1- PhD opportunities in fisheries law and governance

We are seeking high quality candidates interested in pursuing PhD studies in marine governance, to complement our work on climate change adaptation and the role of law and governance in promoting the resilience of Australia’s terrestrial and marine resources. These are priority areas within the Faculty of Law, the Centre for Marine Socioecology and the Institute for the Study of Social Change at the University of Tasmania.

The ideal candidate will have a background in Environmental Governance, Law, Policy or a related discipline, preferably with experience in, or knowledge of, quantitative and qualitative social research methods.  They will have; (i) a proven ability to work in an interdisciplinary environment, (ii) strong written and oral communication skills and (iii) experience in managing research projects.  They will also have a demonstrated ability to work as a constructive and positive member of a team.

Interested candidates are encouraged to contact the research leads to discuss their individual ideas where they align with the broader themes of these positions:

  1. Building capacity for the collaborative governance of marine resources

Collaborative and networked approaches to environmental governance are increasingly recognised as an effective mechanism for enhancing the sustainable management of ecological goods and services.  For example, by improving stakeholder participation they facilitate learning, complex adaptive thinking and knowledge exchange among network members.  Collaborative governance approaches also allow decision-makers to capitalise on scale specific knowledge (e.g.- traditional and local knowledge) to develop management interventions that account for local worldviews, thus increasing their acceptance.   However, despite increased interest in collaborative approaches to governance, the features that influence their effectiveness and efficiency are largely unknown.  As such we cannot identify the conditions under which their application is most suited, or develop strategies to optimise their implementation. To address this knowledge gap this project will determine the individual, organisational, social, political, material, technical, practical and financial elements required to optimise collaborative governance processes.  This will be achieved through the in-depth evaluation of a range of collaborative marine governance case-studies. In so doing, this study will develop design criteria to enhance the success of collaborative governance processes.

  1. Understanding and managing issues of power in collaborative marine governance arrangements.

Despite the benefits offered by collaborative governance processes, they can be adversely affected by power imbalances among members of the network. For example, power imbalances can marginalise certain groups from participating in governance processes or steer groups towards predetermined and/or detrimental outcomes.  Thus, issues associated with power have the potential to undermine collaborative governance systems, resulting in inadequate and/or agenda driven decision-making processes with adverse downstream impacts to society (Juntti et al, 2009).   However, while the influence of power on environmental governance processes is well established, the mechanisms for mediating power imbalances are less certain.  To address this knowledge gap this project will seek to understand how power is conceptualised and manifested within collaborative governance systems, and the associated consequences for stakeholder interactions and the overall functioning of the governance network. This will be achieved via a series of in-depth case studies, utilising techniques such as powercube and similar power analysis frameworks (see Pantazidou, 2012).  Having identified specific power issues in selected case studies, the project will also identify, test and refine suitable options for managing issues associated with power in governance systems.

Contact information: For more information or to express your interest in either of these positions please contact Dr Chris Cvitanovic (christopher.cvitanovic@utas.edu.au) or Professor Jan McDonald (jan.mcdonald@utas.edu.au).

Applications close 5th December 2016

Juntti M. Russel D, Turnpenny J (2009) Evidence, politics and power in public policy for the environment. Environmental Science and Policy 12, 207-215.
Pantazidou M (2012). What next for power analysis? A review of recent experience with the powercube and related frameworks. IDS Working Paper 2012 (400).



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