers with the results of the research in internationally recognized journals, writing project reports, making presentations at conferences, contributing to the project’s blog and social media channels, and engaging with other stakeholders as appropriate.
  • Administration of the research project: Participate in (and play a role in coordination of) project meetings. Maintain good records of progress in research and impact activities. Monitor and review costing of field work to ensure it is within budget.
  • Other duties and responsibilities: advise and collaborate with Masters and PhD students within the research programme; limited contribution to the undergraduate/postgraduate programme; and project management.

Other Duties and Responsibilities

  • The post holder will be expected to participate in performance review and development activities.
  • The post holder will be expected to comply with the University’s equality policies and statements, Dignity at Work and Study Policy and the University’s Welsh Language Scheme.
  • The post holder has a general and legal duty of care in relation to health, safety and wellbeing and must take all reasonable steps to ensure a safe and healthy working environment for him/her self and for other members of staff, students and visitors affected by his/her actions or inactions. The post holder is also required to comply with all applicable health and safety policies, procedures and risk assessments and ethical policies.
  • The post holder must comply with relevant legal and financial policies and procedures and be aware of their responsibilities in terms of the legal requirements of their posts.

Person Specification


  • A PhD in economics, ecological economics, geography, sociology, conservation science or a related subject.
  • Fluency in a language other than English.


  • Expertise in Spanish.



  • Proven track record of publications in quality journals.
  • The ability to undertake quantitative and qualitative research.
  • Relevant field work experience in low or middle income countries.
  • Understanding of the subject area of this research project (payments for ecosystem services, behaviour change, impact evaluation).
  • Ideas for the direction in which they’d like to take the research.
  • Proven track record of conference presentations.


  • Relevant field work in Bolivia or South America.
  • Experience of interdisciplinary working.



  • Demonstrate good verbal and written skills.
  • Demonstrate good analytical skills, ability to analyse numerical data and present results appropriately.
  • Demonstrate computer literacy.
  • Demonstrate ability to work as part of a team and with partner organisations.
  • Demonstrate the ability to prioritise work load and work to deadlines.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the bilingual nature of the institution and area.


  • Demonstrate proven project management skills.
  • Demonstrate ability to engage with the media and social media and write non-academic communications.

More information here.