Post-Doc Opportunity: “Capturing community values in marine resource management planning: New Tools for New Times

Scallop Offload Baynes SOund 

We are seeking a post-doctoral fellow (PDF) for a one year period who will undertake independent research, and work with the project leadership team to help coordinate activities to support the project goals. The position will be based at Vancouver Island University, in Nanaimo, BC; work under the direction of Dr. Grant Murray (Canada Research Chair in Coastal Resource Management) and will require substantial external contact with members of BC’s seafood sector on the east coast of Vancouver Island. The PDF will also contribute to the development of new theoretical approaches in the area of socio-ecological systems research. This project is funded by Canada’s Social Services and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) through an Insight Development grant.

The impacts of British Columbia’s seafood sector on community wellbeing and ecosystem health are poorly understood due to challenges associated with collecting and understanding these contributions across a large, diverse sector. This then inhibits good governance for the seafood sector and for marine socio-ecological systems more generally. From the community well-being perspective, one of the key challenges is that the ‘socio-economic’ information currently collected is largely economic in nature, leading to a lack of appreciation of the range of underlying values that result in economic choices and activities. On the other hand, integrated coastal and marine planning processes currently underway in BC offer an opportunity for the incorporation of a wider range of underlying values into decision-making and planning. This opportunity, however, has not yet been realized because of the lack of information or a framework to identify, characterize and integrate these values, to explore how they relate to management objectives across the diverse seafood sector, and to identify areas of overlap or divergence of the value sets of the different social groups in different seafood sub-sectors.

This project adopts a case study approach to develop a framework to identify and characterize information about underlying values in BC’s seafood sector, contributing to better understanding, collaboration, problem solving and conflict resolution in coastal and marine planning; and leading to improved community well-being and ecosystem health. This project will:

  1. Identify and characterize the underlying values and preferences of stakeholders in the various sub-sectors of Vancouver Island’s seafood community and identify areas of overlap and divergence,
  2.  Identify and characterize the role that values and preferences play in creation of management objectives created by stakeholders,
  3.  Generate a conceptual model/framework for the integration of that information into planning processes in BC for the improved governance of a sustainable seafood environment,
  4. Propose an approach to using this framework in resource management more generally that can be broadly applied.

The position will commence October 1, 2012 or as soon as a suitable candidate can be found. Salary will be dependent on skills and previous experience. The position is funded for one year but may be renewable depending on other funding or if other research opportunities become available. The ideal candidate will resemble the following profile:

  • A highly motivated individual who cares about rural coastal community wellbeing
  • Recently completed PhD (within 3 years) in ecology, geography or other relevant discipline
  • Experience conducting research in rural areas and/or with the seafood sector
  • Experience in community based research
  • Familiarity/experience with a variety of research methods and techniques
  • Project management experience in terms of field logistics, budget management, communications, etc.
  • Expertise in the project themes: governance, values, fisheries, aquaculture, marine and coastal planning
  • Experience with a variety of knowledge mobilization activities and strategies ranging from traditional (e.g. project reports, journal articles, PowerPoint presentations, etc.) to other non-traditional approaches such as public workshops, open houses, community workshops, radio, TV, etc.
  • Preference will be given to Canadian citizens and permanent residents
  • Previous experience working within BC coastal communities is preferred


To apply: Please send a CV, cover letter and names and contact information for three references to Michele Patterson, (Co-investigator).

Questions can also be directed to Michele Patterson by email or phone. (250-740-6296)

Known as a centre of excellence for teaching, applied research and learning, Vancouver Island University is a dynamic, internationally known university that supports a population of over 18,000 full-and part-time learners, including 1,100 international students, and over 1,000 aboriginal students. (

The VIU Institute for Coastal Research (ICR) exists to “to further understanding of the cultural, economic, environmental and social dynamics of the B.C. coast through collaborative research, creative exploration, engagement and education and, in doing so, help guide human activities to bring the greatest good to coastal communities and ecosystems.” (

The ICR’s Aquatic Foods Initiative is “developing strategies to increase the economic, social, cultural and ecological value of BC’s seafood resources; in order to bridge silos amongst industry and the broader community which limit innovation and cooperation in BC’s aquatic foods sectors.”


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