PhD Inter- and Transdisciplinary research and education for Food System Transformation - Tenders Global

PhD Inter- and Transdisciplinary research and education for Food System Transformation

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam





Do you wish to contribute to food system change through changing how we organise research and education? Then this may be a promising opportunity for you.

The Athena Institute at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is seeking a highly motivated and dedicated individual to join our research team as a PhD Researcher in the EU Horizon project, European Food Systems Science Network (FoSSNet).

Today, inter- and transdisciplinarity in research and education is a hot topic in addressing contemporary sustainability challenges. But how do we ensure that a collaboration between different research fields is actually successful in science and in the classroom? As a PhD candidate, you will look at how interdisciplinary research projects and education activities function in food system science and how they can contribute to food system transformation.

Job description

The Athena Institute at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is seeking a highly motivated and dedicated individual to join our dynamic research team as a PhD Researcher in the EU Horizon project, European Food Systems Science Network (FoSSNet). The FoSSNet project aims to advance open and inclusive research and education for food systems transformation across Europe, fostering interdisciplinary collaboration and inclusivity.

The main tasks of the research team of Athena within the FoSSNet project include:

  • System Barriers Exploration: Collaborate with scholars from various European countries to explore and conceptualise system barriers that impede the upscaling and outreach of inclusive, interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary approaches in food system-oriented research.
  • Method and Tool Development: Design, implement, monitor, and evaluate innovative methods and tools that support, promote, and facilitate responsive and inclusive inter- and transdisciplinary research for food system transformation.
  • Capacity Building: Contribute to the promotion of capacity building within Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to enhance their capabilities in conducting food systems-related research and education.
  • Career Development Strategy: Develop strategies within HEIs to foster inclusive and equitable career opportunities with an impact orientation, emphasising gender equality and inclusiveness, as well as the recruitment of young talents.

Your tasks

As a PhD student, you will develop your own research plan based on your participation in the European research consortium. We expect the research to be mostly, but not necessarily exclusively, qualitative. We expect the PhD candidate to conduct both in-depth case studies to zoom in on specificities of particular cases of inter- and transdisciplinary food system science and/or education, and to make a cross-case comparison by ‘zooming out’ to identify patterns occurring in diverse contexts. You will conduct this research in collaboration with a team of a postdoc, assistant and associate professors, and build on the strong links in place within the Athena Institute with the research of a community of other PhD candidates and postdocs.

In addition, you will be a supporting lecturer in courses given by the Athena Institute (~40% of your time). Your work will be supported with committed supervision and additional training in research approaches you might not yet be familiar with.

Expected starting date is February 1st, 2024.


We are looking for an enthusiastic, curious, and creative candidate with:

  • A university masters’ degree in transition studies, sustainability science, sociology, political sciences, policy sciences, organisational sciences or another relevant cross-disciplinary fields, e.g., science and technology studies (STS), innovation studies, or environmental studies etc.
  • Practical experience with qualitative research methods, such as ethnography, focus groups, interviewing and document analysis.
  • Preferably: practical experience with interdisciplinary research and education.
  • Preferably: experience with transdisciplinary and transformative research approaches, such as designing and facilitating reflexive workshops or co-creation sessions.
  • Preferably experience with (comparative) case study design.
  • The ability to work independently and in a team.
  • Excellent organisational, communicative, and connective skills; you will collaborate with a wide variety of national and international academic and societal actors.
  • Excellent academic track record, and good research skills, writing skills and presentation skills.
  • Excellent command of English language is imperative.

What are we offering?

This appointment is for 6 years, with a division of duties as follows: 60% research – 40% education. It is possible to obtain the BKO teaching qualification at the university. The trial period is 18 months.

A challenging position in a socially involved organisation. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,770 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €3,539 (PhD) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile: promovendus is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 1 FTE.

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
  • solid pension scheme (ABP)
  • possibility to save holiday hours, for sabbatical leave
  • 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 endeavor – 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 31,000 students. We employ over 5,000 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
Working at the Faculty of Science means working together with students, PhD candidates and scientists who are focused on their discipline, yet also have a broad view of the world. We are proud of the collegial working environment within the faculty, which is characterised by an ambitious and pragmatic attitude with commitment to the bigger picture. At the Faculty of Science, scientists and students work on fundamental and complex social issues for a sustainable and healthy future. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to malnutrition, from genetics to pharmaceuticals and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research cover the full breadth of the natural sciences. Scientific teaching and research is highly experimental, technical, computational and interdisciplinary in nature. This is why we collaborate extensively with leading research institutes and industry. The faculty has over 11,000 students studying across 40 educational programmes and employs over 1,600 staff spread over 10 scientific departments, making us the largest science faculty in the Netherlands.

Athena Institute, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences
The position is offered within the Athena Institute, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences. The institute’s mission is to study and design interfaces between science and society to contribute both to a deeper understanding of innovation processes as well as a responsible implementation of research and innovation in society. Athena’s research program amongst other focuses on analysing complex global health challenges, designing interventions and conducting participatory monitoring and evaluation research. The section presently has a position vacant for a Postdoc/Lecturer.
For more information about the Athena Institute visit our website .


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


Submitting a diploma is part of the application process.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

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

Name: Dr. Eduardo Urias
Position: Assistant professor
E-mail: [email protected]

No agencies

View or Apply
To help us track our recruitment effort, please indicate in your email – cover/motivation letter where ( you saw this job posting.

Job Location