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Postdoctoral Researcher Position in Energy Justice at the University of Delaware
The Department of Geography and Spatial Sciences, in the College of Earth, Ocean and Environment at the University of Delaware is seeking a postdoctoral researcher to join a multi-disciplinary research team on a project funded by the Sloan Foundation: Advancing transformational energy justice across the renewable energy supply chain.
Dr. Lindsay Naylor (PI, Geography), in collaboration with Dr. Jeremy Firestone (School of Marine Science and Policy), Dr. Kelsey Leonard (Environment, University of Waterloo), Dr. Julie Klinger (Geography), are working on a project in collaboration with lead PI Dr. Benjamin Sovacool (Earth and Environment, Boston University) and Dr. Christine Labuski (Women and Gender Studies, Virginia Tech), Dr. Cara Daggett (Political Science, Virginia Tech), Dr. Shannon Bell, (Sociology, Virginia Tech) to undertake a whole systems approach to energy transitions, integrating theory and insights from spatial justice, energy geography, political ecology, Indigenous energy justice, and antiracist scholarship to advance an interdisciplinary approach to the whole supply chain comprising the U.S. transition to renewables. Although the operation and use stage of renewable energy technologies like wind and solar are highly visible, it remains that mineral extraction, manufacturing, and waste disposal are less visible and can place profound tolls on individuals, communities, and precious resources. To meet the goal to advance understandings of transformational energy justice in these contexts, we will use mixed qualitative methods to examine how power relations, values, and structural inequalities get built into energy decisions and energy transitions, and we look to apply and further develop related analytical tools to help inform future just transition decision making.
Our mixed methods approach consists of eight case studies across the solar and wind energy lifecycles, using, (i) expert interviews and elicitation, community interviews, and focus groups; (ii) site visits, including participant observation and socio-ecological vulnerability analysis, and supplemented with, (iii) archival research and reviews of the academic and policy literature. The University of Delaware research team is the lead on wind energy data collection.
This is an 18-month position starting January 2024 (and through May of 2025), with a competitive salary and comprehensive benefits package. This position will be primarily supervised by Dr. Lindsay Naylor, and there will be opportunities to work with other members of the research team including graduate and undergraduate research assistants.
Applicants should demonstrate interest or experience in one or more of the following areas:
(1) Collecting and analyzing qualitative field-level data
This project involves domestic fieldwork in order to understand the lifecycle of wind energy in the United States. In addition to ethnographic-style fieldwork and visits to case study sites, this area involves meetings and semi-structured interviews with officials, experts, company representatives, and community members, as well as extensive analysis of scholarly and policy literature related to wind energy and green energy transitions. Topical competency in climate change adaptation, wind or solar energy, and/or experience with GIS, or qualitative data analysis software (e.g. NVIVO) is encouraged, but not required.
(2) Science and Policy Communication
An important objective for this research is to educate the public, policymakers, and the private sector on the lifecycle of green energy products. This will involve presenting research at academic conferences, as well as developing materials for outreach to diverse audiences through webinars and policy briefs.
(3) Critical Theory
This project has at its foundation a conceptual framework that integrates feminist, Indigenous, anti-racist, critical energy, and political ecology theories to better understand the justice dimensions of energy activities from extraction to decommissioning. Familiarity with feminist, decolonial, and critical race theory will be needed to participate in the analysis and dissemination for this project.
Applicants are not expected to have established skillsets or interest in all of the above areas, but applicants should demonstrate interest in developing an additional set of skills necessary to enable this innovative cross-disciplinary collaboration. This is an in-person, on-campus (Newark, DE), and fieldwork-based position.
Required Education and Experience:
- A PhD in geography or related social science field, e.g., sociology, environmental studies, anthropology; it is expected that the PhD will be completed/conferred by December 1, 2023.
- Demonstrated experience in qualitative research on human-environment interactions.
- Ability to work independently and collaboratively as part of a multidisciplinary team.
- Exceptional attention to detail and strong organizational and time management skills.
- Strong verbal and written English language communication skills.
Qualified applicants should send a brief letter of interest and CV (with referees listed) via UD Talent Link. Any questions can be directed to Dr. Naylor (email@example.com). Applications received on or before August 1, 2023, will be considered for review. We encourage applications from historically excluded and under-represented scholars.
The University of Delaware is an equal opportunity affirmative action employer. The University of Delaware is located midway between Philadelphia and Baltimore, and is a Sea Grant, Space Grant, and Land Grant institution. The University of Delaware's wind research and educational activities are concentrated in its interdisciplinary Center for Research in Wind (CReW) and the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment is home to the Mangone Climate Change Research & Policy Hub.