The Business Economics group of Wageningen University has a PhD position available, focussing on the economic sustainability of alternative protein production chains.

Are you a highly motivated, curious researcher who would like to contribute to the development of more sustainable food production systems? Do you enjoy working interdisciplinary? And do you like analytical thinking and modelling?  Then you could be the PhD candidate we are looking for!

The proposed research topic is embedded in the European HORIZON research project GIANT LEAPS (Gap resolution in safety, nutritional, allergenicity and environmental assessments to promote Alternative Protein utilization and the dietary shift). This EU project aims to assess the pros and cons of alternative protein sources on sustainability in comparison to traditional animal proteins. To this end, an integrated sustainability assessment framework will be developed, considering all three pillars of sustainability; environmental, social and economic. For the evaluation of the economic pillar a generic Life Cycle Costing model needs to be developed, and applied to the production of novel protein sources (e.g. as micro, plant, insects) reflecting the research objective of the PhD position.

In this PhD position, you will

  • perform literature reviews, data collection, analytical analyses and simulation modelling
  • develop a generic Life Cycle Costing model to evaluate the economic viability of alternative protein production chains in Europe
  • apply the model for a set of alternative protein sources, viz. plant, microbe & fungal, insect, ocean-based and cultured meat sources.

As a PhD candidate you will work on an individual research project, of which part will be aligned with the European project activities, guaranteeing collaboration with researchers from other universities and institutes within Europe. The PhD position will last 4 years, during which you are expected to write a PhD thesis that contains a series of scientific papers.

We ask

As the ideal candidate you:

  • have a completed (or about to be completed) MSc degree in business economics, agri-food systems, applied mathematics or a related field,
  • have sound scientific and analytical skills, with the ability to translate results into practical recommendations and solutions,
  • have sufficient knowledge of European food production systems,
  • have the ability to work independently as well as in multi-disciplinary teams,
  • have good communication skills and proficiency in English, both oral and written (a minimum of CEFR C2 level is required). For more information about this proficiency level,
  • and meet all the entry requirements of the WUR PhD programme.

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 € 2.541,- per month rising to € 3.247,- 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 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.

More information

Do you want more information?
For more information about this position, please contact prof. Ine van der Fels,, or dr Monique Mourits,, Business Economics group- WUR.   

For more information about the procedure, please contact: Jouke van Oostenbrugge,, or Jeanine van ‘t veer-Drost, e-mail jeanine.vantveer-drost, Corporate Recruiters,
Do you want to apply? 
You can apply directly using the apply button on the vacancy page on our website which will allow us to process your personal information with your approval. To apply you have to upload a cover letter (max 2 page A4) outlining both your motivation and your suitability for the project, and your CV (max 4 pages A4) including names and contact details of two potential references.

This vacancy will be listed up to and including July 31st. We hope to schedule the first interviews for mid-August; if you are not available in that period, please indicate this in your application letter. Preferred starting date of the position is October/November 2022.

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.

We are

Wageningen University & 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 leading organisations in its domain. An integrated approach to problems and the cooperation between various disciplines are at the heart of Wageningen’s unique approach. WUR has been named Best Employer in the Education category for 2019-2020.

Apply now

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