Announcement: Postdoc Position on Social Dimensions of Cocoa Agroforestry In Ghana

Starting January 17, 2017 - Ending January 17, 2018

A 2.5-year full-time Postdoc position is available at the University of Ghana, Legon.

The position is attached to the interdisciplinary, international, research project “Climate Smart Cocoa Systems for Ghana (CLIMCOCOA)”, which is financed by DANIDA, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, and coordinated by the University of Ghana, Legon.


Cocoa is the third largest export commodity of Ghana and represents the most important source of revenue for many small-scale farmers. Climate change in the form of higher temperatures and reduced rainfall is expected to adversely affect cocoa productivity and reduce the area suitable for cocoa cultivation in Ghana. Although this is likely to have major effects on the local and national economy, the magnitude and underlying mechanisms of this impact are not well understood.

The CLIMCOCOA project aims to develop a comprehensive understanding of the impacts of climate change on the socio-biophysical bases of cocoa systems in Ghana, and to assess the role of agroforestry as a model for climate smart agriculture in Ghana. The project applies a multidisciplinary approach to the investigation of the socio-economic and biophysical limitations and options for cocoa cultivation under a changed climate, and to assess institutional and socioeconomic factors that favour or limit farmers’ adoption of innovative management options. Ultimately the goal is to assure a future for cocoa farmers in Ghana and other cocoa producing countries in West Africa.

The CLIMCOCOA project comprises a range of institutions, including the University of Ghana, Legon; The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture; The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF); The University of Copenhagen and Roskilde University, Denmark.

The CLIMCOCOA project is announcing an attractive Postdoc-Scholarship for Ghanaian nationals. The Postdoc will be enrolled at the University of Ghana, Legon, with research stays at The University of Copenhagen, Denmark. The Postdoc will work in close collaboration with a team of national and international experts, and will have the opportunity to engage in dialogue with central actors in the cocoa network in Ghana and internationally.


Job description and thematic focus of the Postdoc position: Social challenges and opportunities in relation to introducing agroforestry: cocoa farmers’ perspectives

There is little knowledge of adaptive measures taken in the context of climate change in cocoa farming communities in Ghana. We hypothesize that agroforestry (defined as the purposeful intercropping of trees in cocoa plantations), which has long been practiced by some cocoa farmers, can serve as a buffer against climate variability and climate change and thereby enhance farmers’ adaptive capacity. In order to determine the potential role of agroforestry as a model for climate and carbon smart agriculture among small scale farmers, it is important to understand how farmers (distinguished by age, gender, ethnicity/tribal affiliation) perceive and experience risks from climate change, their adaptation strategies related to cocoa farming and climate variability as well as stakeholders’ preferences, challenges and opportunities related to adaptation to climate change in particular to agroforestry. The Postdoc will study farmers’ perspectives on, and practices in relation to, climatic change and investigate the social challenges and opportunities with regard to introducing (or reintroducing) agroforestry, including how informal institutions (related to e.g. age, gender, ethnicity/tribal affiliation, religion) influence the perception and use/adoption of agroforestry as a risk management strategy. As part of the study, the Postdoc will participate in the conducting of a range of household surveys and semi-structured interviews as well as an institutional mapping focusing on how formal institutions (at local/regional/national/transnational levels) influence the use or the adoption of agroforestry as a risk management strategy.


The Postdoc´s main duties will include research, dissemination and support for project management with regard to the social dimensions of cocoa agroforestry in Ghana. The Postdoc must be prepared for longer periods of field work in the project case areas. In addition, the Postdoc will provide support to PhD students who are involved in the project in areas such as research design, field work and data analysis.



·         Applicants should be of Ghanaian nationality and hold a PhD from a recognized university in Geography, Economics, Development Studies, Sociology, Anthropology or a related field.

·         The applicant should have strong qualifications within qualitative research (e.g. conducting in-depth interviews, household surveys and institutional mapping) and previous experience with social science fieldwork preferably related to social dimensions of livelihoods and adaptation to climate change.


Assessment of candidates:

For selection of qualified applicants, the following professional qualifications and personal competences will be considered:

·         Research qualifications, which will be assessed in relation to the period of active research, the degree of originality and production.

Scientific record, academic breadth and depth, rigour, thoroughness and accuracy as well as academic relevance in relation to the advertisement for the position.

·         Additional qualifications regarding administrative practice, experiences with research management, and participation in national and international research networks.


The application should include:

1.      A motivation letter (maximum 2 page).

2.      Description of proposed research related to the CLIMCOCOA activities as described above (maximum 3 pages).

3.      A full Curriculum Vitae (with applicant’s e-mail address and telephone number).

4.      Documentation of obtained PhD degree and a copy of the examination committee’s evaluation.

5.      Complete publication list indicating papers particularly relevant to the application (maximum 5).

6.      PDF’s of particularly relevant papers (maximum 5).

7.      Two professional recommendations including full contact details (name, address, telephone & email).


Applications must be sent as a single pdf file by email to:


Deadline: 2nd April, 2017



The Postdoc will be employed and supported by the project through the University of Ghana, Legon, according to standard conditions. Fieldwork will be conducted in Ghana in collaboration with other members of the CLIMCOCOA project staff. Job interviews are expected to take place in May 2017 after which applicants will be informed of the outcome of their application. The selected candidate is expected to start work by the 1st of July, 2017.


For more information contact:

Dr. Kwadwo Owusu,


 Tel: (+233) 279943213