January 2020 Newsletter: Upcoming Opportunities


One day workshop for doctoral students
Wednesday 26 February, at 9-12 hrs
House of Science and Letters (Tieteidentalo), Helsinki

The DocShop 2020 seeks to explore diverse meanings of data in Development Studies. In the current age of inequality, multiple unknowns and multiple insecurities, it is crucial to be able to engage the many meanings of data. The workshop will problematise conventional ideas of ‘data’, data gathering, and data analysis in transdisciplinary development studies research.

The DocShop aims at preparing doctoral candidates to engage with, problematise, and remodify the current emphasis on evidence-informed policy. Doing so is intended to enable doctoral candidates to provide more compelling diagnosis of social ’problems’, deconstruct and reconstruct existing approaches, understand complex  linkages between data gathering, data analysis, and cognate conceptual analysis, and confront the multifaceted ethical questions about data collection, analysis, and publication.

Free to all – doctoral candidates, faculty members, policy-makers, and the general public, the workshop will last half a day. The introduction will set the tone for the day, paving the way for a second section of trouble shooting characterised by an active Q and A session. This leads to the third and final session on what we mean by ‘data’ in our current age, characterised by multiple unknowns and multiple insecurities. Our emphasis will include how to carry out development, ‘scientifically’ solid development research, without losing sight of the politics of data.

The guests of honour at the workshop are Professors Dan Brockington (University of Sheffield, UK) and Anja Nygren (University of Helsinki, Finland). The workshop is organised by the FSDR with support from UniPID.

 If you are a doctoral candidate, travelling to the DocShop and Development Days from within Finland but outside of the metropolitan region, you can apply for a travel grant (max. 170 €) to cover your travel and accommodation costs during the conference. Deadline for applications is 13 February 2020.

Please send your application to Franklin Obeng-Odoom by email: franklin.obeng-odoom[at]helsinki.fi


In the selection of the grantees, priority will be  given to PhD candidates, who in addition to DocShop, (a) will also participate in the Development Days 2020 Conference and (b) Have been accepted to and will present a paper in the Development Days 2020 Conference.

The purpose of the grant is to cover part of the travel and/or accommodation costs of the participants travelling from within Finland but outside of the metropolitan region. The maximum grant is 170 €. However, the size of the grant depends on the total amount of eligible/priority applicants, the demonstrated needs of applicants, and  the quality of abstracts. Please note that only the most affordable transportation and basic accommodation can be considered as a basis for the estimate.

The grant will be paid by reimbursement on the basis of a travel claim supported by original receipts. The pre-filled travel claim forms will be given to the grantees in the event.

The application period will end on Thursday, 13 February. The outcome of the application will be announced by Wednesday,  19 February.

For inquiries, please contact: Franklin Obeng-Odoom, email: franklin.obeng-odoom[at]helsinki.fi

Workshop Programme

9:00 – 9:15 am Opening Remarks
9:15 – 10:15 am Trouble Shooting
10:15 – 10:30 am Coffee break
10:30 – 11:50 am What we mean by Data in an Age of Multiple Unknowns
11:50 – 12 noon Closing Remarks 

Recommended Readings:

  • Jerven, Morten 2016. Africa by numbers: Reviewing the database approach to studying African economies. African Affairs 115(459): 342-358. DOI: 10.1093/afraf/adw006
  • Johnston, Deborah and Abreu, Alexandre 2016. The asset debates: How (not) to use asset indices to measure well-being and the middle class in Africa. African Affairs 115(460): 399-418. DOI: 10.1093/afraf/adw019
  • Brockington, Dan 2019. Persistent peasant poverty and assets. Exploring dynamics of new forms of wealth and poverty in Tanzania 1999–2018, The Journal of Peasant Studies, DOI: 10.1080/03066150.2019.1658081

If you cannot access these readings, please, contact Anja Nygren (anja.nygren[at]helsinki.fi) and she will send them to you by email.



CALL FOR APPLICATIONS:  Maastricht University tenure-track Assistant Professor position in Globalisation and Development:

Due date: 06.02.2020




CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: Postdoc Academy for Transformational Leadership

06 Oct, 2020 – 17 Mar, 2022

The call for applications for the third cohort of the Postdoc Academy for Transformational Leadership is now open!  This year’s call focuses on land use practices in a developing world – addressing scholars with an interest in transforming land use practices in a globalised world towards sustainability. Apply now!

The Postdoc Academy for Transformational Leadership is a joint project of the Robert Bosch Stiftung and the four academic centers Humboldt-Universität zu BerlinLeuphana University of LüneburgStockholm Resilience Centre and DRIFT, Rotterdam. It offers a unique program that trains the next generation of leaders in sustainability research affiliated with a European research institution.

With this year’s focus topic Land Use Practices, the program provides an intensive high-end training with four seminars in two years. The seminars broaden the research competencies of postdocs and promote their qualifications towards transdisciplinary leadership. The program also offers seed funding (e.g. for stakeholder meetings or proposal writing activities) to groups of participants planning to initiate research collaborations. Furthermore, an active network of current and former participants of the program will be established.

For who?
The program is aimed at postdocs from across Europe who want to make an impact on the transformation towards a sustainable society and advance the complementarity of natural science, social sciences and the humanities by means of their research. They should consider themselves intrapreneurs, who act responsibly and initiate positive changes and innovation within their institutions and strive for an academic leadership position in the future. In addition to excellent English language skills and experience with inter- and transdisciplinary collaborative research, their research topic must align with this year’s focus perspective on Land Use Practices.

We invite applications of postdoctoral scholars, who already conduct research on sustainability issues in the broadest sense; who work on inter- and transdisciplinary research or see why this would be useful to address sustainability issues; and who have an interest in transforming land use practices in a globalised world towards sustainability. The Academy explores through the four seminars what kind of science this will require and what this kind of science will require from the people who will shape it. How does transdisciplinary research on land use practices fit within different research institutions? How do different disciplinary lenses approach the challenges of cross-scale interdependencies of interventions in land-use patterns? How can the future governance of land use look like? What is this type of transdisciplinary research of land use doing to my academic career? Do I have the right skills already to lead a group in this direction? Do I know people across Europe who can help me develop those skills and build networks for future projects?

For a short impression take a look at this video-story.

What can you expect?
Each year the PostDoc academy recruits a select number of participants to take part in a 2 year ‘course run’ with an overarching theme. A course run consists of four seminars (three full days each) over a period of two years. Each seminar will take place at one of the four academic centres and focus on their respective expertise. The seminars build on each other and are complementary. They are linked by four thematic modules that create an overarching framework:

Timing & location
A course run consists of four seminars (three full days each) over a period of two years. Each seminar will take place at one of the four academic centres and focus on their respective expertise. Details for the first course run are:

  • 1st seminar from 6th to 8th October 2020 at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin/ Germany
  • 2nd seminar from 9th to 11th February 2021 at the Leuphana University of Lüneburg/ Germany
  • 3rd seminar from 12th to 14th October 2021 at the Stockholm Resilience Centre/ Sweden
  • 4th seminar from 15th March to 17th March 2022 at the Dutch Research Institute for Transitions (DRIFT) in Rotterdam/ The Netherlands

You can apply to the third course run of the Academy via the online application form on the website of the Robert Bosch Stiftung until the 16th of February 2020.

In order to view the application form and apply you will need to register on the online platform. Once registered you can work on your application. Please safe regularly. If your application is considered successful in the first stage, you will be invited to an assessment workshop.

For more information please visit the website of the Robert Bosch Stiftung.













CALL FOR APPLICATIONS – Recruitment of a Finnish Junior Expert for bilateral water project in Nepal

Due date: 05.02.2020

The Rural Village Water Resources Management Project (RVWRMP, https://www.rvwrmp.org.np/) is a bilateral project funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, the European Union, the Government of Nepal, local governments of the Provinces Sudurpashchim (Far-West) and Karnali, and water users. FCG International Oy is an international, multidisciplinary consultancy company with headquarters in Helsinki, Finland, providing Technical Assistance to RVWRMP.

Currently RVWRMP is looking for a Finnish Junior Expert (also known as a Field Specialist, FS) to work in programme area in Nepal for two years, to start in April 2020. The FS will work in close collaboration with the International and National TA staff. The requirements and duties of the FS are defined below. They must be a Finnish citizen, below 35 years of age, with a Master’s degree in a relevant field and some professional experience.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland (MFA) supports opportunities for young professionals to be included in development programmes and projects. The purpose is to ensure that Finland and the partner country will have professionals with relevant international experiences for future expert and management assignments in development and international cooperation.

The job description is somewhat open, and will depend to some extent on the skills and interests of the FS. The CTA, the Field Specialist and the Home Office Coordinator will formulate a written job description that corresponds with the Field Specialist’s professional background. It will contain tasks that the FS can be responsible for, and gives him/her an opportunity to learn and contribute to various aspects of the Project.

It is important to note that this is a remote placement, with difficult living conditions. As such, it is not an easy family posting.

Title: Finnish Field Specialist

Duty station:   Project Support office (PSU) in Dadeldhura, Sudurpashchim Province, with frequent travel to Project municipalities.

Duration:      April 2020 – March 2022

Academic qualifications:

  • Master’s degree in from a field relevant to water or rural development, preferably Engineering, Social Sciences, Environmental Management, Agriculture or other relevant discipline

Professional Experience

  • Work experience in water supply, sanitation, rural development, rural infrastructure, livelihoods development or renewable energy
  • Some experience in monitoring and evaluation and reporting

Other Skills

  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Fluency in written and spoken English and Finnish
  • Keen interest in international development cooperation and a wish to pursue a career within the sector
  • Self-motivated, independent, good organisational skills
  • Ability to work and communicate in a multi-sector team and across cultural and gender divides
  • Ability to work and live in remote areas, and travel in the field
  • Facilitation and good communication skills
  • Good computer skills (MS Office)
  • Good financial management skills and reporting skills
  • Experience in production of printed and/or audio-visual information materials and web-based tools/ websites is appreciated;
  • Experience in development cooperation projects/programmes and work, and from living in developing countries would be appreciated;
  • Strong sense of discipline and high moral conduct.


The project encourages a learning-by-doing approach, where the Field Specialist is given tasks and then supported in their implementation. The Field Specialist will be paired up with the various PSU Specialists to learn each of their sector activities. The Field Specialist is also encouraged to travel widely in the project area.

The Field Specialist will participate broadly the activities of different results areas of the project, under the close guidance of the Team Leader. While the major part of the training will come through learning-by-doing together with the national long-term experts, district stakeholders and communities, the Field Specialist will also actively attend and represent the project in national level events and conferences, and analyse data & lessons learned for the progress reports. This will build analytical skills with regards how to measure impacts and identify results. As a member secretary of the Project Management Team, the Field Specialist will get experience in project management decision-making. The FS will also be directly involved in project financial management, administrative practices and related reporting under the direct supervision of the Team Leader.

We anticipate that specific areas of work for the Field Specialist will be the communication policy, social media and visibility, IT based monitoring systems, and assisting the Team Leader in the reporting. These are tasks which the Field Specialist can undertake immediately without the knowledge of the Nepali language.

Once the FS has settled in, they will participate in more of the field tasks, under the guidance of the PSU specialists. There the Field Specialist will gain in depth knowledge of:

  • Technical aspects of water supply construction in the mountainous conditions, and specific disaster resilient structural design;
  • Aspects of the programme management in a multi-sectoral and dispersed programme such as RVWRMP. These include among other things:

o  institutional structures of the local government;

o  dialogue, division of labour between the project and the local government officials, private sector and beneficiary organizations;

o  oversight and monitoring mechanisms;

o  social media involvement, such as website updating and social media (instagram and twitter) management;

o  planning and budgeting mechanisms on different level.

  • Issues of gender equality and social inclusion. The Field Specialist will could participate in project activities directly targeted to women and disadvantaged groups, such as rural municipality level gender based budgeting training and follow up of the activities focused on achieving gender equality funded at the municipality level.
  • Climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction activities are highly relevant, if the FS has interest
  • Participate in field monitoring to provide intensive “on-the-job” training to all parties involved in M&E activities.
  • Assist in the operation and further development of the Project level Monitoring system.
  • Liaise with the Finnish Embassy, the Finnish funded projects and NGOs and other actors in water resources management in Nepal.

Please send your application (including a letter of introduction and explanation of how you feel you would suit the post, plus your CV) by 5th February

  • Pamela White, Home Office Project Coordinator (white@fcg.fi)