Lorenza Fontana

FIREPOL – The Politics of Wildfires

The Politics of Wildfires: A Comparative Study of Norms, Power and Conflict in the Global South

[ERC Starting Grant (2023-2028)]

Extreme wildfires have been on the rise across the globe due to climate change and other human actions. Despite the abundant literature on fire ecology and a recognition of the linkages of wildfires to global warming, a patchy understanding of the relationship between fire and anthropogenic actions and their political drivers persists. Social sciences scholarship has mostly focused on fire mitigation and management in the Global North, while complex relationships between societies and fires in the Global South remain broadly unexplored. These two gaps in the academic literature in terms of scope and geography are reflected in a narrow public understanding of wildfires as ‘risks’ and ‘natural disasters’.

FIREPOL goes beyond the state of the art by leading the most rigorous, cross-continental study of the political drivers of wildfires in the Global South. Through a radical mixed-methods approach and a comparative perspective, my team and I will combine and analyse newly compiled fire policy and remote sensing data with qualitative case studies and ethnographic research. The aim will be to understand and explain how a range of political factors linked to formal policies and institutions, actor-driven power dynamics, and social contention shape the geographical distribution and social impact of wildfires, and public narratives about them.

FIREPOL is an ambitious, high-risk/high-gain project that will deliver a new framework to understand and explain the connections between politics and wildfires, at a timely moment when wildfires have been identified as crucial socio-ecological challenges within the global climate change agenda. It will develop a new theoretical framework around the concept of ‘wildfire commons’ as a way of engaging the academic community, policy stakeholders and the general public in the co-production of alternative pathways for the sustainable, equitable and politically engaged management of wildfires.

The project is hosted by the Inter-university Department of Regional and Urban Studies and Planning (DIST) at the University and Polytechnic of Turin in partnership with the Collegio Carlo Alberto.

European Commission Fact Sheet Page 

Interview: ‘Lorenza Fontana studia come mitigare gli incendi’ (Italian). www.30science.com

University of Glasgow news: ‘ERC Starting Grant Success for International Relations

Interested in joining the team? 

Project Manager 

NEW!! Job call in now open for a project manager position. 
Please read the bando and apply at this link following the instructions provided: 
Please read below for further information on the call and feel free to get in touch for further information about the position before applying. 

Duration: Fixed term for 12 months (potentially extendable up to 52 months), start as soon as possible

Engagement: Part Time/18h per week (with potential to become full-time)

Salary for part time employment: €21,000 per annum (€790 net monthly salary)

Deadline to apply: 18 April 2024

*(Unfortunately) open to EU citizens and permanent residents only*

The University of Turin is seeking to appoint one Project Manager (PM) for the Politics of Wildfire (FIREPOL) project.

FIREPOL is a five-year, €1.5 million project funded by a European Research Council Starting Grant, based within the Inter-university Department of Regional and Urban Studies and Planning (DIST) at the University and Polytechnic of Turin.

The FIREPOL project will deliver a cross-continental study of the political drivers of wildfires in the Global South. Through a multi-methods approach and a comparative perspective, FIREPOL combines and analyses newly compiled fire policy and remote sensing data with qualitative case studies and ethnographic research. The aim will be to understand and explain how a range of political factors (policies, power dynamics, social contention etc.) shape the geographical distribution and impact of wildfires, and public narratives about them.

FIREPOL will rely on a multidisciplinary team composed of researchers and admin staff with different expertise.

Main  Activities

The PM will assist the PI in the coordination of the project and support the research team. They will be responsible for insuring and facilitating the general operation in accordance with the Grant Agreement terms. These functions will entail the organizational, administrative and financial management of the project as well as the coordination of communication and dissemination activities. The PM will work in conjunction with the administrative services of the University of Turin (UNITO) and the Collegio Carlo Alberto (CCA).

Administrative management :

Coordinate the needs of the project led by the Principal Investigator and those of UNITO and CCA administrations,

Monitoring and use of the timesheets,

Monitoring and contribution to contractual deadlines (deliverables, reports, etc.).

Financial management:

Execute expenses via the accounting management tools of UNITO and CCA,

Monitor budget expenditures, according to expenditure categories,

Coordinate the preparation, consolidation, and submission of financial reports, in conjunction with the PI, within the deadlines specified by the European Commission,Insure that any justification document is correctly drawn up and maintained by each partner, in anticipation of possible audits.

Organizational:

Help organize conferences and workshops in Italy and abroad,

Organize and oversee funding of fieldwork and other project-related travel by the PI and team members in Italy and abroad,

Assist with the organization, visitors, presentations, and minutes of project meetings.

Reports:

Support the preparation of scientific reports and other documents,

Coordinate and assist in preparation of financial reports

Assist with the compilation of information and background research tasks as required by the project

Communication:

Support team members in dissemination of their activities and outputs

Create (or assist in the creation of) a project website and take responsibility for its development over time and its maintenance

Implement communication actions in various media (internal and external)

Desired Profile:

– Experience in the management of European/international projects is appreciated,

– Fluency in English is essential (written and oral).

Required Skills and Qualities: Autonomy, organization, creativity, and responsiveness, especially during peak periods; Ability and willingness to respect the deadlines required by the PI; Compliance with the obligations described in financial and other agreements; Understanding of financial modalities (cost models, eligible costs); Mastery of communication tools, such as Word Press and Office tools (Microsoft Office); Ability to synthesize and apply European administrative procedures; Ability to adapt and be flexible in various tasks; Understanding of how to report on and present the work at hand, and bring up questions and problems; Ability to face difficulties and find solutions; Openness to innovation in ideas and practices; Ability to work in a team, cooperate in one or more working groups, projects or international networks, and make effective contributions.

FIREPOL is a highly multidisciplinary project that will offer the opportunity to develop your skills and carreer in a collaborative and supportive environment. We therefore welcome applicants from diverse backgrounds and with a wide range of undergraduate and graduate training.

As an equal opportunity employer, we welcome applicants from all sections of the community regardless of age, sex, gender (or gender identity), sexual orientation, ethnicity, country of origin and disability. All appointments are made on merit and potential.

Depending on individual circumstances, flexible or blended working arrangements may be considered.

Enquiries about the vacancy, shortlisting and interviews:

Prof. Lorenza Fontana: lorenza.fontana@unito.it

About the project:

FIREPOL_project_doc

https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/101076495

About the Department:

https://www.dist.polito.it/en/

About the University of Turin:

https://en.unito.it/about-unito/unito-glance

 

Positions for 3 Post-Doctoral Research Associates, 1 PhD Student and 1 Project Manager will soon be advertised!  See below for more information
3 Post-Doctoral Research Associate Positions
Job call is now open !
Please read below for information on the positions and how to apply:
Duration: Fixed term for 24 months (potentially extendable), start between 1 April and 1 December 2024

Salary: €25,941 per annum (€1,909 net monthly salary)

Deadline: 22 January 2024 (1pm CET)

The University of Turin is seeking to appoint three Postdoctoral Research Associates (PDRAs) for the Politics of Wildfire (FIREPOL) project.

FIREPOL is a five-year, €1.5 million project funded by a European Research Council Starting Grant, based within the Inter-university Department of Regional and Urban Studies and Planning (DIST) at the University and Polytechnic of Turin.

The FIREPOL project will deliver a cross-continental study of the political drivers of wildfires in the Global South. Through a multi-methods approach and a comparative perspective, FIREPOL combines and analyses newly compiled fire policy and remote sensing data with qualitative case studies and ethnographic research. The aim will be to understand and explain how a range of political factors (policies, power dynamics, social contention etc.) shape the geographical distribution and impact of wildfires, and public narratives about them.

FIREPOL will rely on a multidisciplinary team composed of researchers and admin staff with different expertise. We are currently looking for the following research profiles:

Quantitative profile: Your work will focus on the coordination of data gathering on policies and laws relevant to fire and the large-N analysis of political drivers across countries in the Global South. We expect you to have excellent skills and evidence of work in quantitative methods (statistical and/or GIS analysis).
Essential and desirable skills: Strong quantitative data analysis skills are required; Knowledge of GIS and remote sensing data analysis is an asset; Experience working on  and in countries of the Global South is an asset; English fluent (working language); Knowledge of other languages widely spoken in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and South America is an asset; willingness to join a multidisciplinary and diverse team and engage is dialogue and collaboration with colleague is a must.

Qualitative profile: Your contribution will delve into the political drivers of fire in a selected number of countries. We expect you to be trained in qualitative methods. Ideally you would have previous experience in qualitative comparative analysis and/or policy analysis, and work experience in countries of the Global South.
Essential and desirable skills: Experience and/or training in quantitative methods are required; Experience and/or training in comparative qualitative analysis, discourse analysis and policy analysis is an asset; Fieldwork experience in countries of the Global South is an asset; English fluent (working language); Knowledge of other languages widely spoken in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and South America is an asset; willingness to join a multidisciplinary and diverse team and engage is dialogue and                    collaboration with colleague is a must.

Ethnographic profile: The focus of your work will be on understanding the local drivers of wildfires, particularly related to cultural and livelihood practices. You will mostly work in one country where you will conduct extensive fieldwork. We welcome previous experience with ethnographic methods and with rural communities in countries of the Global South. Experience with participatory or theatre-based methods is an asset.
Essential and desirable skills: Experience and/or training in qualitative methods are required; Fieldwork experience with rural communities in countries of the Global South is  required; Experience and/or training in ethnographic and participatory methods is an asset; English fluent (working language); Knowledge of other languages widely  spoken in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and South America is an asset; willingness to join a multidisciplinary and diverse team and engage is dialogue and collaboration with colleague is a must.

FIREPOL is a highly multidisciplinary project that will offer the opportunity to develop exciting research in a collaborative and supportive environment.

We therefore welcome applicants from diverse backgrounds and with a wide range of PhD training.

The primary criterion for appointment will be research excellence in any area(s) broadly related to the project. While the broad focus of the research is defined by the project there will be the opportunity to discuss specific contributions and research agendas based on your interests and career aspirations. Budget will be available for training and conference attendance.

As an equal opportunity employer, we welcome applicants from all sections of the community regardless of age, sex, gender (or gender identity), sexual orientation, ethnicity, country of origin and disability. All appointments are made on merit and potential.

Depending on individual circumstances, flexible or blended working arrangements may be considered.

HOW TO APPLY:

To apply read this instructions and follow the link below.

All the information on the requirements and how to apply are in the document called BANDO . Unfortunately the document is only in Italian. Please use a translation software or get in touch with me or with the university support team for assistance (see contacts below).

To apply please follow this link and click the LOGIN button on the top right. As indicated Italian citizens will need to login using SPID credentials. Non Italian citizens will need to register first.

Please note that the system is very bureaucratic and that its quirks are beyond my control. I pledge you to read the provided information carefully. Please consider that it might take you a couple of days to produce all the documentation needed to apply (in particular a full CV and a cover letter explaining what would be your contribution to the project, max 1500 words. Please upload the CV and cover letter as a single document). Applications received after the closing date will be automatically rejected.

Selected candidates will be contacted for an online interview.

Enquiries about the vacancy, shortlisting and interviews:

Prof. Lorenza Fontana: lorenza.fontana@unito.it

Assistance with the online application:

assegniricerca@unito.it

https://www.unito.it/ricerca-e-innovazione/percorsi-e-carriere-nella-ricerca/assegni-di-ricerca

About the project:

FIREPOL_project_doc

https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/101076495

About the Department:

https://www.dist.polito.it/en/

About the University of Turin:

https://en.unito.it/about-unito/unito-glance

 

1 PhD Studentship 

The call will open either in January or March 2024. Here you will find all the relevant information and deadline for application. Please check it regularly to see when the call will open. Please read below for preliminary information on the call :

Start date: 1st November 2024

The University of Turin is seeking to appoint one fully funded PhD Student for the Politics of Wildfire (FIREPOL) project. The student will be enrolled in the PhD Programme in Urban and Regional Development (URD) at the Polytechnic University of Turin.

FIREPOL is a five-year, €1.5 million project funded by a European Research Council Starting Grant, based within the Inter-university Department of Regional and Urban Studies and Planning (DIST) at the University and Polytechnic of Turin.

The FIREPOL project will deliver a cross-continental study of the political drivers of wildfires in the Global South. Through a multi-methods approach and a comparative perspective, FIREPOL combines and analyses newly compiled fire policy and remote sensing data with qualitative case studies and ethnographic research. The aim will be to understand and explain how a range of political factors (policies, power dynamics, social contention etc.) shape the geographical distribution and impact of wildfires, and public narratives about them.

FIREPOL will rely on a multidisciplinary team composed of researchers and admin staff with different expertise. We are currently looking for one PhD student to joint the team:

Project 

While the broad focus of the research is defined by the project there will be the opportunity to discuss specific contributions and research agendas based on your interests and career aspirations. You will be asked to submit a project proposal related to the following themes:

  •  Identifying and analysing policy and institutional mechanisms that, alongside other institutional and governance arrangements, explain variation in wildfire patterns (geographical distribution) through quantitative analysis or mixed methods.
  • Studying the role of other factors (beyond the realm of formal norms and institutions), such as corruption, social activism, elite configurations and other actor-driven power dynamics, in shaping wildfire patterns and narratives through qualitative comparative analysis or mixed methods.
  • Analysing contentious dynamics around wildfires among local communities, in order to provide insights on poorly understood connections between wildfires and identities, cultures and inequalities. This objective will be tackled through close engagement with local communities, mostly of rural poor, using ethnographic and participatory methods.

Person specification: Excellence and potential will be the primary selection criterion. We expect candidates to have received relevant postgraduate training (e.g., in political science, geography, development studies, environmental studies) and to be interested in the proposed research themes. Previous training/experience using relevant methodological approaches, experience in countries of the Global South and mastering of local languages spoken in the countries of interest will be very beneficial but not essential. Willingness to join a multidisciplinary and diverse team and engage is dialogue and collaboration with colleague is a must.

Eligibility criteria:

Academic:

a) Master’s degree (Laurea Magistrale) with minimum final grade: 95/110 or other academic qualification (2nd level) earned abroad and recognized as valid. Exclusively the following applicants are accepted to take part in the selection process:

– Applicants who earned a Master’s degree (Laurea Magistrale) or Laurea specialistica or academic degree belonging to the university system pre-dating DM no. 509 of 3rd November 1999, as amended by DM no. 270 of 22nd October 2004 – with minimum final grade: 95/110 or

– Applicants who earned an academic qualification which is valid for admission to a Ph.D. programme in their country of origin (see par. 2) with the minimum average grade illustrated in Annex 3.

Applicants who still do not have the required academic qualification on the deadlines of art. 7, par. 1 are allowed to apply as long as they get their degree by:

– 31st October 2023: for participation in the selection process of the first and second session (and possible second session bis);

– 31st December 2023: for participation in the selection process of the third session In these cases, applicants can participate in the selection process “with condition”.

They are required to earn their degree before the above-mentioned deadlines or they will not be admitted to any Ph.D. programme. These applicants must have an average grade of their Master’s exams (GPA) greater than 25/30. In any case they must graduate with a minimum final grade of 95/110.

English language:

one of the following English language certificates (certificates are valid regardless of the date of conferral):

– IELTS: minimum score 5.0;

– one of the language certificates accepted in substitution for IELTS 5.0 by Politecnico di Torino and listed in the table “Table of 04/12/2017 updated on 26/11/2021 (transitional period)” available at: https://didattica.polito.it/cla/en/certificates or be exempted from presenting an English language certificate in accordance with the terms of Annex 4.

For more information on eligibility criteria please see the  past call (bando) – pages 6-8 – and make sure the same criteria still hold in the new call.

Application Process: You should ready carefully the call when it becomes available and following exactly the indicated procedures. Please note that Italy is a highly bureaucratic system and you will be excluded if you make a minor mistake in the application process.

Both mandatory and optional documents that you should produce to apply are listed on pages 9-12 of the past call. make sure the same documents are required when the new call becomes available.

FIREPOL is a highly multidisciplinary project that will offer the opportunity to develop exciting research in a collaborative and supportive environment. This position is fully-funded for 3 years, covering academic fees, an annual maintenance stipend of € 18.854,52, including social security contributions charged to the scholarship recipient (TBC for 2024-25). The net monthly rate is € 1.386 (unless welfare rates change). You will be part of a multidisciplinary research team led by Prof. Lorenza Fontana, including post-doctoral researchers, case-country partners, and other affiliated researchers. You will also join a cohort of PhD students enrolled in the same programme and have access to a wide range of courses and training opportunities. Funds will be available to conduct fieldwork, attend conferences and other research related activities. We therefore welcome applicants from diverse backgrounds and with a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate (Master or Laurea Magistrale) training.

As an equal opportunity employer, we welcome applicants from all sections of the community regardless of age, sex, gender (or gender identity), sexual orientation, ethnicity, country of origin and disability. All appointments are made on merit and potential.

Enquiries about the vacancy, shortlisting and interviews:

Prof. Lorenza Fontana: lorenza.fontana@unito.it

About the project:

FIREPOL_project_doc

https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/101076495

About the PhD Programme:

https://www.polito.it/en/education/phd-programmes-and-postgraduate-school/phd-programmes/urban-and-regional-development

About the Department:

https://www.dist.polito.it/en/

About the University of Turin:

https://en.unito.it/about-unito/unito-glance