Postdoc to work on Resilience and Health

Petra Tschakert from the Department of Geography and Earth and Environmental Systems Institute at Pennsylvania State University writes about a new postdoctoral position she is working on resilience:

Postdoctoral research opportunity in Complex Systems Science, Resilience, and Health

The successful applicant will be part of an interdisciplinary team of researchers focused on integrating debates on land disturbance, climate change and extreme events, the emergence of a neglected tropical disease (Buruli ulcer), and resilience.

The overall goal of this position is to assist in research and educational activities on coupled systems dynamics, cross-scale interactions, and thresholds that are likely to trigger the outbreak of Buruli ulcer, an aggressive and debilitating skin disease.

The position is part of a 5-year NSF-funded grant #0909447 (CNH: Climatic Extremes, Mining, and Mycobacterium ulcerans: A Coupled Systems Perspective) in collaboration with Ghanaian partners from academia, the public health sector, and gold mining communities.

The applicant is expected to contribute to the design of an integrative research methodology, the development of innovative and participatory methods for data collection and outreach activities, and a fostered learning approach between schools districts in Pennsylvania and rural Ghana (cross-cultural K-12 sister schools) on complex emerging diseases in changing landscapes. The applicant is also expected to take a leadership role in preparation of manuscripts for publication and contribute to the design of educational material useful to students, health practitioners, and rural communities. Penn State has extensive opportunities for collaboration across the natural and social sciences.

The successful applicant must have a mix of expertise in resilience thinking, development, social learning, and possibly complex systems modeling and/or agent-based modeling. Moreover, the applicant must be able to work in an interdisciplinary collaborative setting, have experience working in a different cultural environment, have excellent communication and writing skills, and demonstrate evidence of ability to publish in scientific journals.

The position is for two years. The salary and benefits package are competitive. Applicants should submit (electronically) a cover letter; curriculum vitae; a one or two page statement of experience as it relates to the stated position goals; a maximum of three sample reprints/preprints (electronic versions); and names, addresses, fax numbers and e-mail addresses of three references to Dr. Petra Tschakert, or via post to: Dr. Petra Tschakert, Department of Geography, 315 Walker Building, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802.

Complete applications must be received by March 15, 2010 to ensure consideration. Applications, however, will be accepted until the position is filled. For further information please contact Dr. Petra Tschakert ( ; phone 814 863-9399). Penn State is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity and the diversity of its work force. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.

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