PhD Assistantship: Human Dimensions of Reducing Seafood Supply Chain Waste – Arizona State University, School for the Future of Innovation in Society (Tempe, AZ)

ASU PhD Position: Human Dimensions of Reducing Waste in the Seafood Supply Chain

The Jenkins Research Team in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society (SFIS) at Arizona State University is seeking to fill a graduate research assistantship position for a funded PhD student. The student must remain regularly enrolled in SFIS’ PhD Program in Human and Social Dimensions (HSD) of Science and Technology, and take 6 non-audit credit hours during each semester of the assistantship. The assistantship comes with three academic years (9 months, excluding summer) of support beginning in Fall 2018. The project is entitled: Infews/T3: Reducing Resource Use at the Seafood-Energy-Water Nexus: Focus on Efficient Production and Waste Reduction. The goal of this innovative project is to develop solutions to reduce waste (energy, water, sea life, etc.) in the U.S. seafood supply chain. The grant supporting this research is funded through a partnership between the National Science Foundation and U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. To apply, please send a 1-page cover letter, CV, and two letters of reference to Dr. Lekelia Jenkins: and cc Dr. Jesse Senko by November 9, 2017. The coverletter should address 1) why you are interested in this research; 2) why SFIS and ASU is an appropriate place for you to do a PhD; and 3) your academic and professional qualifications for the position. Your CV should include your academic and professional history, include degrees, GPAs, GRE scores, and any publications, presentations, or awards.


Overall Project Description

This research project focuses on the global food-energy-water systems shaping the U.S. seafood supply, including seafood with international origins. While the U.S. government advises doubling seafood consumption for nutritional reasons, many wild caught seafood stocks are depleted. Meeting seafood demand by further expanding aquaculture requires substantial energy and water use. Meanwhile, the United States wastes nearly half of its seafood supply. This research is motivated by the fact that inefficient resource use and waste place unnecessary strain on water, energy, and other resources. A multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional research team will examine intersections and feedback between physical processes such as harvest, transport and cold storage; natural processes such as changing aquatic conditions; biological processes such as animal growth; social and behavioral processes such as government, industry, and consumer decisions; and cyber-components such as product traceability and computation/visualization for decision-making.


Position Description

The PhD student will work with the social science team to conduct case studies that characterize major seafood/aquaculture supply chains in the United States and abroad, examine existing waste reduction strategies, and explore options for new strategies with an emphasis on feasibility and acceptability from a socio-cultural perspective. Potential duties include: 1) preparing research instruments; 2) conducting interviews and reviewing documents; 3) coding and analyzing data; 4) preparation of peer-reviewed journal articles; 5) literature reviews; and 6) other administrative and research tasks relevant to the project. The PhD student will be required to do his/her thesis on some aspect of this project with freedom to define his/her own research niche. The PhD student will be required to be first-author on at least one paper resulting from this project.


Qualified individuals will possess many of the following knowledge, characteristics, and skills:

·        A bachelors degree in sociology; anthropology; science, technology, and society; environmental studies; conservation science or another relevant fields;

·        Interest (and ideally experience) in sustainable seafood, aquaculture, and/or fisheries research;

·        Expertise in social science research, especially qualitative research methods, preferred (or a strong desire to learn)

·        Good writing skills;

·        Basic computer skills, including proficiency in Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, and Word;

·        Experience with research software (or willingness to learn), including Endnote and MAXQDA;

·        Organized, self-motivated, problem-solver who is easy to work with.