Call for Applications: Research Assistant

The Regional Center for Social Science and Sustainable Development (RCSD) is seeking a Research Assistant (RA) for a one-year term, with the possibility of extension. The RA will contribute to the research project titled “Guardians Under Pressure: Southeast Asian Indigenous Environmental Defenders and Civic Spaces in the Context of Climate Change Mitigation.” The study will investigate the Impact of Climate-Driven Land-Use Changes on Indigenous Environmental Defenders and Civic Spaces in Thailand.

This project is part of a larger study conducted in collaboration with Dala Institute, Auriga Nusantara, Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center (LRC), and RCSD. The broader study addresses the complex challenges faced by Indigenous environmental defenders and the impact of climate-driven land-use changes on civic spaces across Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand, utilizing case-based ethnographic approaches to investigate six to nine specific cases.

The position is ordinarily based at the RCSD office in Chiang Mai, but the candidate must be willing to travel to field sites and for project activities as necessary.

Key Responsibilities

• Research Design
• Support the initial scoping and engagement with one potential case study site
• Assist key informant interviews, literature reviews, and policy reviews to support design
• Assist in organizing participatory design workshops with key actors in the design phase.

• Data Collection
• Primarily responsibility is to conduct in-depth fieldwork, under the supervision of the RCSD team, in the selected case study site, including village-level interviews and observations.
• Assist to develop appropriate instruments for data collection and test their applicability in the field site.
• Support the analyzing of data from case the case study through the larger project lens.

• Communication and Coordination
• Assist the Director of RCSD and the Research Team in maintaining effective communication and smooth implementation of the research project.
• Connecting with the larger project team to share findings and support the broader research and analytical process.
• Organize participatory workshops and meetings.

• Learning and Engagement
• Support RCSD to enhance our networks and capacity for learning on climate change in the region
• Based on the research experience, contribute to the development of specific knowledge tools on the study of climate change in local settings
• Contribute to learning and trainings platforms, such as summer schools and potential integration into academic programs


• A Master’s degree is strongly preferable, but exceptions may be made for those with relevant field experience.
• Demonstrated research experience, particularly in qualitative methodologies, data collection and research ethics, and a willingness to spend significant time staying and researching in the selected field site, working in and with local communities.
• A strong understanding of the context of climate change and environmental defenders in Thailand, particularly the challenges and dynamics facing local communities.
• Must speak Thai fluently and have strong English language skills. Ability to speak ethnic minority or other languages is desirable.
• Strong interpersonal skills, and an ability to work proactively and collaboratively in a research team and engage with key stakeholders.

Application Process

Interested candidates should submit their CV and a cover letter highlighting their qualifications, and a brief statement addressing their understanding of Indigenous environmental issues and the research problem. Please also include a letter from one relevant referee.

Application Deadline: June 25, 2024

Interview Date: First week of July

Start Date: mid to late July

To apply, please send your resume, cover letter, and one reference letter to and