One of IIER's most ambitious research projects will begin in Q4/2011, in cooperation with the Imperial College in London. The project is aimed at supporting the activities of the Ecological Sequestration Trust, a U.K. based non-profit organization focused on the creation of sustainable (cycling) economies. In order to make this effort successful, we are looking for employees and volunteers who would like to contribute to this project aimed at providing the most solid underpinning of an economic view based on physical resource and energy consumption.

The project: The project is modeling a human ecosystem from cradle to grave, based on a thorough bottom-up approach, allowing to see the distribution of goods and services throughout entire societies. The project is under­taken together with the Center of Process Systems Engineering at Imperial College in London, one of the most advanced centers of excellence for ecosystems modeling, and sponsored by The Ecological Sequestration Trust, a non-profit trust focused on creating long-term sustainable societies.

The objective is to model complete economies (towns, regions, countries  and ultimately, the world) based on true flows of inputs and outputs in an agent based model, providing more insight into the realities of our human eco­system.

The model itself as well as the findings derived from it will be put into the public domain in an open-source fashion, making it possible for everybody to reproduce and improve it over time.

The job(s): We are looking for approximately 5-6 individuals who have already put some serious effort into understanding the connections inside (human and other) ecosystems and would like to put this knowledge to use in a larger context. They may come from an ecosystems modeling background, from economics, other natural science areas or any other place, as long as there is experience in these topics and a real passion for working on this – so we think – important project. Additionally, we are looking for volunteer contributions on a conceptual level from senior ecosystems researchers, who are ready to provide their insight to make our modeling effort as successful as possible.

The terms: We pay salaries which are typical to academic institutions depending on degree level and experience. The positions are originally designed for one year (January 1 to December 31, 2012), but a few positions are planned to be permanent.

The location(s): The main project office will be in London, but we will also have space in Switzerland and on the U.S. East Coast. In certain cases, home office solutions are equally possible. Three months in London are mandatory (from January 1, 2012 onwards).

How to apply: The application process is simple. First, we need your resume with the details (references, work samples if you published before) you consider relevant sent to recruiting (at) iier (dot) ch. Also, as part of your application, we are keen to hear your opinion. As an attachment to this post, we include a 14 page document describing the modeling approach. This is a preliminary documentation and thus far from complete. We look for critical feedback on this document which would help us to make it better. This should give us the best insight into your ability to become part of our team.

P.S. Feedback on the attached scope document is welcome from all readers of this post, as any input will help to make our effort more successful.

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project outline/work plan

I think the outline is well written. I think the topic you have selected is tremendously important and sorely neglected. I think you now have in front of you the best jobs on the planet. Has anyone tried the significantly smaller job: Can we collect the data and quantify the flows and bookkeep the changes (i.e. NO MODELING) that quantify the lack of sustainability in some single similarly limited geographical region? So maybe the document lacks a few key citations of what has come before so that one will grasp how this work will succeed by using prior work rather than how it will have to move too many mountains or invent too many wheels?