Developing Analytical Tools to Understand SDG Synergies and Tradeoffs

Lead Supervisor: Dr Johan Oldekop, Geography
Co-supervisor: Prof Aki Tsuchiya, Economics

Deadline: Monday 26th March 2018

Project Description
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) herald a new phase for international development and cooperation. Central to the SDGs’ logic and ethos is that the Goals are interrelated. Understanding the interdependencies among the SDGs and balancing synergies and trade-offs is central to policy-design and implementation. This studentship will develop an analytical framework to understand interlinkages among SDGs and inform optimal resource allocation.

The studentship will focus on data linked to SDGs 1 [Poverty], 2 [Food Security], 3 [Health] and 15 [Terrestrial Environments]. Using Mexico and Peru as case-study countries, the studentship will ask the following research questions: what are the poverty, food security, health and environmental conservation outcomes of policies and interventions designed to address these four SDG challenges?  How are these different outcomes related and under what conditions are these outcomes synergistic or antagonistic? And, what is the optimal allocation of policy efforts to maximize SDG synergies?

Cooperation, coordination and policy-coherence have been enshrined under SDG 17 [Partnership for the Goals], yet policy-makers and practitioners often operate in silos, with little overlap between government departments and ministries. Conceptual frameworks to navigate linkages between different SDGs are nascent, and we still lack essential analytical tools to understand and evaluate synergies and tradeoffs between different Goals.  This has two aspects: (a) what outcomes the interventions achieve, and (b) how stakeholders value those outcomes

The student will use state-of-the-art economic theory and statistical tools to address this knowledge gap, and contribute to transparent and evidence-based policy making in the Global South.  Specifically, the project will analyse: (i) secondary data with high spatial and temporal resolution combining suites of social and environmental indicators with information on policy implementation; and (ii) primary data on stakeholders’ stated preferences across different policy outcomes. The project will also develop collaborations beyond the University of Sheffield including partnerships with international donors to develop online analyses tools specifically targeted at policy makers and practitioners.

The project will be supervised by Johan Oldekop, an environmental social scientist at the Department of Geography and Aki Tsuchiya, a health economist, at the Department of Economics.

The ideal candidate will have research interests in development and sustainability, very strong quantitative skills, as well as experience of using and manipulating large datasets including spatial data.  Computer coding, survery design, and Spanish are additional desirable skills.

Keywords: Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); interdependencies, spatial analyses; impact evaluation; econometrics; stated preferences
Subject areas: Data Analysis; Development Studies; Economies; Political Science & International Studies; Environmental Science

Funding notes
This four-year studentship will be fully funded at Home/EU or international rates. Support for travel and consumables (RTSG) will also be made available at standard rate of £2,627 per annum, with an additional one-off allowance of £1,000 for a computer in the first year.  Students will receive an annual stipend of £17,336.  Applications should be received and complete by Monday 26th March 2018.

What to include in the application

Your application for this studentship should be accompanied by a CV and a 200 word supporting statement. Your statement should outline your aspirations and motivation for studying in the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures. You should also outline any relevant experience and interests that you have in sustainability issues.

Please select ‘Standard PhD’ and the department of this project’s lead supervisor. Fill in the title of your desired project and the name(s) of the supervisors. The starting date of the PhD will be the start of the next academic year – 1 Oct 2018. The ‘Funding stage’ on the form will be ‘project studentship’.