Assistant Professor of Food, Biodiversity and Climate
VU University of Amsterdam Institute for Environmental Studies

Are you keen to explore the food, biodiversity and climate nexus using an interdisciplinary perspective? Please apply at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.


FTE: 0.8 - 1

Job description

Humanity is in a historical moment in which the capacity to live without irreversibly compromising the environmental and biophysical conditions on which it depends is dramatically questioned. Anthropogenic pressure on the Earth system has reached a point where abrupt environmental change is feared with global sustainability becoming a mere utopia. Despite the adoption of governance initiatives, such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development there are significant challenges and intrinsic trade-offs that arise from the interaction of social and environmental systems. In particular, the interdependencies among the food, biodiversity and climate are central to the global sustainability question, and require interdisciplinary research approaches, such as integrative modelling methods. Academia has a central responsibility to address this challenge but is generally limited by the boundaries of disciplinary constraints. IVM is in a privileged position to leverage expertise from its four distinctive departments to become a central arena for sustainability research that is cross-cutting across core sustainability related themes. Therefore, we propose a Tenure Track position for Assistant Professor to strengthen IVMs capacity to conduct interdisciplinary research and teaching in the cross-cutting domain of food, biodiversity and climate. Given the interdisciplinary nature of the Tenure Track position, the position will be hosted by two or more departments at the IVM. Such a candidate would be able to leverage experience from different IVM departments and push for an integrative research approach and contribution to sustainability science.

Your duties

  • The candidate is expected to engage in interdisciplinary research. The candidate should have a strong basis in economics, geography, environmental or political science, and should be able to combine this discipline with other scientific disciplines and have ample experience collaborating with other scientific disciplines within the sustainability domain. 
  • In principle, teaching and research are strongly linked, allowing for mutual cross-fertilization. The candidate would play a central role in the ERM and GECP masters. The candidate could collaborate with most of IVM courses or create new ones on very relevant and emerging topics, strengthening the sustainability science profile of IVM.
  • The candidate with an applied focus, quantitative skills and a good theoretical foundation. The candidate should be able to apply mixed-methods for field-work oriented and meta-analytical studies. 
  • The candidate should be able to work on multiple scales, with a strong international focus, thereby show willingness to travel on a regular basis. 
  • The candidate should show academic leadership, maintain a high publication output, and raise competitive research funding. On the longer term, the candidate is expected to build up a successful group around his/her field of expertise.
  • Over time, the tenure track candidate will write innovative proposals to acquire external funds, thereby establishing a personal research domain within the field of sustainability science.
  • In summary, we are looking for a person with many talents who can apply her/his skills in multiple fields. 


  • PhD degree in a relevant sustainability science, preferably with evidence of interdisciplinary skills
  • have a significant experience in academic teaching
  • have the ability to work in collaboration with others
  • have strong oral and written communication skills in English

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. On full-time basis the remuneration amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of €3,746 (scale 11)
and a maximum €5,826 (scale 12), depending on your education and experience. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 0.8 FTE.

The preferred starting date is 1 December 2020. We offer a tenure track position at the level of assistant professor, initially for the duration of 6 years. Within an agreed period, tenure could be achieved if the faculty criteria for assistant professor are fulfilled. During the tenure, the performance will be evaluated in terms of teaching, publication record, and acquisition of prestigious personal grants or equivalent project funding. After a successful evaluation permanent employment will be granted. 

Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:

  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • good growth opportunities
  • good paid parental leave scheme
  • child daycare facilities available on campus

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavour – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 26,000 students. We employ over 4,600 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.


We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

The Faculty of Science

The Faculty of Science inspires researchers and students to find sustainable solutions for complex societal issues. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to medicines and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research programmes cover the full spectrum of the natural sciences. We share knowledge and experience with leading research institutes and industries, both here in the Netherlands and abroad.

Working at the Faculty of Science means working with students, PhD candidates and researchers, all with a clear focus on their field and a broad view of the world. We employ more than 1,250 staff members, and we are home to around 6,000 students.

About IVM

Established in 1971, The Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM) is a leading environmental research institute that is internationally recognized for its high quality research output in a range of environmental disciplines, as well as for its interdisciplinary work. The mission of the institute is to contribute to sustainable development and care for the environment through scientific research and teaching. IVM aims to do excellent problem-oriented research that is useful to a wide range of stakeholders in the Netherlands and internationally. A unique strength of our research is to understand sustainability problems in their social, spatial and economic context. IVM’s research community works within four departments: Environmental Economics; Environmental Policy Analysis; Environmental Geography; and Water and Climate Risk.


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until August 31, 2020

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions

If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Pieter van Beukering
Position: Directeur IVM
Telephone: 0624687520

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