Postdoctoral Fellow: Insurance Value of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services

Lund University
Centre for Environmental and Climate Research, Sweden

Closing date: 9 April 2018

For information and application visit


Lund University was founded in 1666 and is repeatedly ranked among the world’s top 100 universities and has 40 000 students and 7 400 staff. We are united in our efforts to understand, explain and improve our world and the human condition.

The Center for Environmental and Climate Research, CEC ( conducts research, education, and communication on environmental science and climate research at Lund University. A central part of the activities is the coordination of the strategic research area Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in a Changing Climate, BECC (, based on interdisciplinary collaboration between more than 200 researchers and doctoral students at universities in Lund and Gothenburg. BECC brings together natural and social science research to increase knowledge about the direct and indirect effects of climate change on biodiversity and ecosystem services and how this knowledge can contribute to sustainable ecosystem management.


You will be part of the multidisciplinary research project ”Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services as Insurance against risks of Future Weather Variability (BioInsure)”, and collaborate with scientists from agricultural and environmental economics, ecology, and soil, agricultural and climate sciences. You will be stationed at CEC.

Climate change has been heralded as presenting agriculture with opportunities, particularly a longer growing season, new crops and higher yields. However, the risks associated with crop production will increase if the weather (e.g., daily rainfall and temperatures) becomes more variable because it could bring about more frequent dry or wet conditions, as well as more intense weather events. Conserving soil biodiversity (natural capital) and associated supporting ecosystem services (ES) can though provide farmers and society in general with insurance against future risks.


The overriding aim of this research is to evaluate the implications of climate scenarios that explicitly consider weather variability, for the optimal management of natural capital. This will be done using multiple methods: a) estimating statistical crop production functions that include weather variables and indicators of natural capital from long-term experimental data; b) developing climate scenarios including weather variability; c) Optimizing natural capital using dynamic programming; and d) Evaluating the insurance value, implicitly associated with the conservation of natural capital, using real-option pricing techniques. The project will be based on existing data and modelling frameworks. We will focus on statistical and analytical modelling to develop fundamental knowledge of climate risks as related to natural capital. We expect to demonstrate that natural capital provides insurance against the risks of climate change by buffering yield effects of adverse weather events and reducing reliance on costly inputs, as well as providing guidance to policymakers.

To develop statistical models of crop production, climate scenarios, dynamic programming models and real-options techniques you will collaborate with experts in these fields who are engaged in the project.

Your main duty will be to carry out research in an active research environment including several postdocs, Ph.D. students, and thesis students investigating research questions in similar themes, with generous opportunity for collaborative work. You are also expected to actively participate in the BECC environment, by e.g. participating, initiating and contributing to seminars, workshops, and thematic research meetings. The postdoc may also participate in teaching on a limited basis.


  • Ph.D. in environmental or agricultural economics, ecology, physical geography, environmental, agricultural or forestry sciences or similar. Candidates with a Ph.D. in other sciences (e.g. statistics, mathematics or strong quantitative interdisciplinary field) and with documented skills in one of the disciplines listed above may also qualify.
  • Strong quantitative skills, e.g., statistical estimation or modelling, mathematical modelling, mathematical programming (optimization), or the like.
  • The applicant needs to be able to pursue independent research and participate in interdisciplinary teamwork.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills are required.
  • The candidate must be excellent in spoken and written English.

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