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Title  

Rural Sociologist: The use of Farmer Clusters to further Landscape Scale Conservation

Reference     (Please mention Stopdodo/Environment Jobs in your application)
Sectors   Horticulture, Arboriculture and Agri.
Location   England (South West)
Town/City   Ernest Cook Trust Estate in Gloucestershire
Type   Fixed Term and Permanent Roles
Status   Full Time
Level   First Level
Deadline   01/09/2017
Company Name   Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust
Contact Name  
Email   lfield@gwct.org.uk
Website   Further Details / Applications
Also Listing:
Description  

Applications are invited for a rural sociologist to work on a fixed term research post investigating the efficacy of Farmer Clusters and the role that they play in facilitating landscape scale nature conservation.

The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust is a research and education charity (www.gwct.org.uk) working on the conservation of threatened species, especially on farmland, and who have been involved in developing the concept of the Farmer Cluster (https://www.gwct.org.uk/farming/advice/farmer-clusters/).

In partnership with the Ernest Cook Trust (www.ernestcooktrust.org.uk ) we are conducting research on the motivation of farmers to conserve farmland wildlife by working co-operatively with their neighbours in ‘Farmer Clusters’.  This new concept encourages farmers to work together to undertake the wildlife conservation they want to achieve, at a landscape rather than farm scale, to improve biodiversity and conserve wildlife on their farms. 

The research will help us to better understand why clusters might be more successful than using more traditional approaches to wildlife conservation, such as government regulations and subsidies.  The research will inform how Farmer Clusters might be best used to achieve landscape-scale conservation and assess the potential for them to be used across the UK.

It is envisaged that the research will use a combination of personal interviews and focus groups.

We seek a newly graduated (or soon to be examined) PhD student with a background of rural sociology, ideally with knowledge of farming and wildlife.

The post is available full time for six months from 1st October 2017,

The post will be based at the Ernest Cook Trust Estate in Gloucestershire.  Residential accommodation is available if required.

We anticipate that interviews for short-listed candidates will be held week commencing 18 September 2017.

Informal enquiries to: Professor Nick Sotherton, Director of Research, Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust   nsotherton@gwct.org.uk

Salary: TBC

Apply by email with CV to: Lynn Field lfield@gwct.org.uk

Closing date: 1 September 2017

 

As part of the application process you will be asked to provide evidence that you meet all of the essential criteria as well as, where relevant, the desirable criteria via a supporting statement. 

 

For this post please submit an example of your research publications.

 

Job title: Research Associate

Line manager: Professor Nick Sotherton

 

Job Purpose

You will conduct research on the motivation of farmers to conserve farmland wildlife by working co-operatively with their neighbours in ‘Farmer Clusters’.  This new concept encourages farmers to work together to undertake the wildlife conservation they want to achieve, at a landscape rather than farm scale, to improve biodiversity and conserve wildlife on their farms. 

 

The research will help us to better understand why clusters might be more successful than using more traditional approaches to wildlife conservation, such as government regulations and subsidies.  The research will inform how Famer Clusters might be best used to achieve landscape-scale conservation and assess the potential for them to be used across the UK.

 

A Farmer Cluster is an informal group of farmers getting together to deliver environmental and biodiversity improvements at a landscape scale.  The concept is voluntary but driven by the farmers themselves i.e. it is bottom-up not top-down. 

 

A Farmer Cluster choose what wildlife they wish to see on their farms, not be told what to do.  Farmers choose their own targets, advisors, chair-person and funding model.  The initiative is very outcome-oriented.

 

Defra, via Natural England, has made funding available via its Facilitation Fund in its Agri-environment schemes and, so far, 49 Farmer Clusters have been set up in two tranches with a third tranche about to be announced.  In addition, a number of other Farmer Clusters have been set up where he farmers have chosen not to take public funds.  Rather they chose to fund the initiative themselves.

 

Our goal is to generate theoretically informed but empirically grounded data that are able, through best practice sharing and reporting, to advise policy-makers and stakeholders on how workable solutions can be found to motivate farmers to conserve wildlife on their farms.

 

This research focuses on the Fairford Estate of the Ernest Cook Trust (www.ernestcooktrust.org.uk ), where a Farmer Cluster will be established shortly, but also examines existing Farmer Clusters in the south of England. In this respect, it is essential that the researcher has a clean driving licence and vehicle suitable for their own use.  A mileage allowance will be provided.

 

The research will be carried out in close collaboration with landowners and farmers with the aim of co-producing knowledge that can be beneficial for a range of stakeholders.

 

Main Responsibilities

  • Lead in the research design, and conduct extensive fieldwork on selected rural estates, using a range of methods (i.e. observing, interviewing, focus groups).
  • Design, build and analyse data sets (mainly qualitative). Develop appropriate coding of data through discussion with the research partners (GWCT and ECT).
  • Lead in the management of the research, in collaboration with the research partners, including deciding on research directions and goals within the remit of the project and, as appropriate, adjusting research approaches to meet project outcomes.
  • Decide which aspects of the research findings to include in presentations or publications and how to convey the findings.
  • Share research findings via co-authored peer-reviewed publications and knowledge exchange activities supported by the research partners.

 

Planning and Organising

Plan and manage your programme of research activity, in coordination with the research partners, to ensure that the research is conducted in accordance with the research timetable, managing time and prioritising activities, as well as responding to varying project needs and deadlines.  Organise your own workload according to priority and adapt as necessary, setting short-term time-lines as appropriate.

 

Research Design

Resolve most problems using your own experience and judgment. Use creativity and initiative to undertake the research questions, analyse and interpret research data, and draw conclusions from it.

 

Analysis

Decide, in collaboration with the research partners, what knowledge to draw on and how to apply it to develop new scholarly insight.

 

Key Contacts/Relationships

Your line manager and main point of contact will be Professor Nick Sotherton at the GWCT, but you will work closely with Dr Victoria Edwards, Chief Executive of the Ernest Cook Trust, where you will be based. You will also liaise with a range of external co-operation partners and stakeholders across the third, public and private sectors. You might be asked to participate in a range of academic and practitioner networks in order to ensure that the research is informed by, and contributes to current debates and practices.

 

 

 

Knowledge, Skills and Experience Needed for the Job

Essential

  • Appropriate degree, with relevant postgraduate research experience. Normally a PhD, either submitted or awarded by the time of appointment, or equivalent professional qualification and/or experience in a field relevant to the research area of rural sociology/anthropology/psychology.
  • Specialist theoretical and practical knowledge in relation qualitative methodologies (broadly conceived).
  • Knowledge of current issues in at least one of the areas of: farming, wildlife management, farmer cooperation, collective action.
  • Research design skills and experience in qualitative and comparative data generation and analysis.
  • Relevant experience carrying out rural research and fieldwork.
  • Excellent communication skills (oral and written), including public presentations and ability to communicate complex information clearly and concisely to academic and non-academic audiences.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills including team working and a collaborative, team-based approach.
  • Excellent facilitation skills, including the ability to design and facilitate participatory processes and workshops.
  • Appropriate workload and time management skills.
  • Self-motivated with ability for initiative and independent thought/working.
  • Problem solving skills including a flexible and pragmatic approach.
  • Willingness and ability to travel in the UK, as required by the project.
    Desirable
  • Experience of working with non-academics (e.g. practitioners, farmers, policy makers).
  • Research creativity and strong interdisciplinary ability.
  • Experience in undertaking independent research.
  • Networking skills and an outgoing personality.
  • Project management skills and experience.
  • Mediation skills and ability to facilitate difficult conversations.
  • Familiar with, or be able to demonstrate, interest in wildlife and in working with landowners and farmers.
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