This post-doctoral fellow position will be funded by the Nippon Foundation’s Nexus Program, under the partnership developed among Arizona State University and Conservation International. The Ocean Nexus Program is an international research partnership focused on developing evidence-based approaches for a sustainable and equitable ocean and society by creating fellowship programs, engaging in interdisciplinary research, developing innovative ocean network, and effective science communication. Conservation International (CI) and Arizona State University (ASU) have launched a landmark partnership to protect nature, promote sustainable development models and train the next generation of conservation leaders. Under the CI and ASU institutional partnership, the ocean focal area aims to advance social responsibility and environmental sustainability in the seafood sector.

The ASU-CI Nexus Post-Doctoral Fellow in Sustainable Oceans will support an ambitious initiative that seeks to assess the complex linkages between overfishing, human rights abuse, and policy solutions to end illegality in global fisheries. This initiative aimes to fully articulate the bidirectional and mutually reinforcing drivers of human rights abuses at sea and overfishing. The initiative is being developed with key practitioners that can guide the future reform through policy pathways to reduce illegality in the sector. The specific research objectives and goals of this project are to:

  1. Develop evidence-based estimates of geographic, production mode, and supply chain prevalence and risk factors for human rights abuses and quantitatively link these estimates to stock status and fisheries ecosystem status.
  2. Identify appropriate policy responses to ameliorate these social and ecological impacts, focusing on international, domestic, and corporate policy solutions (see below).
  3. Effectively communicate these results to appropriate decision-makers, including key governments, NGOs, and industry leaders through targeted communications and direct engagement.

The fellow will work with collaboratively within a research team with a specific focus on bringing together disparate social data sources to assess global prevalence of human rights abuses in the seafood sector, with a focus on wild-capture fisheries. This social dataset will be analyzed together with data on global fisheries performance to produce novel insights into the inter-dependencies of human rights abuses and fisheries environmental performance on a global scale. Applicants must be comfortable working with interdisciplinary research methods, datasets, and a diverse community of researchers, working at the intersection of several key fields including fisheries science, human rights, and social responsibility, in this multinational project.

Essential Duties

In coordination with principal investigator and advisor Dr. Jack Kittinger, the ASU-CI Nexus Oceans Fellow will work with experts at CI, ASU, and partner organizations, including other investigators and fellows in the Nexus Ocean program. The advisor will use existing guidelines outlining best practices for mentoring to ensure the fellowship provides strong career and professional development opportunities.[i] The specific elements of the mentoring plan for the assistant research professor will include:

  • Orientation will include an onboarding plan that will familiarize the fellow with the teams at CI, ASU, the Nexus Ocean program, and partner organizations. Working with Dr. Kittinger, the fellow will develop an individual development plan, using accepted standards and approaches.[ii] The fellow will also participate in the workshops of the project, which will bring together all the PIs, participant experts and researchers, and review the broad and specific scopes of the project.
  • Career Counseling/Advising will be provided by Dr. Kittinger. The assistant research professor will share time between the offices of Conservation International in Honolulu where Dr. Kittinger works as well as in partner organizations to facilitate collaboration.
  • Experience with Grant Proposals will be gained by direct involvement in proposals prepared by Dr. Kittinger as well as collaborators at CI, ASU, and with partner organizations. The fellow will have an opportunity to learn best practices in proposal preparation, including identification of key research questions, definition of objectives, description of approach and rationale, and construction of a work plan, timeline and budget.
  • Publications and Presentations are expected to result from the work supported by the grant and it is expected that the fellow will participate in close collaboration with Dr. Kittinger, professionals at ASU and CI, and project partners in the development of these outputs. The Fellow will be eligible to apply for awards to support travel to present research at conferences.
  • Teaching and Mentoring Skills will be developed in the context of regular meetings with graduate students of several departments at ASU and conservation professionals at Conservation International, which may result in cross-fertilization of ideas.
  • Success of the Mentoring Plan will be assessed by tracking the Fellow’s progress toward his/her research and career goals. Monthly meetings will be held to check advances and adjust tasks.

[i] National Academy of Science (2000). National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, “Enhancing the Postdoctoral Experience for Scientists and Engineers: A Guide for Postdoctoral Scholars, Advisers, Institutions, Funding Organizations, and Disciplinary Societies,” National Academies Press, Washington DC.

[ii] FASEB Science Policy Committee (2010). Individual Development Plan for Postdoctoral Fellows. Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB)’s Science Policy Committee.


Required Qualifications  

  • Applicants must have completed their PhD (within the past four years) in a relevant natural or social science field (e.g. geography, political science, biology/life sciences; fisheries science) by the start date of the appointment.

Desired Qualifications 

  • Strong interdisciplinary scientific abilities, including familiarity with social science theory and methodologies, particularly in the fields of human rights, social responsibility, and oceans.
  • Prior experience working at the intersection of social and biophysical sciences, preferably with direct experience in oceans and the seafood sector.
  • Ability to work collaboratively and creatively to compile, manage, and analyze social and environmental data.

Application Instructions

The application deadline is May 1, 2020. To apply, candidates will be asked to submit the following through their Interfolio Dossier:

  • Cover letter outlining qualifications and experience (1 page)
  • Curriculum Vitae, including links to authored publications
  • Statement of research accomplishments and future goals (1 page)
  • Name, phone number, address and e-mail address of three (3) professional references

Please include all employment information in month/year format (e.g., 6/88 to 8/94), job title, job duties and name of employer for each position. Only electronic applications will be accepted.

Department Statement

The School of Sustainability at Arizona State University is the first of its kind: A comprehensive degree-granting program with a transdisciplinary focus on finding real-world solutions to environmental, economic, and social sustainability challenges (see  Established in 2006, the School is part of the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. Our mission is to educate a new generation of scholars and practitioners and create innovative modes of scholarship by bringing together people from multiple disciplines, leaders and stakeholders to develop effective solutions to the most pressing sustainability challenges. The School of Sustainability takes a transdisciplinary approach in its curriculum, addressing a broad spectrum of global challenges, including: 1) energy, materials, and technology; 2) water quality and scarcity; 3) international development; 4) sustainable ecosystems; 5) social transformations; 6) food and food system sustainability, and; 7) policy and governance.

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