Social-ecological dimensions of freshwater fish management

Host Faculty: Science
General Subject Area: Human geography, social-ecological systems, enviro
Project Level: PhD
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Fish Futures 2

Join our newly funded Endeavour Research Programme in Aotearoa New Zealand!

We are looking for a suitably-qualified and highly motivated PhD candidate to join our work group and help drive our research on the social-ecological dimensions of freshwater fish management. This work sits within the wider Fish Futures research programme:

This 3-year scholarship (2022-25) will enable your collaboration with leading researchers in freshwater science and management, freshwater ecology, human geography, mātauranga Māori and management across a network of organisations in Aotearoa New Zealand and internationally. You will join a diverse cohort of postgraduate researchers at the Waterways Centre for Freshwater Management at the University of Canterbury, and a cross-institutional team of researchers affiliated with the Fish Futures project.

With the support of your supervisors, and in consultation with appropriate partners and stakeholders, you will shape a PhD research project that complements the work of the wider project to understand how freshwater fish are valued and managed. Your research will explore social-ecological feedbacks between people/communities and ecosystems to understand options for holistic management. Topics may include social-cultural dimensions of fish management, social-ecological drivers of degradation or restoration, mechanisms of lock-in or transformation in freshwater fish management, or other dynamics of fish-people-environment assemblages. The research will afford opportunities for field work, case studies, collaboration across project work-streams, and engagement with mana whenua, key stakeholders and communities.

We welcome applications from suitably qualified candidates with solid social research skills who are motivated to work collaboratively, across disciplinary boundaries, and in consultation with the wider research team, stakeholders, mana whenua and communities. Ideally you will be willing to commit to full-time PhD research, and to commence study in Ōtautahi Christchurch as soon as possible in 2022.

The Waterways Centre for Freshwater Management and University of Canterbury

The Waterways Centre is a multi-disciplinary research and teaching centre, jointly hosted between Canterbury and Lincoln Universities, located in Christchurch, New Zealand. The Centre conducts research and teaching in freshwater science and management. It sits within the School of Earth and Environment and the Faculty of Science, and works closely with allied schools and programmes, such as freshwater ecology, geography, engineering, and environmental science. The Centre maintains strong links to key organisations and stakeholders in the water sector in New Zealand and beyond.

More information on the Waterways Centre is available here:
More information on the University of Canterbury is available here:
More information on Ōtautahi Christchurch can be found here:

Please send a letter of motivation, a one-page outline of a PhD research idea (this need not be a fully formed research proposal), your CV and academic transcript, and a sample of your academic writing to Applications will be assessed from 15 June 2022 until a suitable candidate is recruited.

Non-native English speakers please include evidence of English competence as per the University of Canterbury entrance requirements:



Supervisor: Ed Challies

Key qualifications and skills

The ideal candidate will have:

• A relevant research-based Master’s degree (or equivalent) in human geography, biogeography, environmental studies, ecology, social-ecological systems or a related field, and excellent coursework and thesis grades
• Excellent spoken and written English
• Be domiciled in New Zealand and be either a New Zealand citizen, permanent resident, or holder of a valid visa to study in New Zealand.
• An interest in, and motivation to explore questions of freshwater fish management from a social-ecological systems, political ecology, or policy perspective.
• Familiarity with (or an interest in learning about) Te Ao Māori and Māori interests in freshwater and biodiversity.
• Familiarity with environmental and conservation issues and policy in Aotearoa New Zealand or other settler-colonial settings, and ideally with water governance/management issues.
• Experience with interdisciplinary and/or cross-cultural research and familiarity with relevant social science research methods (e.g. key informant interviews, focus groups, hui, etc.).

Does the project come with funding

Yes - fees scholarship plus $30,000 stipend a year

Final date for receiving applications

15 August 2022. Applications will be reviewed as they come in. 


freshwater fish management, social-ecological systems, feedbacks