Phd Position ‘Transition towards a sustainable food system’ and the EU4Advice project on food system transformation through short food supply chains: Are you passionate to contribute to a sustainable transformation of the Dutch food system and are you particularly intrigued by the role of consumption therein? We offer a PhD position that departs from an everyday life perspective to develop future scenarios for inclusive food system transformation.

The current ways of producing and consuming food come with major social costs. Making food production more sustainable is not enough; a fundamental transition of the food system as a whole is needed. This  importantly includes our everyday food consumption practices. Embedded in the NWA project ‘Transition towards a sustainable food system’ and the EU4Advice project on food system transformation through short food supply chains, this PhD project explores how food system transformation occurs in and through everyday food consumption practices.

Real transformation requires a change in ordinary consumption practices, or, in other words  ‘a new normal’. But what could be such a new normal?  How do citizens with divergent lifestyles, across urban and rural regions, across generations, and with diverse cultural backgrounds envision the future ‘normal’ in food consumption?  How does this relate to their contextual settings?

And how can normalization and de-normalization of consumption practices achieved in relation to the sustainability transformation?  Can we be normative in what should be normal practice? How does a new normal relate to notions of affluence and sufficiency in food consumption? With these questions the PhD project aims to inform inclusive and effective governance pathways in advancing toward inclusive, health enhancing sustainable food systems.

The PhD researcher will collaborate with a PostDoc researcher and is supervised by Dr Sigrid Wertheim-Heck from the Environmental Policy group and Dr Hilje van der Horst from the Consumption and Healthy Lifestyles group at Wageningen University. The PhD is positioned at the Environmental Policy Group in close collaboration with the Consumption and Healthy Lifestyles Group, both part of the Wageningen Centre of Sustainability Governance.

We ask

  • You have a MSc or MA in social sciences (e.g. sociology, anthropology, human geography, political science), preferably with a focus on sustainability within the food domain.
  • You have a great interest in the transformation of the food system; environmental sustainability and healthy living.
  • You have strong empirical research skills, in particular with qualitative research.
  • You have a demonstrable affinity with interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research
  • You are a team player with strong interpersonal skills and the ability to communicate effectively with different types of stakeholders.
  • You are able to work creatively, flexibly and independently.
  • You have strong scientific writing skills.
  • You are fluent in word and writing in both the Dutch and English language

We offer:

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

  • 8% holiday allowance;
  • a structural year-end bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent training opportunities and secondary employment conditions;
  • a choice model to put together part of your employment conditions yourself, such as a bicycle plan;
  • 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;
  • 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 30 month t 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 18th 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. 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. For instance under the “30% rule”, certain categories of international staff can receive tax exemption on approximately 30% of their gross salary.

More information:

For more information about this function, please contact Dr Sigrid Wertheim-Heck, Associate professor Environmental Policy, e-mail: or Dr Hilje van der Horst, Assistant professor Consumption and Healthy Lifestyles, e-mail:

For more information about the procedure, please contact Jouke van Oostenbrugge, Corporate Recruter via General information: about the Environmental Policy Group, and the Consumption and Healthy Lifestyles Group.

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. Please upload your letter of motivation and a CV  before 1 March 2023.

We are Wageningen University & Research

The mission of Wageningen University & 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 (6,400 fte) and 13,200 students and over 150.000 participants to WUR’s Life Long Learning, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. The unique Wageningen approach lies in its integrated approach to issues and the collaboration between different disciplines.

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