The first Hoffmann Fellow position for the Luc Hoffmann Institute is now open for applications. You can download the official job add HERE. For those wanting to know a bit more about the Luc Hoffmann Institute, take a look at my previous post, here, where I described my decision to take the position of Director. When we launch the Institute, we will put everything on our website (mission, structures, position announcements, how get involved etc). However, until that is finalized, I have supplemented my previous post with a basic sketch of the motivation and objectives of the Institute, and a bit more about the Hoffmann Fellows Program, below. This is intended primarily for people thinking about the job posting and wanting a bit more context.
From a motivation perspective, its pretty clear that we have a lot of fairly complicated issues in front us. With 7+ billion people on this planet, and all of our complex, perfectly reasonable, and less than complimentary goals for material prosperity and ecosystem stability, long healthy diverse lives and healthy diverse ecosystems, good food and clean water, security, biodiversity, and predictability, things get pretty complicated. Our collective capacity to move through the next 5, 10, 1oo years with equity and responsibility, and our capacity to shift rapidly to a platform of true sustainability, will depends in part on our capacity for effective collaboration and in part on our willingness to focus on the work that is most likely to move us forward. There is a lot we can know about the world, but if we focus on the really sticky questions surrounding our capacity to live sustainably on this planet, and we do this in a way that makes the most of our diverse talents, we will likely make a lot more progress than if we continue running our own races, marching to the beat of our own drummers. Its easy to talk about the need to focus on “important research”, but its not a simple prospect for most of us. When we talk about humanity in its totality and we consider the scale and complexity of the issues we need to grapple with, it’s clear we need some pretty wide ranging collaborative efforts. Efforts that walk between disciplines, and between academics, civil society organizations, and the public and private sectors. These are not simple to organize or sustain, there are differences in cultures, incentives and goals, and when I was inside an academic institution, I found few clear pathways for creating and sustaining these collaborative efforts, and even fewer signposts for identifying the research and synthesis that will deliver the largest benefits for ongoing work in conservation and sustainability.
The Luc Hoffman Institute seeks to fill these needs. We will bring research and synthesis together across disciplines, geographies and institutional cultures, focus that work on critical question sets and themes standing in the way of progress on sustainability and conservation, and accelerate the work so that it is completed at the speed at which policy decisions are made. We are situated within WWF, among the world’s largest conservation organizations, and yet we are very much a boundary organization, working between civil society and academic research capacity. Much of our work will focus on organizing and supporting collaborative research, synthesis and implementation on specific themes. We are also taking a longer view, working to support global scientists who thrive in collaborative settings and are committed to maximizing the impact and the uptake of their work.
Hoffmann Fellows will play major roles in all our work. Hoffmann Fellow Positions are interdisciplinary post-doctoral positions focused on collaborative research and synthesis. Calls for Hoffmann Fellows will often be made with a specific disciplinary focus, they will often have both an academic and a practitioner mentor, and they may be based in any number of locations, depending on the associated project and need. All Hoffmann Fellows will work with a wide range of academics and practitioners in a variety of collaborative frameworks. Their work will often cross disciplines and institutional cultures and we will work to make sure their work is consistently focused on high-impact conservation research and synthesis. This particular Hoffmann Fellow position will be based in Gland, Switzerland, and the position will work closely with the Hoffmann Institute Director (me) and the core staff as they come on board. This position will involve travel, and time will likely be split between a range of existing research projects I have ongoing from my previous life as an academic, the development of new research, and direct involvement with the collaborative groups that will come together around research and synthesis questions. In a nutshell, this is an opportunity to be embedded at the center of one of the largest global conservation organizations, to work on a wide range of conservation science with direct impacts on practice and policy, and to join a diverse, tight-knit team focused on lowering the barriers to collaboration across disciplines and institutions. We anticipate we will have between 4 and 7 Hoffmann Fellows working on a diverse set of topics at any one time, and while these fellows will be working across the globe, they will also be a team, and we will bring the Hoffmann Fellows together for periodic intensive training courses, networking events, and collaborative research.
To stay in touch about progress on the Institute, the Hoffmann Fellows Program, and all things related, follow me on Twitter, or check in here. I will migrate all of this to the Institute Web Site when we launch.