Resilience of human interactions with new landscapes

As human populations have settled landscapes in the past, they have changed the vegetation and surface characteristics in ways that have often led to a change in the stability of those landscapes (Wainwright, 2015).  There is thus a paradox to be resolved in that landscape settlement usually produces a landscape that is less resilient and thus less able to support settlement.  This project will investigate this paradox, and look at different ways in which past populations have overcome it, in order to suggest ways in which environmental management of future landscapes might best be carried out, for example as people move as a result of climate change.


  1. To evaluate the ways in which changing types of settlement affect environmental resilience by the application agent-based models in coupled social-environmental systems;
  2. To use multi-level social network analysis as well as social-environment network analysis to evaluate the resilience of emergent social and social-environment structures in various human settlements of new environments;
  3. To look at different mappings of and understandings of environment-culture interactions.

Expected Results

  1. Understanding how self-organization in coupled social-environmental systems changes landscape resilience as a consequence of changing connectivity;
  2. providing a broader understanding of how population resilience can be interpreted;
  3. understanding how environmental change as a result of ongoing population flows (e.g. refugee migration) might be managed;
  4. suggestions of techniques for managing environmental resilience under external forcing;
  5. transfer of network modelling ideas across social science and neuroscience in both directions. The project will use simulated data generated from the modelling and compare them with spatial settlement and population data from existing datasets.

Marie Sklodowska-Curie PhDs are paid a competitive gross salary of 3,270 € per month, adjusted for their host country, a Mobility Allowance of 600 € per month and, for researchers who have a family, a Family Allowance of 500 € per month. All amounts are subject to employers and employees deductions and taxes.

Family is defined as persons linked to the researcher by (i) marriage, or (ii) a relationship with equivalent status to a marriage recognised by the national legislation of the country of the beneficiary or of nationality of the researcher, or (iii) dependent children who are actually being maintained by the researcher; family status is determined at recruitment and does not evolve.

ESRs will also get access to funds covering Research, Networking and Training costs. ESRs will also be enrolled for PhD studies at institutions which are part of the consortium. Funding will cover the entire 36-month period. In addition to individual scientific projects, all fellows will benefit from further continuing education, which includes internships and secondments, a variety of training modules as well as transferable skills courses and active participation in workshops and conferences.

Eligibility criteria
To satisfy the eligibility requirements set for an Early Stage Researcher funded by Marie Skłodowska-Curie and you must be eligible to be appointed as an Early Stage Researcher:

Should have — at the date of recruitment — less than 4 years of a research career, and not have a doctoral degree. The 4 years are measured from the date when they obtained the degree which would formally entitle them to embark on a PhD, either in the country where the degree was obtained or in the country where the PhD is provided.
Trans-national mobility: The applicant — at the date of recruitment— should not have resided in the country where the research training takes place for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to recruitment, and not have carried out their main activity (work ,studies, etc.) in that country. For refugees under the Geneva Convention (1951 Refugee Convention and the 1967 Protocol), the refugee procedure (i.e. before refugee status is conferred) will not be counted as ‘period of residence/activity in the country of the beneficiary’.
Satisfy the eligibility requirements to enrol on a PhD degree. This includes acceptable English language requirements if English is not your first language.

Selection process
All applications are to be submitted via the hosting institution.

Applications must include the following:

A copy of your CV
Degree transcripts
A motivation letter
Names of 2 referees

Please indicate in your motivation letter if you are interested in being considered for any of the other PhD positions in our network (and if you give us permission to share your application with the host of that project).

Other Positions in Resilience

ESR 10

University of Vienna (Austria)

Hotspots and hot moments: the role of connectivity and resilience science for managing human-impacted catchment systems

ESR 13

Durham University (United Kingdom)

Resilience of human interactions with new landscapes


BOKU (Austria)

Changing connectivity properties impacting resilience in riverine landscapes as socio-ecological systems