Department of Urban and Rural Development

At the Department of Urban and Rural Development there are six divisions carrying out research: Agrarian History, Environmental Communication, Environmental Integration, Landscape Architecture, Rural Development and the SLU Swedish Biodiversity Centre. The department is the largest within SLU for social sciences, humanities and design. Questions about the sustainable use of natural resources and landscapes are central to the department’s research and teaching. The department also hosts the SLU Center for Nature Interpretation.

Background and work assignments:

In the Division of Rural Development, research, teaching and collaboration that focuses on issues of justice, knowledge and power in agriculture and forestry, natural resource management and development in rural areas are conducted. Here, rural areas are seen as dynamic spaces created by a network of relationships that span between the urban and rural and across the globe. The focus is on how ideas about development have consequences in rural areas both in and between the Global North and in the Global South.

This postdoctoral position is in the subject of Rural Development in the Global South. Within this subject research is being conducted on the social impacts of tree planting for carbon credits in Uganda and Tanzania, and what power relations are manifested in these processes. The postdoc will be part of expanding this agenda and linking up to broader debates around nature based climate solutions and the role that transitioning to a more climate smart agriculture and forestry can play. The ecosystems currently managed as agricultural, grazing and forest lands have a great potential to contribute to a climate transition where regenerative agriculture, agroforestry and silvopastoralism are key components – not least in the global South. This transition however needs to happen in a way that considers critical social science insights, starts from people’s needs and perspectives and strengthens their livelihoods. The postdoctoral researcher is expected to contribute to developing and expanding this research field together with the professor and other researchers in our group and our networks. The research should be carried out in Africa South of the Sahara, where several research projects are already ongoing.

The postdoc will work independently, but is also expected to co-publish, apply for funds together with and participate in projects with others in the research group.

In connection with the application, the applicant should submit a proposal for a research project that identifies an area for further development within the broad areas of research outlined above. Please state clearly how your idea would push the threshold of scientific debates, for example through novel methodologies, theoretical advancements, and/or interdisciplinary synthesis. The proposal should be a maximum of 1000 words in English. The proposal forms a basis for assessing the applicant’s areas of interest, ability to identify interesting research questions and ability to write in excellent English, and will be a starting point for continued discussion about the design of the research.

The postdoc holder will be expected to be present to a large extent at the workplace. The position includes some teaching and supervision of Bachelor’s and Master’s theses and requires a commitment to the division and department.


For a postdoc in Rural Development, a PhD in social sciences or humanities is required, alternatively in an interdisciplinary subject with significant elements of critical social sciences, e.g. Sustainability Studies. As postdoctoral positions are career-developing positions for younger researchers, we are primarily looking for candidates with a PhD that is not older than three years in June 2023 (excluding deductible time such as sick- or parental leave). The applicant must have a PhD degree when offered the employment.

Further qualifications:

  • Excellent writing and communication skills in English
  • Good ability to independently design and carry out research task
  • Personal suitability

Merits that are taken into consideration:

  • Experience of ethnographic fieldwork with participatory methods and interviews
  • Published scientific articles in English
  • Documented ability to collaborate in research projects
  • Experience of social science research on small-scale agriculture and/or forestry in the global South
  • Background or practical experience in agronomy/agriculture or biology/nature conservation, especially in relation to agroforestry or regenerative agriculture
  • Experience of climate-related research
  • Experience of research on policy and discourses, especially in an African context
  • Experience of fieldwork in sub-Saharan Africa is a strong asset, particularly in Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya or South Africa.
  • Knowledge of African languages ​
  • Own contact networks in African countries
  • Teaching experience, leadership experience and engagements at department level



Form of employment:

Time limited employment for 24 months full time (100%)

Starting date:

According to agreement, no later than 1st January 2024

Application details:

For more information and details on how to apply visit click here.

*This information is shared by AFF on behalf of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU).