Position available: Researcher in NaturaConnect

Title of the project
NaturaConnect – Building a resilient ecological network of conserved areas across Europe for nature and people

Principal Investigador for this contract
Prof. Miguel B. Araújo

Team members
Dr. Diogo Alagador, Dr. Frederico Mestre, Dr. Babak Naimi, Ms Dora Neto, Dr. Alejandro Rozenfeld

Funded by the European Union Horizon Europe Research and Innovation Programme and led by the International Institute for Applied systems Analysis (IIASA), this project will support the EU and its Member States in realising the EU strategy for protected areas.

Through research, engagement, and dissemination activities at the European scale and in a set of six case studies (including Portugal), NaturaConnect will elicit stakeholders’ visions and preferences about conservation objectives, tap into best practices in protected areas management and mechanisms for conservation financing, mobilize data and test the TEN-N spatial prioritisation analyses and tools produced by NaturaConnect. This addresses two major obstacles identified by the EU Nature Legislation Fitness Check: lack of stakeholder awareness and cooperation, and insufficient knowledge and access to existing funding mechanisms.

NaturaConnect will further address a third major obstacle: The limited availability of knowledge on biodiversity distribution, drivers of change and conservation solutions. To address this, NaturaConnect brings together a consortium of top European scientists, policy experts and NGOs to produce and mobilize relevant data and knowledge. This includes refining and applying state-of-the-art models on biodiversity, ecosystem services and environmental change across Europe under current and future climate and land-use conditions. Integrated conservation and restoration planning approaches will be utilized to identify, spatially map, and evaluate areas that are most suitable to improve the existing protected area network in Europe.

Equipped with improved data, knowledge, models, and spatial planning methods the project will further identify gaps in protected area coverage, connectivity and resilience under climate and land-use change. NaturaConnect will develop and make available scenarios for an expansion of protected areas and buffer zones, establishment of ecological corridors and other areas of connectivity that address these gaps, thereby offering a blue-print for realizing a truly resilient and coherent TEN-N. In addition, NaturaConnect will provide knowledge and decision support for policy, financing, and implementation of TEN-N at all relevant scales.

More information on the project: https://naturaconnect.eu

Objectives of NaturaConnect

  • Address gaps in coherence and ecological representativeness of existing protection measures.
  • Identify priority areas for protecting and restoring multifunctional corridors.
  • Engage stakeholders involved in design and implementation of the TEN-N and co-design tools and guidelines with them for maximal uptake.
  • Develop future scenarios of nature in Europe based on stakeholders’ societal values and needs.
  • Review and disseminate spatial planning practices and conservation funding mechanisms and demonstrate in case studies how the decision support tools from the project can be applied across scales and contexts and
  • Bring together state-of-the-art biodiversity and ecosystem service data and predictive models to contribute to
    the design of the TEN-N and a European monitoring system.

Candidate profile

  • We are looking for a bright and committed candidate with a PhD and publication record in conservation biology, focusing in the development of spatial conservation planning methodologies and spatial analysis of biogeographical data. Research experience in climate change, species distribution modelling and network ecology are useful complements.
  • PhD in ecology, biology, environmental sciences, geography, or related subject.
  • Ability to work in groups, share ideas, and network.
  • Solid knowledge of R (and/or Matlab) and GIS.
  • Good writing skills and fluency in English.

What we offer

  • One-year contract with the University of Évora, potentially renewed for a second and third years.
  • Gross salary of 40K Eur per year.
  • Membership to maraujolab.eu and engagement with a vibrant network of researchers across Europe.

How to apply

  • Please send your application to catedrabio@uevora.pt (C/o Ana Rita Ferreira) until the 23rd of June 2023 with:
  • A complete CV (no longer than 5 pages).
  • A cover letter explaining why you are ideal for the post.
  • Two names of who can provide references with their contact.

Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview.