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Postdoctoral Scholar in Governance of Ocean Litter

Seattle WA

The School of Marine & Environmental Affairs and the Nippon Foundation Nereus Program are looking for a postdoctoral scholar to join an interdisciplinary team of researchers conducting governance studies of global ocean litter issues. This project will use case studies of multiple international sites to determine indirect and direct impacts of ocean litter on humans and the environment, explore existing governance strategies to address ocean litter, and integrate the foregoing in order to understand how different governance approaches mediate communities’ lived experience of ocean litter. Study findings will be leveraged to develop a framework of actionable, global solutions that can effectively reduce ocean impacts while being tailorable to diverse political and social contexts. The postdoctoral scholar will be responsible for (1) expanding existing perspectives on ocean litter to link governance to both drivers and impacts; (2) coupling ecological impacts and public health concerns with communities’ experience of ocean litter; and (3) developing potential pathways and visions for mitigating the risks of ocean litter to communities’ wellbeing. The scholar will be expected to contribute to and compile a final project report as well as publish findings in peer-reviewed journals. Although the overall research direction and approach of the project are set, expansion of and input into this research agenda according to the scholar’s own interests and expertise are very welcome.

The position is full time and will be based in the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs at the University of Washington. The initial appointment is for 1 year, with the possibility of renewing up to a maximum of 3 years (not to exceed total of 5 years of postdoctoral scholar employment) based upon review of performance. Some international travel (conference attendance, coordination with funders and collaborators) is expected.

Postdoctoral Scholars are engaged in full-time mentored advanced training to enhance professional skills and research independence, and perform primarily research and scholarship under the direction and supervision of University faculty mentors.

Postdoctoral scholars are represented by UAW 4121 and are subject to the collective bargaining agreement, unless agreed exclusion criteria apply. For more information, please visit the University of Washington Labor Relations website.


Anticipated start date is January 2020 (preferred). Employment to commence no later than April 2020.


The University of Washington is located in the greater Seattle metropolitan area, with a dynamic, multicultural community of 3.7 million people and a range of ecosystems from mountains to ocean. The University serves a diverse population of 80,000 students, faculty and staff, including 25% first-generation college students, over 25% Pell Grant students, and faculty from over 70 countries. The University promotes diversity and inclusivity among our students, faculty, and staff and the public; we seek applicants who are committed to these principles. Thus, we are strongly seeking applicants whose research, teaching, and/or service have not only prepared them to fulfill our commitment to inclusion, but have also given them the confidence to fully engage audiences in higher education from a wide spectrum of backgrounds.

This position will be eligible for certain University benefits. A comprehensive description of UW academic personnel benefits is available at http://hr.uw.edu/benefits/.



A background in the social sciences, including a PhD or foreign equivalent in policy and governance, environmental social science or a related field, is required. No specific expertise with marine issues is necessary, although knowledge of natural resource management and/or ocean and fisheries science is a plus. Competitive candidates will be proficient in qualitative and quantitative approaches (including case-based research, cross-case analysis, and analysis of interview and survey data), with excellent oral and written communication skills, experience presenting research findings in peer-reviewed publications and at conferences, and a demonstrated ability to collaborate with an interdisciplinary team comprised of oceanographers, biologists, economists, anthropologists, etc.



Applicants should apply electronically via Interfolio, and submit the following: 1) cover letter 2) curriculum vitae, 3) writing sample 4) contact details of three references. Questions pertaining to this position can be sent to Professor Yoshitaka Ota (yota1@uw.edu). Applicants who may need disability accommodations in the application process are encouraged to contact Jackie Chapman (jachap@uw.edu) or the UW’s Disability Services Office at (206) 543-6450 or (206) 543-6450 (TTY) or dso@uw.edu.


Posted November 29, 2019

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