RECOMS is recruiting 15 ESR / PhD students

We are seeking candidates who have a strong interest in transformative practice, in resilience, and who want to engage in multi- and transdisciplinary research. We are looking for young researchers who are enthusiastic about experimenting with visual methods and creative modes of communication.

If you are ambitious, highly motivated, inspired by undertaking innovative research, by thinking across disciplines, by engaging with wider society, and wish to be part of an international network, then being an Early Stage Researcher in RECOMS might be just right for you!

RECOMS  is a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Action (MSCA) Innovative Training Network (ITN) funded by the European Commission. The purpose of RECOMS is to train 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESR) in innovative, transdisciplinary, and transformative approaches to promoting and facilitating resourceful and resilient community environmental practice. These 15 ESR positions are now open.


2 ESR / PhD to be based in Vienna

The BOKU will host two ESR / PhD students, who will define their research project within the following topics:


ESR12: A relational understanding of farms as adaptive social-ecological systems

Objectives: Family farms depend on the natural resources and on the communities in which they are embedded. Often, these interdependencies have been severed due to pressures from markets and regulations. These have undermined the autonomy of farmers, as the power to decide how food is produced (and thus agro-ecosystems managed) is increasingly being transferred to input manufacturers, processors, and large retailers. As a result, the farmers’ ability to creatively reorganize their resources, to adapt, and to transform has been curtailed, which undermines their resilience. By reconnecting with the local ecosystem and with local communities, as well as by critically rethinking traditions, farmers can strengthen both their own and their community’s resourcefulness and evolutionary resilience. This project will explore how well a relational perspective on farms allows to capture and analyse the processes that build resourcefulness and resilience. This shift in perspective allows to emphasize change, adaptability, and transformation, as well as the need to root entrepreneurial initiatives in locally available (social and natural) resources.

Expected Results: Transdisciplinary insight into how reconnecting with local social and natural resources can strengthen farm and community resilience; Assess the potential of visualisation methods to empower farmers and communities, encouraging adaptive processes.


ESR13: Collaborative entrepreneurial action to manage coupled social-ecological systems for resilience

Objectives: Rural communities manage a wide variety of natural resources. Yet, the access to these resources and the distribution of their benefits is often unequal in the community, differing along gender lines, age groups, and ownership structures. This unequal access may reinforce broader rural challenges such as unemployment, hidden rural poverty, and youth outmigration. Moreover lack of critical reflexion on traditions often hampers the innovative use of resources, even when it would address community and broader societal demands. Collaborative entrepreneurial action can address these challenges, by engaging diverse stakeholders, strengthening resourcefulness, and transforming local resource relationships. This project explores barriers and opportunities for collaborative entrepreneurial action that is just, empowering, and restorative. Particular emphasis will be given to the potential of rethinking gender roles and of strengthening intergenerational connections to encourage innovative ideas, stimulate the reflexive questioning of traditions, and promote critical resilience.

Expected Results: Clarify influence of traditional gender roles and division by age groups as a barrier to rethinking the use of natural resources and to civic engagement; Guidelines on enhancing social justice in rural communities; Critical assessment of the use of visual methods as a means to strengthening resourcefulness and further enabling collective action.


Download pdf with detailed information.

For more information on ESR 12 and ESR 13, please contact: Assoc.Prof. Dr. Ika Darnhofer


Apply now!

Why apply?

  • Within the broader topic of each ESR, specify your own research project to advance knowledge on how to promote transformative practices and how to facilitate resourcefulness and resilience
  • Advance your ability to effectively use visual research methods and creative modes of communication
  • Work collaboratively in an international team of 15 Early Stage Researchers (i.e. PhD students)
  • Work in a project with partners in six countries (Austria, Belgium, England, Finland, Germany, The Netherlands)
  • Enjoy a fully funded PhD (full-time employment, 3-year contract, research funds)
  • Acquire a range of professional and scientific skills through training sessions tailored to the specific needs of the 15 ESR
  • Get to know different working environments, in different countries: as part of your training, you will spend time with your co-supervisor in another country


Key eligibility criteria:

  • For the ESR 12 and ESR 13, you should not have resided in Austria for more than 12 months in the past 3 years
  • You should be an Early Stage Researcher, i.e. be in the first 4 years of your research career and not have a doctoral degree
  • You should have an Masters degree, i.e. be eligible to start a PhD study (i.e. a total of 300 ECTS from Bachelor and Master-Studies).


Apply by 1 March 2018 by submitting:

  • a cover letter stating your motivation for applying (maximum 2-pages)
  • a full CV, confirming your eligibility
  • the names of two referees (to be called upon should they be shortlisted)

Timeline to recruitment:

  • 1 March 2018 - Deadline for application
  • End of March 2018 - Short-list of candidates is compiled
  • Late April 2018 - Short-listed candidate prepare a short research plan and a further statement of personal motivation
  • End April/early May - Interviews with short-listed candidates
  • 1 Sept. 2018 - Employment contract starts


A note on data privacy:

By submitting an application, the candidate is consenting to their application being shared with the RECOMS Selection Committee and the RECOMS coordinator. If you are shortlisted for interview, please note that the interview panel will consist of the host and non-host institution RECOMS partners. Your application will be available to all panel members, for the purpose of assessing your suitability for the post.



Links with further information

Detailed information on ESR 12 and ESR 13, incl. application procedure at BOKU

Overview of the 15 ESR positions in RECOMS

Overview of the RECOMS training programme

Frequently Asked Questions about recruitment and eligibility

General information about the RECOMS project

Watch a short movie about Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA)

Detailed information for Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) ITN fellows

Information package for MSCA ITN Fellows

General information about the Markie Sklodowska-Curie (MSCA) Innovative Training Network (ITN) programme