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CDD Doctorant H/F "Air quality knowledge and public regulation in West Africa: exploring the relation between science advances, expertise regimes and political (in)action"

This offer is available in the following languages:
Français - Anglais

Date Limite Candidature : vendredi 8 juillet 2022

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General information

Reference : UMR8211-CINHEM-002
Workplace : PARIS 06
Date of publication : Friday, June 17, 2022
Scientific Responsible name : Soraya Boudia / Renaud Hourcade
Type of Contract : PhD Student contract / Thesis offer
Contract Period : 36 months
Start date of the thesis : 1 December 2022
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : 2 135,00 € gross monthly

Description of the thesis topic

Air pollution is a growing concern in societies in the South. Several large African cities have developed air quality measurement systems in order to better understand the sources of exposure of their populations and the associated health risks. However, these systems appear to be expensive and limited in number. At the same time, the market for low-cost sensors has developed and their performance has become more reliable. These sensors have been integrated into official monitoring systems in some countries in order to ensure a wider geographical coverage of pollutant flows and population exposure. In this context, the aim of the thesis will be to
- to draw up an inventory of the current and possible uses of these sensors and other alternative data sources (i.e. satellites) with a view to providing expertise for public action, at the international level and more particularly on the African continent
- to take a close look at the metrology and modelling techniques and the nature of the data produced, in order to determine the knowledge gaps between the official measurements usually integrated into government regimes and the data acquired by other techniques, including low-cost sensors.
- On this empirical basis, it will be necessary to propose a more theoretical reflection, in a multidisciplinary framework associating environmental sciences, science and technology studies, sociology of public action and political science, on the relationships between different knowledge regimes (high cost, low cost, experts, laymen, physical, sanitary...) within public action in environmental health, in a "South" context. The thesis will analyse the concrete implications of these different knowledge regimes for the orientations of public action (in terms of framing of problems, solutions) . It will seek to shed light on the social procescess involved in knowledge, ignorance, 'science not done' and public action and inaction in the health/environment sector in Africa.

Work Context

CERMES3 and CED are multidisciplinary social science research units, open to the international scene and active in numerous research collaborations. This thesis will be coordinated with the ANR-funded Globalsmog research programme (2022-2025), directed by Renaud Hourcade. This programme brings together 7 research units with the aim of studying the governance of air pollution issues in the metropolises of the South (Asia, Africa) (see www.globalsmog.org). The thesis will also benefit from contacts with African universities and researchers in various disciplines, including the IRL ESS in Dakar (health, environmental sciences) and the Alioune Diop University in Bambey (atmospheric physics).

Constraints and risks

This thesis involves long-term travels (several months) in West Africa for empirical research purposes. Other shorter trips are to be expected (conferences, meetings with the team). Apart from fieldwork, the doctoral student will be based at CERMES3 or CED and will have access to the offices open to doctoral students in the host unit. He will take part to scientific and team activities (seminars, workshops) in the chosen unit.

Additional Information

The doctoral candidate will have completed a research training course in the social sciences (Master degree in political science, STS, anthropology, geography, or a related discipline), ideally with a focus on Southern contexts. The ability to work in scientific and expert environments will be an advantage (e.g. dual skills or initial background in science). Autonomy of work, organisational skills, ability to work and write in English will be appreciated.

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