Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

MSCA-COFUND-CLEAR-Doc - PhD Position #CD21-09: Enhancing urban resilience capacity by multifunctional urban edible areas - Focus on the nexus Food Water Soil

This job offer has expired

    Université Gustave Eiffel
    Environmental science
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    21/03/2022 17:00 - Europe/Brussels
    France › Bouguenais Nantes
    H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions COFUND


Whether it is commercialised, family or community production, of edible or non-edible products, hydroponic or in the open field, in the private or public sphere, urban agriculture is revealed throughout the world in various forms (Ellis and Sumberg, 1998). In European and North American cities, following on from the allotments of the early 20th century, non-commercial food production in private or public spaces has been growing considerably over the last forty years. In cities in Southeast-Asia, the spatial dynamics induce strong competition for the various uses of land. However, as a component of households’ livelihoods, urban agriculture plays a specific role in food-securitization strategies, especially for low-income households by reducing their food vulnerability in both short- and long-term (Pulliat, 2015).

Today, urban gardening projects are complex, social, technical and political projects (Vandenbroucke et al., 2017), integrating a strong environmental dimension (a priori healthy food, integration of spaces into green and blue corridors, freshness spaces, environmental-friendly practices....). This environmental dimension is at the heart of studies on the Food, Energy, Water nexus, at the local or district level. The social and cultural dimensions of these activities have also recently led to the proposal of an additional 'people' dimension to the FEW nexus (Caputo et al., 2021).

However, the most used nexus rarely integrates the soil or the crop support as such. Water management (quantity and quality) in these multifunctional spaces is neither integrated in the urban planning projects, except in an ad hoc and therefore technical way. However, in view of the climate change (IPCC, 2021), and the food needs of populations in the event of a crisis such as we experience with the COVID pandemy, a shift from 'nexus thinking' to 'nexus doing' integrating better urban planning and resources management for edible areas seems a promising way to increase the resilience of urban agriculture (Simpson and Jewitt, 2019).

The cross-approach between water and soil is very rarely put forward in urban planning practices for the development of food crops (except for the production in greenhouses) . The scientific literature on the quality of soils dedicated to urban food growing is rich, but mainly targeted at developed countries, and rarely associated with a consideration of irrigation water in terms of quantity and quality. Moreover, in many countries, the issue of water in relation to edible areas concerns not only irrigation, but also flooding.

Moreover, while the impact of climate change on urban thermal comfort has been the focus of significant resources for several years, the impact of climate change on the possibilities of maintaining and developing urban gardening is not directly addressed. Two major problems that are highly dependent on soil and climate conditions are emerging in the context of the food-water soil nexus. The first problem concerns the supply of water in terms of quantity, in the current context and with regard to future : scarcity in the resource, but also flooding. The second issue concerns the quality of water and soil (or crop support material) in order to ensure the sanitary quality of food production.

In order to contribute to the maintenance and development of sustainable and resilient edible areas in the face of climate change impacts, the objective of the thesis, based on a socio-technical approach, aims to answer two questions: 1) can we identify technical systems and practices that are sustainable and resilient with regard to the current management of water and soil in urban gardening in different pedo-climatic contexts; 2) on the basis of scenarios of climatic evolution and data on the quality of the environment, is it possible to propose, models for the development of sustainable edible areas?

The work will include at first a phase of collection and analysis of nexus solutions food-water-soil in edible areas at the international level, to explore actions in different geographical and pedoclimatic conditions. The work will provide an analytical framework, integrating the weights placed on the components of the nexus and the determinants of its implementation. It will be possible to examine gardening development criteria such as the agronomic quality of the soil, the risk of contamination of harvested products or the implementation of environmentally friendly and efficient practices from a production point of view.

Two study areas will then be selected in Nantes (France) and Ho Chi Minh city (Vietnam), according to criteria such as urban form, social level, density, green/blue infrastructure, etc. Depending on the availability of soil and water resources, scenarios for the development of edible areas will be proposed. The role of actors in a sustainable development will be integrated in the analysis from a FEWP nexus perspective. The implementation of the scenarios will be carried out from an environmental perspective, but urban planning, social or economic dimensions could also be explored, as components of urban resilience.

International Mobility:

This thesis will be in cosupervision (cotutelle) with the Vietnamese German University (Vietnam). International secondments are also considered with CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute (New York) and Canada. For more information; contact the PhD thesis supervisor.

More Information


  • High-quality doctoral training rewarded by a PhD degree, delivered by Université Gustave Eiffel
  • Access to cutting-edge infrastructures for research & innovation.
  • Appointment for a period of 36 months based on a salary of 2 700 € (gross salary per month).
  • Job contract under the French labour legislation in force, respecting health and safety, and social security: 35 hours per week contract, 25 days of annual leave per year.
  • International mobility will be mandatory
  • An international environment supported by the adherence to the European Charter & Code.
  • Access to dedicated CLEAR-Doc trainings with a strong interdisciplinary focus, together with a Career development Plan.

Eligibility criteria

  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in possession or finalizing their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree. At the time of recruitment, applicants must be in possession of their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree which would formally entitle to embark on a doctorate.
  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research career (career breaks excluded) and not yet been awarded a doctoral degree. Career breaks refer to periods of time where the candidate was not active in research, regardless of his/her employment status (sick leave, maternity leave etc). Short stays such as holidays and/or compulsory national service are not taken into account.
  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in France for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the call deadline.
  • Applicants must be available to start the programme on schedule (around 1st October 2022).

Selection process

Additional comments

  • The First step before applying is contacting the PhD supervisor. You will not be able to apply without an acceptation letter from the PhD supervisor.
  • Please contact the PhD supervisor for any additional detail on job offer.
  • There are no restrictions concerning the age, gender or nationality of the candidates. Applicants with career breaks or variations in the chronological sequence of their career, with mobility experience or with interdisciplinary background or private sector experience are welcome to apply.
  • Support service is available during every step of the application process by email: clear-doc@univ-eiffel.fr

Web site for additional job details

Offer Requirements

    Geosciences: Master Degree or equivalent
    Sociology: Master Degree or equivalent
    ENGLISH: Good
    FRENCH: Basic


  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in possession or finalizing their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree.
  • At the time of recruitment, applicants must be in possession of their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree which would formally entitle to embark on a doctorate.

Work location(s)
1 position(s) available at
Université Gustave Eiffel
Bouguenais Nantes
Allée des Ponts et Chaussées

EURAXESS offer ID: 718027


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