PhD Position in Agrofood Producer Country Transformative Governance Pathways for Biodiversity and Equity
Wageningen University Department of Environmental Sciences

PhD Position in Agrofood Producer Country Transformative Governance Pathways for Biodiversity and Equity

Published on
June 29, 2022

Location Wageningen

We are looking for

Are you an enthusiastic scholar in the field of social sciences and/or inter-disciplinary environmental and natural resource studies. Are you interested in understanding how policies can be transformed to achieve sustainable telecoupled consumption, trade and production with positive impacts on biodiversity and equity? Then this could be the ideal PhD position for you!

This PhD position focuses on telecoupling: developing transformative governance pathways for biodiversity and equity focussing on the links between agrofood producer countries in the global south and European consumer countries. The PhD candidate will be supervised jointly by the Forest Nature and Conservation Policy (FNP) group and the Laboratory of Geo-information Science and Remote Sensing (GRS). Your research should be co-developed with stakeholders and policy-makers in producer agrofood countries to identify and assess transformative governance pathways, mechanisms and scenarios with positive biodiversity and equity outcomes. This study should advance the understanding on what shapes market demand from an agrofood producer perspective, and landscapes they originate from, in selected ‘Innovation landscapes’ in the three study countries, drawing upon geospatial open source datasets to look at land use changes, land allocation and land tenure distribution changes. In addition, the study will also contribute to understand the impacts of such telecoupled trade on European consumers and  synthesise evidence and facilitate global dialogue and learning on transformative change pathways in agrofood systems for biodiversity and equity, to enhance global understanding.

This PhD position is embedded in the ”Transformative Change for Biodiversity & Equity (TC4B)” project, conducted jointly by Wageningen University with academics and societal partners from Europe, Africa and Latin America. This project departs from the fact that EU agrofood systems are driving land use change in biodiversity-rich countries (with a focus on Kenya, Cameroon and Colombia) in the Global South, leading to major biodiversity losses. Tackling the EU’s global biodiversity footprint is a top EU policy priority. The science demonstrates the need for transformative change in economic, social, and financial models for safe and just transitions, but there is limited knowledge on how to achieve transformative change in practice, which requires navigation of biodiversity, climate and equity trade-offs and synergies. TC4BE aims to conduct support transdisciplinary research on different dimensions and scales of telecoupled agrofood systems, engaging diverse stakeholders, including EU and producer-country policy-makers and Indigenous Peoples and local communities.

We ask

  • a completed Master’s degree (before starting the PhD) to a high standard in the field of social sciences and/or inter-disciplinary environmental and natural resource studies with geo-spatial experience;
  • skills in transdisciplinary spatial, qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis research methods, and excellent skills in scientific writing;
  • keen interest in conducting empirical research, relevant fieldwork experience would be considered an advantage;
  • keen interest and ideally experience with the topic;
  • keen interest in international research collaboration and inter- or transdisciplinary research;
  • for this position your command of the English language is expected to be at C1 level.
  • We encourage applications from African and Latin American candidates 

We offer

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:

  • study leave and partially paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional compensation / holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.
In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team.

The gross salary for the first year is € 2.443,- per month rising to € 3.122,- in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale P). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project (total of 48 months) if you perform well.

There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the “ Best University ” in the Netherlands for the 17th consecutive time.

Coming from abroad

Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees. Applicants from abroad moving to the Netherlands may qualify for a special tax relief, known as the 30% ruling. Our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.

Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen University & Research's International Community page contains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any additional advice and information about helping your partner to find a job, housing, schooling, and other issues.

Equal opportunities

Wageningen University & Research (WUR) employs a large number of people with very different backgrounds and qualities, who inspire and motivate each other. We want every talent to feel at home in our organisation and be offered the same career opportunities. We therefore especially welcome applications from people who are underrepresented at WUR. For more information please go to our inclusivity page. A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be read on the page working at WUR with a functional impairment.

More information

For any questions pertaining to this call please contact: Georg Winkel, Chairholder of FNP, e-mail:

For more information about the procedure, please contact Edgar Tijhuis, Corporate Recruiter, e-mail

Do you want to apply?

You can apply directly by uploading the documents mentioned below, using the apply button on the vacancy page on our website which will allow us to process your personal information with your approval.

  • Cover letter (approx. 500 words) detailing in a single document your research interests, qualifications and motivation for the position
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV) with a detailed course description of your research training
  • Academic transcript(s): Final and current degree transcripts including grades and degree certificates (and an official translation, if it’s not in English) - scanned copy in colour of the original document/s
  • Degree Certificate(s) and an official translation, if needed - scanned copy in colour of the original document/s
This vacancy will be listed up to and including 10 August 2022.

We are

Wageningen University and Research

The mission of Wageningen University and Research is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment.

With its roughly 30 branches, 7.200 employees and 13.200 students, Wageningen University & Research is one of the globally leading organisations in the domain of land use, conservation and food. WUR is constantly ranked high in international rankings, inter alia it is globally ranked as the number 1 university in the field of agriculture and forestry in several rankings, and ranked between number 1 and 5 in the field of environmental science and/or ecology (

The Forest and Nature Conservation Policy Group is embedded in the Department of Environmental Sciences of Wageningen University, which provides fundamental research and academic education on our living environment. The chair group focuses on the political, socio-cultural and economic dimensions of forests and nature. The FNP research program includes four interrelated themes: 1. Forest and nature conservation governance, 2. Human-nature interactions, 3. The role of power and knowledge in policymaking, 4. Management of forest value chains and markets. FNP is a member of the Wageningen School of Social Sciences (WASS) and of the Wageningen Centre for Sustainability Governance.
Read the 5 reasons why your future colleagues enjoy working at WUR and watch this video to get an idea of our green campus!

We will recruit for the vacancy ourselves, so no employment agencies please. However, sharing in your network is appreciated.

Apply now

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