Doctoral positions – Campaign 2016: Profile n° 4

Renard Citadin
“Wild animals and city-dwellers: resident practices, mental images and health risks. The example of Greater Paris”.

Work-Package: “Biodiversity – territories – societies” and “Modeling, simulations and decision support”

The deadline for the submission of applications is 4 May 2016 (inclusive).
Recruitment procedure and schedule

Position description

Research Proposal:

  1. Interest of the Research

In France, many management and development plans aim to include nature in urban environments. Accordingly, the Île-de-France region and the Métropole du Grand Paris (MGP, Greater Paris Metropolitan Area) are participating in the establishment of such plans by producing local commitment documents, which take the form of the creation and development of green spaces, ecological corridors and green belts to promote biodiversity and facilitate movement. Simultaneously, city dwellers themselves also wish to bring more nature into urban areas.

Among wildlife, three species—whose presence in Paris and the adjoining suburbs has been recorded—have retained our attention: hedgehogs, beech martens and foxes. The cohabitation of these animals and city dwellers comes with environmental, cultural and health challenges for the various urban territories making up the Parisian metropolitan area. Indeed, beyond promoting biodiversity in cities, the presence of this wildlife is sometimes viewed in conflicting ways and can be the source of conflicts between humans and non-humans as well as among humans. In addition, the challenges of sharing the territory also have health implications because these mammals may be vectors for diseases that can be passed on to people (zoonoses) and pets.

  1. Lines of Research

The thesis aims to examine the multiple social views associated with hedgehogs, beech martins and foxes in urban areas and their implications for environment management, and explore city dwellers’ habits and practices that could increase health risks and trigger conflicts. This research will make it possible to identify and characterize the system of stakeholders organized around the management of medium-sized mammals in cities to reveal possible levers for action to improve governance of biodiversity in cities.

It is organized around four lines of research. Line 1: How are potential zones of contact between city dwellers and the three species concerned distributed throughout the territory studied and where are meeting points located? Line 2: What are the characteristics of the current health risk in Paris and its inner suburbs? What are the pathogen infestation rates for the different species? Line 3: Do risky practices exist and what parameters alter health risks? What are the perceptions and social views associated with the presence of these animals in the Greater Paris Metropolitan Area? What factors alter these perceptions and views? Line 4: How do stakeholder’s practices and actions contribute to the presence, elimination, spread or confinement of these three species in Paris and its inner suburbs?

Finally, in order to better grasp the urban contexts that are conducive to human-animal cohabitation, governance of this wildlife shall be placed into perspective through a comparison with other European cities (London, Zurich, Munich or Luxembourg).

Planned collaborations
  • In the framework of current or future programs:

The UMR LADYSS initiated the project “L’animal en ville” [animals in cities] that has made it possible to set up lasting partnerships with biodiversity managers (Paris City Hall, ONCFS, DRIEE, FICIF), health risk professionals (LRSFS, ELIZ, ANSES), institutions (the SNCF rail network) and researchers (UMR LADYSS, UMR Éco-Anthropologie et Ethnobiologie [eco-anthropology and ethnobiology], CNRS, University of Paris 1, University of Paris 8, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle [national museum of natural history]). These partners form a solid anchor for and basis on which to develop the proposed subject of the thesis.

A thesis committee shall be formed around two directors: R. RAYMOND (CR CNRS), S. BORTOLAMIOL (post-doc LADYSS), V.GODARD (Prof. University of Paris 8), P. JACOB (Agence d’Ecologie Urbaine [urban ecology agency], City of Paris), B. COMBES (Director of the Entente de Lutte Interdépartementale contre les Zoonoses [inter-departmental group to fight zoonoses]).

  • in the Work-Package(s):

Participation in the “Biodiversity – territories – societies” Work-Package’s workshops is planned.

  • in the UMRs:

The thesis project is part of a partnership between UMRs (UMR 7533 LADYSS and UMR 8586 PRODIG) that examine, respectively and among other things, the role of animals in cities and the spatial dimension of health risks.

The LADYSS Laboratory has pledged to help cover the cost of field work and supervision necessary to complete this thesis (equipment, field work, symposium registration fees, thesis committee meetings, etc.).

Required skills and abilities
  • A post-graduate Master’s degree (Master 2) in geography, ecology, environmental studies or sociology and a strong interest in interdisciplinary approaches (the interface between the environmental sciences and human sciences);
  • knowledge of the issues surrounding and research on biodiversity in cities;
  • experience with qualitative interview and questionnaire methodologies;
  • mastery of statistics tools (notably R)
  • experience with GISs and geo-referenced database management;
  • synthesis and writing skills;
  • and excellent command of English to conduct interviews.

Additional information

Contract start date: 01/09/2016 or 01/10/2016 (as desired)

Length of contract: 3 years

Host laboratory: LADYSS “Dynamiques Sociales et Recomposition des Espaces” (UMR 7533)

University of Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense
Bâtiment T 139
200, avenue de la République
92001 NANTERRE Cedex

Assigned University:

  • Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University;
  • Paris School of Geography – Environment, Society, Development (Doctoral School ED 434).

Possible Thesis Supervisors: Laurent SIMON Professor, Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University, LADYSS and Benjamin LYSANIUK – CNRS Researcher, PRODIG: Pôle de Recherche pour l’Organisation et la Diffusion de l’Information Géographique

Net monthly remuneration: approximately € 1 350 (additional teaching assignments possible, depending on the host establishment).

Contact :

Recruitment procedure and schedule

The application must be submitted electronically by application form ( It must demonstrate that the candidate fulfils the requirements indicated in the position profile (specified tasks and skills).

The application will include:

  • a description of the doctoral project (2 to 5 pages maximum) indicating the theoretical basis of the research, the tests to be carried out on empirical materials, the methodology to be used, a feasibility report and project schedule;
  • curriculum vitae;
  • transcript of higher education record for first year of masters studies (Master 1) and the first semester of research masters (Master 2);
  • a letter of recommendation from the supervisor of the research master’s thesis;
  • a letter confirming the forthcoming defence of the candidate’s master’s thesis (prior to 31 August 2016).

It is recommended (but not mandatory) for the candidate to establish contact with the potential thesis supervisor in advance.

The deadline for the submission of applications is 4 May 2016 (inclusive).

For your information: When the deadline for applications has passed, the LabEx DynamiTe will contact the potential director(s) of the potential host unit(s) and will add one letter of invitation to the application.

The candidate(s) appointed following the evaluation of the applications and interviews (which will take place during the week of 13 June 2016) will be informed of the results of the application process from 20 June 2016.

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