Open positions

PhD Position in Soil Health and Pastoral Grassland Ecology

We are recruiting a PhD student to study the soil health and ecosystem ecology of pastoral agroecosystems in the French Pyrenees as part of an US NSF-funded project. The student will be enrolled at the University of Georgia, USA but will spend significant field time in the French Pyrenees and be co-advised by Rebecca McCulley (U Kentucky) and Aaron Thompson (U Georgia). The project uses transdisciplinary approaches (co-production of knowledge with farmers and other stakeholders) to understand and predict how climate, policy, and social change will impact the socioecological system of pastoralism that is deeply rooted in Basque culture. This student will work as part of an interdisciplinary team of social and natural scientists from the US, France, and Spain. The student’s primary responsibilities will be quantifying soil and plant ecosystem health and stocks across a range of active and abandoned pastures. The student will also be expected to assist and co-train in social science data collection and interact with climate/agroecosystem modelers.

Desired qualifications include experience with a variety of soil and plant measurements, knowledge of and interest in pastoral systems, strong statistical, oral and written communication skills, demonstrated effectiveness working in diverse teams and independently, experience conducting remote field work, an MS degree in a related field of study, and proficiency in French. To learn more about our research groups, please visit and

We hope to select an applicant through an advanced review process so that an official application can be submitted through the UGA graduate school ( by January 1, 2023, but at the latest by April 2023 for admission in Fall 2023. Interested candidates should send their CV and a cover letter to Aaron Thompson ( with PASTORAL PhD in the subject line as soon as possible.

The successful student will receive a competitive stipend for up to 5 years along with a tuition wavier. Athens, Georgia is a quirky, music-centric town in the Piedmont of the Appalachian Mountains with ample outdoor activities and a mild winter climate. Summers will be spent in the French Pyrenees. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Postdoctoral Research Associate - Climate, Policy, and the Sustainability of the Basque Socio-Environmental System

We seek a French-speaking social scientist for innovative, participatory, and transdisciplinary research examining the future of Basque farming in the context of cultural, policy, and climate change. Our hiring timeline is flexible between late spring 2023 and early summer 2024, so we invite applicants who have PhD in hand or who will complete their PhDs within the next year.

Basque pastoralists have been full partners in the design and development of this project since its inception, and we seek a postdoc who shares our commitment to knowledge co-production. Together, farmers and scholars have outlined two primary research objectives: 1) characterize the existing Basque pastoral socio-environmental system (SES), and 2) analyze and model future changes in the system by integrating long term socio-environmental data with climate and policy forecasts. The research team includes scholars from the University of Georgia, Appalachian State University, the University of Kentucky, the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), and the Basque Center for Climate Change (BC3), as well as a steering committee of farmers and food system advocates.

The Postdoctoral Research Associate will be primarily responsible for ethnographic research in the French Basque province of Soule, including semi-structured interviews and participant observation with Basque farmers and at public events. This position will also include travel across France to interview policymakers and agricultural, environmental, and energy policy advocates. The postdoc will live in Soule for approximately 8 months per year and in Athens, GA for 4 months. The initial appointment will be for one year, with possibility of renewal up to a total of three years, with satisfactory performance. The postdoc will be supervised and mentored by Meredith Welch-Devine, Jennifer Thompson, and Brian Burke.

Required qualifications include a PhD in anthropology, geography, sociology, or other relevant social science field, strong qualitative research skills, and demonstrated ability to work effectively in teams. Candidates must have effective oral communication skills and be able to write clearly, professionally, and persuasively.

Applications must be submitted through the UGA Jobs portal. Required materials include a cover letter, CV, research statement, writing sample, and names of three references. Review of applications will begin January 15, 2023 and will continue until the position is filled. Please direct any inquiries about the position or project to Dr. Meredith Welch-Devine (