Postdoctoral Fellow

The project RECOVER (Resilience to Climate Vulnerability and Environmental Risk - with a focus on Asia Pacific islands) is recruiting a 2-year full time postdoctoral fellow at the University of Waterloo, Canada.

The primary responsibility of the postdoc will be to develop a dynamic, non-linear socio-metabolic model. This model aims to comprehend and analyze socio-metabolic risks and tipping points related to resource-use patterns and consumption behaviors on small islands. This model will be both generic and adaptable to specific cases in the RECOVER project, and potentially serve as an interactive web-based tool. The socio-metabolic model will aim to pinpoint feedback mechanisms across compartments, system vulnerabilities, path dependencies, lock-in and cascade effects, system volatility and impacts from potential shocks and disruptions in resource supply chains.

The successful candidate will be a key project collaborator with the project team at the Univ. of Waterloo and in the activity countries (Asia-Pacific small island states). In addition to the socio-metabolic model development and testing, the postdoc will contribute as lead or co-author on research publications. There will also be opportunities to present co-authored research at national or international conferences in Year 2 and to co-supervise graduate students recruited for socio-metabolic risk assessment and modelling. Teaching opportunities may also become available.

Candidates for this position must have a doctoral degree in engineering, environmental studies/science, geography, or related disciplines with expertise in resource and/or risk modelling of socio-ecological systems. Candidates must be proficient in System Dynamics Modeling and related state-of-the art tools and software, and a demonstrable interest in addressing/analyzing social-environmental real-world problems from a systems perspective. Additional knowledge of one or more of the following techniques/methods will be an asset: Geographic Information System (GIS), Agent-Based Modeling (ABM), Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs), and Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA).

The postdoc position is for 2 years, full time, with a gross salary range of CAD$ 45,000 – 50,000 per year, inclusive of all benefits. The work location is the University of Waterloo, with work-from-home option of 1-2 days a week. The postdoc must be resident of Ontario (Canada) during the period of employment. The start date of the position is negotiable, between 1st November 2023 and 1st January 2024. To apply, please send cover letter highlighting relevant qualifications, experience, and motivation, along with a full CV, as a single PDF file to:

About the RECOVER project:

The RECOVER (Resilience to Climate Vulnerability and Environmental Risk) project is funded jointly by IDRC-Canada and FCDO-U.K. under the UK-Canada CLimate Adaptation and Resilience (CLARE) research framework programme:    

RECOVER has a focus on Asia-Pacific Islands with an overall goal of enhancing small islands’ capacity to adapt to climate change through more inclusive, and research-informed decision environments. Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are on the frontlines of climate change and consistently rank high on a range of risk and climate vulnerability indices. IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report recognizes the urgency of these challenges and the need for transformational adaptation strategies for small islands. . Three SIDS in the Asia-Pacific region will serve as “hubs of innovation” for scalable and systems-changing climate resilience approaches.

RECOVER centres on mitigating “socio-metabolic risk”, or systemic risk related to critical resource availability, material circulation integrity, and (in)equities in cost and benefit distributions. Socio-metabolic risk is to islands as circulatory health problems are to humans – both constrain the entity’s ability to withstand significant shocks and changes. Maladaptive and climate insensitive development practices – such as coastal squeeze, high import dependency, and centralised energy systems – magnify islands climate vulnerability. Mitigating socio-metabolic risk is crucial for small islands to withstand climate impacts and avoid cascading dysfunction of environmental, economic, and social systems. 

RECOVER partnership is multisectoral, inter-and-transdisciplinary and the Real-World Labs (RLWs) fosters a two-way interaction between the research team and stakeholder groups to co-create innovative place-based climate adaptation solutions.



  • Application deadline: Oct 31, 2023
  • University of Waterloo
  • School of Environment, Enterprise, and Development (SEED)
  • Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
  • Postdoc Positions
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