Expert position in transnational ecosystem services project

The Centre for Ecological Research of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA ÖK) is seeking a qualified and motivated individual who will play a pivotal role in providing guidance on ecosystem service (ES) assessments in the project ‘Ecosystem services of karst protected areas – driving force of local sustainable development’ (Eco Karst).

Eco Karst is a recently approved project funded under Interreg Danube Transnational Programme. The project aims to combine and customize different disciplines and methods for ES assessment and to apply them to 7 pilot areas from 7 different countries, covering a wide geographical scope of the Danube basin’s Karst regions (Dinaric Alps, Alps, Carpathians). The project partnership includes diverse expert institutions, administrations and NGOs in nature conservation, forestry and research. MTA ÖK will play a key role in customizing ES assessment methods as well as facilitating their implementation. Resulting guidance will serve as a toolkit for the entire Danube and Dinaric region.

Expectations
The desired candidate has a good understanding of the conceptual structure and practical implementation of regional ecosystem assessments. She/he will be expected to communicate the abstract concepts and criteria related to the different assessment elements (ecosystem extent, condition, services) to “non-expert” natural scientists, and help them to match these concepts to available data and methodologies. Practical experience in ES mapping and assessment projects, as well as experience in international multi-partner projects and participatory processes are considered as major assets. Candidates will have at least an MSc level degree in Ecology, Geography, Environmental Sciences or a related discipline. Excellent verbal and written English language skills are essential, while knowledge of a South Slavic language would be appreciated.

Tasks
The successful candidate will, as part of the Eco Karst project team of 6 young and committed colleagues, work on customizing methods from identification of stakeholders, ecosystem types and ES types, through the actual mapping (participatory GIS) to economic valuation. In addition, she or he will have an important facilitating role aiming to reach common understanding and successful implementation of the methods across the 7 pilot areas through guidance, trainings and consultations. Presentation of the results in scientific conferences and peer reviewed publications are encouraged.

Our institute
The Centre for Ecological Research of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA ÖK) is active in basic and applied research in the fields of ecology and conservation biology. MTA ÖK has a long tradition of studying complex policy-oriented research questions, and performing regional ecosystem assessments in policy sensitive landscapes. It has been participating in several ES related international projects (OpenNESS, ESMERALDA) and is coordinating the national level MAES (Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystem Services) project in Hungary.

The workplace is situated in the Vácrátót campus of MTA ÖK, 25 km from Budapest, in the largest botanical garden of Hungary. We offer inspiring multidisciplinary teamwork and flexible working conditions with excellent links to national and international research networks in a natural and cosy environment.

To apply
Interested candidates should submit a cover letter with the indication of gross salary expectation and a curriculum vitae including a list of publications. Please send applications electronically to Ildikó Arany at arany.ildiko@okologia.mta.hu. Review of application materials will begin on December 19, 2016 and continue until the position is filled. The successful candidate is expected to start in February 2017, the position is fully funded until June 2019.

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