The Department of Ecology combines research in basic ecology with applied research in nature conservation, wildlife management, forestry and crop protection. Much of its research is interdisciplinary and increasingly concerns citizen science, an approach and research focus SLU (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences) expands and invests in. The current post capitalises on this development and explores how technological and organisational innovations have shaped citizen science as a communal activity in the context of biological recording and environmental change.

Project description:

Bird watching is a highly popular citizen science activity with a long history. Citizen science activities of this kind are increasingly channelled through digital platforms, which prove effective in mobilising and enabling citizen science communities across the world. As a result, communities of birdwatchers can be larger and more widespread. One of the intentions of such platforms is to provide others with access to an expert community and that this would enable deeper and more meaningful interactions with the natural world, i.e. for citizen scientists to become environmental citizens as they gain scientific expertise. But does it? This research will explore how technological and organisational innovations, such as eBird and iNaturalist, shape citizen science as a communal activity: What does it mean to be a platform? How do they shape the science and the citizen? How does ‘the social’ feature? The work will provide the successful candidate with an ideal opportunity to develop inter- and transdisciplinary research capacity in the context of environmental citizen science – a rapidly expanding field of research and application.

This PostDoc opportunity is part of a EU H2020-funded international project, named EnviroCitizen, with partners from Norway, Estonia, Cyprus, Romania, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden. The EnviroCitizen project is based in the environmental humanities and aims to find ways for the citizen science of the future to take the citizen part as serious as the science part. For this, it focusses on birdwatching and the potential this may bring for cultivating green engagement.


We are looking for a highly motivated applicant who holds a PhD degree in the social sciences, humanities or relevant interdisciplinary field of research (e.g. science and technology studies, human-computer-interaction studies) and is familiar with ‘biological recording’, through formal study (degree in e.g. ecology, conservation science) or own pursuit (e.g. bird inventories). Experience with interviewing, qualitative data analysis and the ability to conceptualise are required, as is good communication (written and spoken) in English. Being able to handle web-based material qualitatively (e.g. webnography) or quantitatively is an advantage. Good interpersonal skills, creativity, good teamwork, independence, strong work ethic and cultural sensitivity are valued. Selection of qualified applicants will be based on the written application (in English) including a curriculum vitae and personal references; selected candidates will be subject to an interview. Preference will be given to candidates who have been awarded their PhD degree no more than three years before the application deadline. The application should be prepared in English and include a description (of up to one A4) why you apply for the project. Please include the names and contact details of three referees in your application.

Place of work:

SLU Uppsala, Sweden

Type of Employment:

Fixed term employment of 24 months.

Percentage of Employment:


Starting Date:

By agreement, though ideally at the very start of 2021.


We welcome your application no later than 2020-11-01. 

The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) develops the understanding and sustainable use and management of biological natural resources. The university ranks well internationally within its subject areas. SLU is a research-intensive university that also offers unique degree programmes in for example rural development and natural resource management, environmental economics, animal science and landscape architecture.

SLU has just over 3,000 employees, 5,000 students and a turnover of SEK 3 billion. The university has invested heavily in a modern, attractive environment on its campuses in Alnarp, Umeå and Uppsala.

SLU is an equal opportunity employer.

Contact person

René van der Wal


+44 7875 907 602