Research Fellow in Asia Research Institute (CESEA)

13 Jan 2023
End of advertisement period
12 Feb 2023
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time


The Asia Research Institute (ARI), National University of Singapore (NUS), invites applications for THREE full-time Research Fellows to work on a major research project funded by the Social Sciences Research Council (SSRC) Singapore, under its Thematic Grant programme, entitled Climate Governance of Nature-based Carbon Sinks in Southeast Asia. The position is available on a full-time basis for two years in the first instance, but extendable for a further two years, pending review (up to four years in total).


This project places social sciences scholarship at the core of climate governance strategies involving Nature-based Carbon Sinks (NCS), defined as ecosystems that absorb and store more carbon than they release. The geographical focus of the project is on Southeast Asia, a region rich in carbon sequestration potential where the socio-spatial relations, economic realities and land use regimes that underpin the medium to long-term effectiveness of NCS in mitigating climate change remain critically understudied. The project aims to strengthen linkages between the natural and social sciences by assessing the optimal arrangements for governing NCS at and across a range of spatial and administrative scales. With its focus on the governance of different types of NCS found in terrestrial and mangrove forests, peatlands and agricultural soils, the project will locate technologies of NCS governance within the socio-spatial contexts, power asymmetries and institutional cultures that shape their success or failure. In these ways, this policy relevant research will contribute to ongoing efforts by Singapore and other ASEAN countries to adapt and build resilience to climate change challenges by developing low-carbon initiatives with social, economic and environmental co-benefits.

The successful candidates recruited as Research Fellows will join a large multi-disciplinary research team that also includes a Senior Research Fellow and Research Associate and three PhD students funded through the same project. Opportunities also exist for student (part-time) research assistants.


The project will employ three Research Fellows, one for each of three empirical work packages (WPs) that are central to the overall research project: 

  • WP1: Terrestrial forests: WP1 aims to increase knowledge of effective and inclusive governance regimes for aboveground forest carbon stocks found in Southeast Asia. It focuses on the governance of: (a) intact forests as net GHG sinks; and (b) damaged and degraded forests where targeted reforestation interventions are planned, underway or completed.
  • WP2: Blue and Teal Carbon: WP2 aims to safeguard Southeast Asia’s coastlines against climate change threats and impacts by increasing knowledge about the optimal arrangements for governing two types of aquatic carbon sinks: (1) blue carbon stocks found in mangroves, saltmarshes, seagrasses and tidally influenced freshwater wetlands; and (2) teal carbon found in non-tidal freshwater ecosystems that are rich in fluvial and lacustrine carbon stocks.
  • WP3: Soil Carbon: WP3 has two foci on the climate governance of: (1) peatlands; and (2) non-peat (mineral) urban soils. The research component on low-carbon governance in peatlands connects to Singapore’s national interest of promoting sustainable peatland development in neighbouring countries to limit biomass burning that contributes substantially to transboundary haze pollution and GHG emissions. The non-peat, urban soil component involves citizen Science with a Singaporean non-for-profit organisation invested in urban composting and food security.

The three Research Fellows will lead the research undertaken in each of the themed WPs. Successful applicants will have a record of publication in widely-regarded outlets and be expected to publish project-focused articles in international journals with high impact. They will also each organise one WP-themed panel and present research findings at international conferences. Successful applicants will provide mentorship and contribute to the development of PhD students funded through the project and attached to each of the three WPs.

The appointed Research Fellows will join an international team of researchers. In addition to activities associated with ARI, they may wish to participate in research group meetings and departmental seminars in the Department of Geography and the Centre for Nature-Based Climate Solutions (CNCS) at NUS.


The appointed Research Fellows will hold a PhD (or be waiting conferment) in an area of the social or natural sciences that is relevant to one of these three WPs. For WP1, the appointed Research Fellow will ideally bring knowledge, expertise and networks about forest governance (for example, REDD+ programs or other low-carbon activities linked to afforestation or reforestation, the governance of land use change and/or community-based management of forest resources). For WP2, the appointed Research Fellow will ideally have research experience relating to the governance of blue or teal carbon sinks, community management of coastlines and coastal resources and/or experience of innovations in the development of NETs for aquatic environments. The Research Fellow attached to WP3 will undertake research on governing carbon stocks in peatlands or agricultural soils, and will ideally have relevant experience of research in this field. All three Research Fellows will preferably have experience of carrying out research in Asia, although this is not essential.


  1. Contract commencing on 1 April 2023 or as soon as possible thereafter for an initial period of 24 months, renewable on satisfactory review for up to a further two years, pending performance review (four years in total).
  2. A competitive salary and excellent working environment.
  3. All salary and benefits-in-kind are subject to taxation in accordance with Singaporean tax laws.
  4. Other benefits that NUS provides and information about living and working in Singapore are available at

*Terms and conditions, according to university guidelines, are subject to change without prior notice.


To apply for this position, please combine the following documents in 1 PDF and attach it under the CV column when submitting your application:

  • Letter of application 
  • Full Curriculum vitae, including the names of three referees who would be prepared to provide confidential references.
  • Academic certificates and transcripts.
  • A write-up, of no more than 800 words, explaining the candidate’s past research experience and aptitude in relation to the research project.

For further enquiries about the positions, please contact Dr. Michelle Miller:

Evaluation of applications will commence in August 2022 and will continue until a suitable candidate is found. Shortlisted candidates will be notified soon thereafter and called for an online (zoom) or in-person interview, as appropriate.


At NUS, the health and safety of our staff and students are one of our utmost priorities, and COVID-vaccination supports our commitment to ensure the safety of our community and to make NUS as safe and welcoming as possible. Many of our roles require a significant amount of physical interactions with students/staff/public members. Even for job roles that may be performed remotely, there will be instances where on-campus presence is required.

Taking into consideration the health and well-being of our staff and students and to better protect everyone in the campus, applicants are strongly encouraged to have themselves fully COVID-19 vaccinated to secure successful employment with NUS.


Location: Kent Ridge Campus
Organization: Asia Research Institute
Department : Research
Job requisition ID : 17509

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